|April 6, 2012||
The following was written for a JUNO special in Ottawa (X)Press. The full article can be found here.
Vancouver is such a young city. Montreal is already Montreal, and Toronto is already Toronto. Vancouver is like a tween – old enough to start to assert itself as an individual, yet young enough to not really be sure exactly what it’s made up of. I debated moving east for so many years. But I stayed. Vancouver has this weird thing happening that nearly nobody else sees – the theatre scene, the jazz scene, the submerged dive-bar scene. There’s actually more artistic freedom here because we’re a little bit disconnected from the scenes out east. The jazz festival here is more avant-garde than most in the world, and our jazz scene is ripe with the resulting chaos of having so many out-of-the-box international players floating through here all the time. But it’s not foundational yet. It’s still slippery and illusive.
There just isn’t enough sweat in the walls to determine exactly how our city smells. It still smells like fresh Pacific air, which is never sedentary, and could change any minute. We could lose this fiery spark if we don’t foster it. There’s a bit of a battle going on between bubble-based real-estate development and East Van politics. We’re the most expensive place in the country to live, yet an equal career in Toronto typically pays more. It’s not entirely sustainable, but Vancouver is full of paradox. We had the Olympics a few years ago, and a lot of people were sure it would be a disaster, but it was actually kind of amazing – we gathered in numbers in a surprisingly benevolent manner.
Then our beloved Canucks choked against the Bruins and we blew up police cars. Sometimes it’s hard to peg exactly what my hometown is all about, but I know I want to stay here. In Vancouver, I can be a small part of a large artistic community that cares deeply about not resettling in the sureties of the east, but stoking the undefined fires that are alive in the west. I like questions more than answers, and where there is uncertainty, there are a lot of questions.
~ Dan Mangan
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