Do come into my bookshop everyone…


My love of books should by now be very obvious to all my regular readers.

I make no bones about it….I am a serious bibliophile (hmm…sounds like an indecent word, doesn’t it!), and have been ever since I could read the alphabet aloud!

Even at school, when other kids were out playing football, or bashing each other’s heads and other schoolboy antics, I used to be reading my books if I could at all. I particularly loved those huge big books in the Time-Life series….they covered all kinds of wonderful subjects like science, geology, animals, etc and in those days when the internet was not even a dream in a boffins’ eye, I grew captivated by the written word and spectacular color photographs within those books.

So I kind of grew into books…it suited my temperament, as even at that age, I craved peace and quiet and loved my own company, which, unfortunately, I found to be detrimental later on in my teenage years, but that’s another story for another time…ladies beware!

But getting back to the point of this post, I walked past this tiny bookshop situated in the Strathcona neighborhood of Vancouver downtown eastside, and was instantly captivated by it.

Of course it helps that I love books, but once inside, it has that uncanny feeling you get in most bookshops that are run by Staff who themselves care for and love books…I guess it’s a kind of some sort of synergy effect given out maybe by he books and the people combined.

You get an immediate rush of that well-known aroma you find in bookshops as you walk in. And there is the peace and quiet as well….don’t you just love that?

Spartacus, as the place is called, is run on a non-profit basis, and is a collective, meaning that no single person owns it…instead, it’s run by several people, all of whom (please correct me if I’m wrong, you guys at Spartacus!) work there at selected hours on a voluntary basis.

There are several things I really like about this place which makes it absolutely unique, aside of the collective-ness…they have several computers inside at the rear of the shop, for use by absolutely anyone…that in itself is a first….I cannot for the life of me think of any shop that does that…..at the moment of writing, I was nt able to confirm whether or not the computers offer free internet access, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they do.

Then outside of the shop, there is a free telephone, again for use by anybody, and it’s available even when the shop is closed 24/7.

When I first saw it, my mind immediately thought what would happen if that were done in England, where vandalism is rife and out of control, with nobody having the courage to bring it into control, least of all the ploice….in Engalnd, anything like this would have been ripped off the wall long ago…

Bearing in mind that Spartacus is located within one of the poorest neighborhoods in the whole of Canada, a place where homelessness and substance abuse is rife, it just shows you that we should not always judge a book by it’s covers (no pun intended!)…something which I am always guilty of.

There is a good selection of books here, ranging from socialist dogma, religion, spirituality, humor, and a whole lot more besides.

The bookshop is rented on a lease and the rent is supported by the sale of books, with any profits being ploughed back to buy more stock.

Talking to one of the Staff members, I learnt that the shop will be moving from this location in June this year, as the building is due for refurbishment.

A beautiful bookshop, run by people for the people…do walk in if ever you are in the area! Remember, you heard it here first!

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The magical 60s…


The 60s were a time when people from almost everywhere were driving VW buses through the then peaceful mountains of Afghanistan and chanting in ashrams in India!

This little silly post was inspired by a dream I had a few days ago, where I saw a magnificent red Harley Davidson and my favorite, a VW bus, which I was drooling over!

Then, lo and behold, the very next day, I picked up a book at random in the central Vancouver library, read through a few pages….on one of them, the author happened to write about….yep, a bright red Harley Davidson….with a VW bus that she had owned some years ago!

This happens to me on a regular basis….I dream of something, and sometimes the next day, or sometimes a few days later, whatever I saw in the dream, shows itself somehow! But…and here’s the thing….if what I saw in the dream is bad….I cannot, try as I may, avoid it happening….

Go figure!

VW bus
immage courtesy dirty-mag.com

:)

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Waiting…hoping…downtown Vancouver


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Spontaneous Vancouver…


Taken today…in the pouring rain…

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Sold..another beautiful Olympus Trip 35!


As regular readers know by now, I always have several cameras from my collection of man, some of which I would never offer for sale, and some which I have to sell off in order to create space for yet more acquisitions!

So during the past few weeks, I have sold several fully refurbished Olympus Trip cameras, and the buyers are really happy with their purchases, too, I’m glad to report.

I also have another beautiful gem on offer as we speak…it’s another of my favourite film cameras of all time…a Ricoh GR1s, the same camera as the one used by fabled street shooter Daido Moriyama!

If you are interested in it, just leave me a comment here on this blog or email me for further details.

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Meet another guy with similar interests and more!


The other day here in Vancouver, I happened to come across a guy who immediately caught my attention.

The reason was that he seemed to be using one of my all-time favourite cameras, a Nikon Photomic F2….one of, if not the only film camera built so solidly and with such precision, that it was chosen as the camera to be used by NASA during it’s space missions.

And in fact, the Nikon Photomic FTn was used in the Apollo 15 mission.

But anyways, back to the guy with the Nikon….his name is Miroslaw Gwiazda, who just happens a fervent film user, shooting huge quantities of Ilford 3200, as well as moving pictures and large format. He also does his own film processing, too.

I think this guy is going places….see his work here

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was selected as a special manufacturer of 35mm cameras for NASA.

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Relic of the past…drive-in attendant serviced gas station, DTE Vancouver


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Homeless and social housing…aka Vancouver downtown East


“What would it hurt for me to give that homeless guy a couple bucks? Who the hell cares if he spends it on beer? Maybe beer is a step up for him from the harder stuff that knocked him onto the streets in the first place. Maybe, just maybe, he’s actually going to spend it on food (homeless people do eat, right?). Maybe, he really is a desperate human being who is trying to change his situation.”

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Another attempt at movie making!


As you may know, I have been trying to make inroads into getting together my very own moving picture collection, but, alas, so far, I have only been able to knock up very amateurish conglomeration of still photos coupled with a little music!

My next experiment will be chopping up clips of already existing films and mixing them together to create a totally new view of a subject…as yet, I don’t know how I’m going to do it but…

Here is my latest attempt…it hopefully captures glimpses of those wonderful days of my life in the 60s….!

:)

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Meet my friend Marina..and her work!


For some time now, I have been conversing with a lady in Greece…her name is Marina Kanavaki.

Her work has me enthralled, cut a long story short! Her latest work has blown my mind….so without further ado, take a look at it yourselves here

And please let me know what you think!

:)

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