On Robson Street in Downtown Vancouver. Summer of 2018.

Robson Street is a major southeast-northwest thoroughfare in downtown and West End of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Its core commercial blocks from Burrard Street to Jervis were also known as Robsonstrasse. Its name honours John Robson, a major figure in British Columbia’s entry into the Canadian Confederation, and Premier of the province from 1889 to 1892. Robson Street starts at BC Place Stadium near the north shore of False Creek, then runs northwest past Vancouver Library Square, Robson Square and the Vancouver Art Gallery, coming to an end at Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park.

As of 2006, the city of Vancouver overall had the fifth most expensive retail rental rates in the world, averaging US$135 per square foot per year, citywide. Robson Street tops Vancouver with its most expensive locations renting for up to US$200 per square foot per year. In 2006, both Robson Street and the Mink Mile on Bloor Street in Toronto were the 22nd most expensive streets in the world, with rents of $208 per square feet. In 2007, the Mink Mile and Robson slipped to 25th in the world with an average of $198 per square feet. The price of each continues to grow with Vancouver being Burberry’s first Canadian location and Toronto’s Yorkville neighbourhood (which is bounded on the south side by Bloor) now commanding rents of $300 per square foot.

In 1895, train tracks were laid down the street, supporting a concentration of shops and restaurants. From the early to middle-late 20th century, and especially after significant immigration from postwar Germany, the northwest end of Robson Street was known as a centre of German culture and commerce in Vancouver, earning the nickname Robsonstrasse, even among non-Germans (this name lives on in the Robsonstrasse Hotel on the street). At one time, the city had placed streetsigns reading “Robsonstrasse” though these were placed after the German presence in the area had largely vanished.

Robson Street was featured on an old edition of the Canadian Monopoly board as one of the two most expensive properties.

Halloween (1978) Review |BasementRejects


In 1963, a boy named Michael Myers (Will Sandin) slaughters her sister and is institutionalized. His doctor Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence) sees evil in Michael, but his warnings go unheard. When Michael escapes on Halloween years later, he heads home. Pursued by Loomis, Michael finds his next batch of victims. A girl named Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and her friends are babysitting, but Halloween will end in terror as Michael hunts them.

Directed by John Carpenter, Halloween really kicked off the genre of the slasher despite previous ventures. The low-budget film gained good word of mouth, big ticket sales, and became a classic that airs multiple times during the Halloween season. It is often considered one of the best horror films of all time.

Halloween really gets it right. It has great pacing, builds great suspense, and good scares. Movies like Black Christmas experimented with the psycho-slasher aspect, but this film perfected it. The bloody deaths are creative and violent (I always love Michael in the ghost costume…and the fogged windows). The story also has the classic “more than human” ending with Michael disappearing after being shot, stabbed, etc.

Michael Myers is a great villain who is sometimes just referred to as “The Shape”. It is rarely remembered that he is unmasked in this film (played by Tony Moran). The reason is that Michael makes such an impression in his William Shattner mask (inside out). The idea of a superstrong killer that slowly and methodically kills was new and opposed to the dumb-as-a-box-of-rocks Jason Voorhees, his intelligence makes him more interesting.

Joining the creepy Michael Myers is Jamie Lee Curtis in her feature film debut. Anne Lockhart had been a front runner for the role, but Jamie Lee’s mother’s ties to Psycho did help sway casting her for publicity. She makes a good victim since she doesn’t just give up when she’s pursued. She’s the classic “virginal” survivor that gets to live because she doesn’t have sex. Curtis is joined by Carrie veteran P.J. Soles (with her signature pigtails) and Nancy Kyes as Laurie’s friends. Veteran actor Donald Pleasence plays his role as the doctor with a lot of fun, but it is a bit unfortunate because he damned to bad films after this film.

Halloween is a classic. I can watch it over and over again. It is a great Halloween edition that despite the R-Rating can be enjoyed right next to the original Frankenstein or It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Halloween was followed by its first sequel Halloween II in 1981. It was also remade by Rob Zombie in 2007. In 2018, Halloween was released starring Jamie Lee Curtis as a sequel to this film, and that story ignored all of the original sequels and Rob Zombie films.

At the Pacific National Exhibition in Vancouver. Summer of 2018.

The Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) is a nonprofit organization that operates an annual 15-day summer fair, a seasonal amusement park, and indoor arenas in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The PNE fair is held at Hastings Park, beginning in mid-to-late August and ending in early September, usually Labour Day.

