Wednesday, 21 February 2018


Malcolm Lowry Dérive: In 1940 the Lowry's lived next door to this fine home which even then may have been a suite of apartments. The site of their former residence at 1236 West 11th Ave now looks like this:

In the Smith's home, "... he and Margerie found more comfortable and pleasant lodgings." Here he was able to finish the final draft of Under the Volcano. Later in the year the couple rented a shack near Dollarton for the period of one month. Peace and tranquility ensued; the bitumen flares dancing bright and without pause.

This shack overlooks the Dollaton mudflats. Not of the Lowry recluse sequence but indicative.

"My old life of the night, how far away that seemed now, my life in which my only stars were neon lights! I must have stumbled into a thousand alcoholic dawns, but drunk in the rumble seat I passed them by... Never had I really looked at a sunrise till now."
The Forest Path to the Spring

Tuesday, 20 February 2018


Malcolm Lowry Dérive: One of our favorite photos of the writer, here near the end, by a lake, in a district of England, full circle. Those pants, as if cut from sail cloth, billow, flap and sheet against the current that is his impending epilogue. Perhaps in this contemplative mood he reflects on his life in Vancouver where he wrote the great if not unbearably symbolic novel he is best known for; the lost inter-tidal shacks; the pints and periods of drunken delirium tremens.

His second Vancouver residence @ 595 West 19th Ave. Largely intact. A hearth to sit by. Few distractions? A movie or play at the Park?  A tread to the (False) reek or the Niagara Hotel? A desk with a view? The house was owned by Maurice Carey when Lowry and his wife Margerie lived there from 1939-40.

"Now the setup is this: $2 a week for myself and Margerie in return for which we get one meal a day if we're lucky. There is a family of six, including a loud speaker, a howling wind which rages through the house all day, twins, and a nurse. I forgot the dog, the canary and a Hindoo timber merchant... who sleeps in the woodpile in the basement, hoping, with his fine Oriental calm, that one day he'll be paid for the wood."
- from Selected Letters in Malcolm Lowry: Vancouver Days by Sheryl Salloum

"The fallen light in the forest seemed to make even the ground glow and burn with light."
- October Ferry to Gabriola

Monday, 19 February 2018


Corner Store #28(b): Sunrise Market @ 300 Powell Street. Yali lo bak (green), netted lotus, pomelo.

 Bouillon de poisson barred harbor seafood stew discounted in tin stock supreme.

Heart of palmier, tamek stuffed options, imported unpacked, stack shelved and sorted.

An archaeology of foodstuffs distributed, assembled, on display and presented- the corner store is a cultural enterprise interlinking a web of historic transnational practices. While seemingly an urban form in steady decline there are many examples of survival, renewal and reinvention. Stories can outlive the crumbling stucco and best before dates but are better remembered when there is a structure supporting the narrative.

Sunday, 18 February 2018


Corner Store #28(a): Sunrise Market @ 300 Powell Street. Since 1956 the largest tofu production house in Canada has been rinsing, pressing, cubing. A warren of orthogonal view cones erupting into melon mounds, snack heaps, root medleys, market garden varietals.

Saturday, 17 February 2018


Corner Store #27: Double Happiness Foods @ 429 Powell St. Not on a corner but centrally aligned edgewise. We make our way gradually along the old number 20 line to the historic center of Japan Town. Double Happiness procures essentials for the production of noodles, wrappers, pastes.

Vancouver Director Mina Shum may have a connection, one that inspired the title of her film of same name. Double Double Happiness.

Friday, 16 February 2018


Corner Store #26: Essence of Market @ 10th and Main. At this point it serves us well to move beyond the structure of the corner store typology and consider the inset, the wares, the hanging fruit.

Thursday, 15 February 2018


Corner Store #25:  Banana Grove Market and Deli @ 2705 East 22nd Ave. Putting a lime in a coconut, drink'n bot'em up.