Modern life: marble homes and syringes

As I am pushed for time this morning, a quick update from this blog’s occasional Canadian correspondent Anna Smith.

A snapshot of current life in Canada.

Anna works in a Vancouver bookshop.


Anna Smith in the Vancouver bookshop

Anna Smith at home in a Vancouver bookshop

Vancouver has been interesting lately.

I just finished a shift at the bookshop. It was an awfully chilly, drizzly day, I sold about three books.

Outside, I saw a woman wandering up the street with long bare legs and black shoes. From the top of her legs up, she was sheathed only in a few clear rubbish bags – she looked like a performance art piece…Then a man walked by, pulling a skateboard along the pavement with a leash, as if it were a dog….Is it Ian Hinchliffe‘s birthday or something?

There is more poverty than ever, as the rents are so high… more homeless locals… and there is also a lot of ‘new money’ pouring in and everywhere the construction of luxurious buildings.

All the tarpaulins and scaffolding and mysterious signs seem rather theatrical, like a very large red sign which says RED NUMBERS ONLY and a marble-clad townhouse called Artemesia with heaps of syringes dumped on the street nearby.

A man dances by a rubbish skip in Vancouver

A man dances by a rubbish skip in Vancouver

A few days ago, I helped a young Chinese man who has just bought an espresso bar to select hundreds of classic literary paperbacks (Catch 22, The Catcher in the Rye, Crime and Punishment etc) which someone had listed for him. They are for his customers to read while they drink coffee. He had not heard of any of the books or their authors and gave me his iPhone to scroll through the titles, while he went to put money in his parking meter. Somehow, I cannot imagine myself sitting in a coffee shop reading Crime and Punishment.

At another bookshop nearby, a condo developer asked for “sixty feet of art and fashion books” for the display suite in a recently completed building.

The local crazy film industry professionals also have strange requests such as “the sort of books that an intellectual would have – and  make sure that none of them are French”.

1 Comment

Filed under Books, Canada

One response to “Modern life: marble homes and syringes

  1. Keith Martin

    Confirms that every major city in the whole world has a housing problem!

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