The organization was established in 1907 as the Vancouver Exhibition Association, and organized its first fair at Hastings Park in 1910. The organization was renamed to the Pacific National Exhibition in 1946. During the mid-20th century, a number of facilities were built on the PNE grounds, including Pacific Coliseum and the PNE Agrodome. In 1993, the amusement park adjacent to the PNE, Playland, became a division of the PNE.

The Vancouver Exhibition Association (VEA), the predecessor to the Pacific National Exhibition organization was first formed in 1907; although the association was not incorporated until 18 June 1908. The VEA had petitioned Vancouver City Council to host a fair at Hastings Park; although faced early opposition from the city council and the local jockey club that used the park for horse races. However, the city council eventually conceded to the VEA’s request and granted the association a 5-year lease to host a fair at Hastings Park in 1909.

The VEA held its first fair at Hastings Park in August 1910. It was opened by then Canadian Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier as the Vancouver Exhibition. The biggest attractions of the two-week fair are its numerous shops, stalls, performances, a nightly fireworks show, and the exhibition’s Prize Home. From its beginnings, the exhibition was used as a showcase for the region’s agriculture and economy.

In the initial years of the Second World War, the fairgrounds saw an increased military presence. However, the exhibition itself was not cancelled until 1942, after the Canadian declaration of war against Japan was issued. From 1942 to 1946 the exhibition and fair was closed, and like the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto, served as a military training facility for the duration of World War II. During this time, the exhibition barns that were used to house livestock, were used as processing centres for interned Japanese Canadians from all over British Columbia. The interned Japanese Canadians were later shipped away to other internment camps throughout British Columbia, and Alberta. The Momiji (Japanese word for Maple) Gardens on the PNE’s grounds serves as a memorial for the event. The barns used for the internment of Japanese Canadians are still used to house livestock during the annual fair, and serve as storage area to house some of the PNE’s property the rest of the year.

On 7 February 1946, the Vancouver Exhibition Association changed its name to its current moniker, the Pacific National Exhibition; and later reopened the fair to the public under that name in 1947. The organization was formally reincorporated as the Pacific National Exhibition in 1955.

The highest attendance at the fair was recorded in 1986, with 1.1 million guests visiting the PNE, most likely due to Expo 86 that was occurring at the time. In 1993, the amusement park adjacent to the PNE, Playland, became a division of the PNE organization.

During 1997-1998, the PNE grounds was transformed with the demolition of a number of buildings including the Food Building, Showmart and the Poultry Building. This gave way to the Sanctuary, a parkland setting with a pond. The pond restored part of a stream that once flowed in the park out to the Burrard Inlet. The city restored a large portion of the park. Many old fair buildings have been demolished and replaced by a more natural character. Although land was purchased in Surrey that was to become the fair’s new home, the PNE has since transferred ownership from the province to the City of Vancouver and will remain at Hastings Park. The PNE is a registered charity.

Two attractions at the PNE were named as heritage sites by the City of Vancouver in August 2013. The Pacific Coliseum and the Wooden Roller Coaster were added to the list.

In 2020, the fair went on hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, alongside other agricultural and county fairs across Canada, including the Calgary Stampede, the Canadian National Exhibition, and K-Days.

In the early hours of February 20, 2022, a major fire broke out on PNE grounds, where multiple vehicles, tools and equipment, and buildings were destroyed as a result.

The PNE grounds contains several buildings and exhibition halls. The PNE Forum is a 4,200 square metres (45,000 sq ft) exhibition facility that is used for large displays and trade shows. Rollerland is a 1,840 square metres (19,800 sq ft) exhibition, banquet hall and venue for the Terminal City Roller Derby.

Two buildings on the PNE grounds are indoor arenas. The Pacific Coliseum is multi-purpose arena that holds 15,713 permanent seats, with provisions for 2,000 temporary seats for concerts and certain sports. The PNE Agrodome is a smaller indoor arena with 3,000 permanent seats, with provisions to expand up to 5,000 seats. Entertainment facilities includes the Garden Auditorium, a building that features a built-in stage and dance hall. The PNE grounds also feature amphitheatre with bench-style seating for 4,500 visitors.

Other buildings on the PNE grounds includes the Livestock Barns, a large multi-use facility, and the organization’s administrative offices.

You Should Listen to CDs


If vinyl is for hipsters and streaming is for everyone else, maybe the forgotten format is for you.

In 2020, revenue from sales of compact discs in the US added up to $483 million, a 97 percent drop from the format’s peak in 2000. Only 31.6 million CD units were shipped in the US last year. By contrast, the Bee Gees alone have 16 million monthly listeners on Spotify. How dead are CDs? Deader than disco.

Cause of death: the unbelievable convenience of streaming platforms. For a modest monthly fee, Spotify offers instant access to what feels like every song ever recorded. Its recommendation algorithms, built on constant surveillance of users’ listening habits, consistently deliver top-notch suggestions. It’s amazing. Listening to good music could hardly be easier.

It is, in fact, too easy.

Streaming platforms just aren’t designed with the serious music fan in mind. Back when you had to buy a physical album to listen to it, you really listened to it—even the songs you didn’t like at first. Eventually, some of those tracks would become your favorites. (Other tracks simply sucked, of course.) You paid good money for that CD, after all. Skipping half the tracks felt like an admission of failure.

Not so with on-demand streaming. When you can listen to any song, at any time, at no additional cost, there’s no pressure to listen to something you don’t enjoy right away. This can lead to musical tastes that are both broader and shallower. Thanks to Spotify’s recommendation features, I’ve discovered a lot of music, particularly from Latin America, that I might not have come across without the nudge from an algorithm. This is great. Yet at the same time, I very rarely challenge myself to listen to music that I don’t immediately enjoy. Why would I, when I can so easily switch to something else.

Indeed, the immediate, frictionless availability of something else keeps me from spending as much time as I otherwise would even with music I really love. In the pre-streaming era, I’d buy an album and listen to it over and over. With Spotify, I often discover a new artist, get really excited about them, and three months later forget about their existence entirely. If it doesn’t occupy space on your wall, it may not occupy space in your mind.

There is an obvious antidote to this condition, one that perhaps has already occurred to you: the vinyl record. Many thousands of words have been written about vinyl’s comeback. There’s a natural symmetry to it. Where streaming turns songs into something ephemeral and interchangeable, a record is very much a thing. It’s big. You can hold it in your hands and admire the artwork on the sleeve. If the problem with Spotify is the lack of friction, well, vinyl records are about as frictiony as you can get. They literally require friction to function.

Another way of putting the above is that records are a colossal pain in the ass. I had a turntable for the past decade. As I got ready to move across the country this summer, thinking hard about what was worth shipping or squeezing into my little car, I realized I hardly ever listened to my records. It’s just too much work. Records get dirty; you have to clean them. Ditto the stylus. Records are huge, and shockingly heavy; it’s hard to find room to store and display them. They’re expensive. Halfway through an album, you have to get up to turn it over. And then you have to get up again when the record ends, unless you want to wear down the needle. As WIRED senior editor—and self-flagellating owner of some 1,300 LPs—Michael Calore puts it, vinyl is “an unwieldy music playback format that sounds worse every single time you listen to it.”

The current vogue for vinyl is an overcorrection. You don’t have to listen to the absolute least convenient music format to escape the prison of hyperconvenience. After I sold my turntable, I decided to revisit the listening technology that came in between the spinning wax and the streaming bits: the compact disc. Unsure how long the experiment would last, I bought a CD boom box (you can still find them, though they’re somewhat scarce) and a couple dozen discs from a used music store.

This is not a nostalgia play. Vinyl has the nostalgia market cornered. But if you look past the visual aesthetics, you’ll admit that CDs accomplish the essential function of turntables, vis-a-vis streaming, without the hassle. That is, they allow you to build a library.

Since beginning my experiment, I find myself listening to full albums over and over and coming to appreciate tracks that I would skip if I were listening on my phone. Some of the albums I bought from the discount bin didn’t do much for me at first. I might not have given them a second listen on Spotify. But since they’re in my apartment, in a stack next to the boombox, I listen anyway. Most turn out to contain at least a few gems. The Neville Brothers album Yellow Moon, for example, includes some cringey quasi-rap and ponderous ballads, but also some absolute bangers of late-’80s funky swampy soul. Such are the unexpected joys this experiment has brought to my life.

(CDs also sound better than all but the most mint-condition records. Anyone who insists otherwise is probably rich enough to spend $45K on monoblock amplifiers and diamond-tipped styluses—or is just full of it.)

Note that I’m not predicting that CDs are poised for a comeback. To the contrary, the final pillar of my argument depends on that not being the case. Perhaps the best thing about CDs is that they have gotten ridiculously affordable. Thank you, supply and demand. At the used music stores where I live, almost all the CDs are $5 or less. Even new CDs are far cheaper than they were two decades ago. You could pay $35 to own the new Adele album on vinyl—or $9.97 to have it on CD, with money left over to buy two or three more albums.

So let the masses stay hooked on streaming while the hipsters spin their overpriced records. The CD is dead; long live the CD.