I might be guilty on occasion of ranting about hippies which some folks might perceive to be bordering on the obsessive, but as a group they bring in on to themselves. When their behavior affects live music, Rockabilly in particular, and the livelihoods of musicians, I tend to take it a little more personally. What I am talking about is hippies moving into vibrant neighborhoods and complaining about all the noise, live music venues in particular.
In one of my older posts called "Two Bagpipes", I elaborated on this phenomena. This city has gone condo-made and rabid real estate developers eyeball even the smallest patch of land like hungry flies circling a pile of dog poop. Several years ago, some condos were erected right in front of a popular live music bar. It wasn't long after that that a bylaw was created stating that certain music venues could only have two musicians on stage and they had to be playing acoustic instruments. I guess it turns out that hippies don't like bagpipes and they found out in no uncertain terms that these fuckers are loud. The bylaw was soon repealed.
What's that you say? What do condos have to do with hippies? Let me explain. Hippies are always angry about something, particularly people that don't agree with their fucked-up value system and skewed sense of right and wrong. They love nothing more than causing shit, disturbing traffic, yelling at unsuspecting citizens with megaphones and participating in drum circles. Which is ironic, because all these activities produce an incredible amount of noise. Noise is defined as unwanted sound and it seems that hippies don't want any unwanted sounds, especially those of the twangy variety.
In many cases when hippies get older, they are transformed into raging capitalists or if you will, yuppies with bad hygiene. Hippies are usually charlatans and dilettantes, but are often able to parlay this into money, because there are even more hippies out there eager to buy into their bullshit. They will open some leftoid raw food restaurant that serves bacteria-laden Collard greens to throngs of sanctimonious hippies eager to make themselves feel superior to mere greasy mortals like myself and my ilk. Maybe they will write some bullshit book on holistic healing crammed with utter nonsense, new-age pseudo-science and multiple crystal-rubbing techniques. In any case, a lot of them will make shitloads of money and a new breed of yuppie is born.
With their newly acquired wealth they will immediately buy a condo in what is one of the most expensive cities in North America ( in this case Vancouver, BC). Not just any condo, it has to be located where they can annoy as many people as they can, especially small business owners, meat shops, sausage makers and musicians ( for some strange reason, they never seem to have a go at McDonald's, maybe they secretly like Big Macs with a little bit of tofu on top).
Now they have money and man, are they ever angry. Their tendency to publicly berate total strangers could result in a good punch in face back in the day. but now they have coin and clout with city hall. In typical angry, whiny hippie single-mindedness, they will harass staff at city hall until they get their way.
Not all of these whiners own condos, often they are renters. That makes them even more of a retard, because in a city this size one could rent anywhere. That is a akin to driving a Jeep in the Sahara desert and running into the only tree for hundreds of miles around. Years ago in another city, an English band called Big Boy Bloater was slated to play a highly anticipated two night show. Some psychotic neighbor actually set fire to the bar. There was only some water damage, but the show was cancelled. Pretty sure that the band must think that all Canadians are nutso.
Speaking of British, where do you think the name British Columbia came from? Canada was founded by the French and the British. They would duke it out for centuries as staid redcoats would advance slowly in a straight line as the French threw croissants at them. Then one day, the British said "fuck it' (or more likely, fornicate this bloody place) gave Quebec to the French and fucked off to the rest of Canada. The only problem is, even though Britain advanced into the 21st century, nobody bothered to tell anyone here in BC. This is why we have liquor laws that even Queen Victoria would find a little too strict. To circumvent these laws back in the 50's people would start membership only clubs ( sort of like a legion, but not as many batshit drunk geezers who yell at you if you wear a hat). There were places like The Marin Club and the Railway Club ( still in operation).
Which brings us to the place in question. The WISE club has been sitting smack dab in the middle of what is now one the hipper parts of town since 1958. WISE is an acronym for Welsh, Irish, Scottish and English. There aren't many kilts or Austin Healey's around the WISE these days, but it is a vibrant live music venue. It also happens to be the home base of Paul Pigat and his band Cousin Harley ( if you aren't familiar, do yourselves a favor and check this cat out; even Brian Setzer digs him).
Some angry hippie moved in close by recently and is causing a patchouli induced shit storm. He has been doing precisely what I have described in the preceding paragraphs. He has been putting up posters, acting like a fucking goof on Facebook and pestering city hall about all the noise. The manager is a good friend of mine and this situation has been one huge headache for her and she is stuck dealing with various government agencies. There is one hilarious aspect to this however; the chief licensing dude at city hall who is dealing with matter is another good friend of mine who just happens to be an accomplished Rockabilly guitar player. The semi-deranged hippie is blissfully unaware of this fact even though it doesn't really have any bearing on the situation.
The whole situation is still up in the air at this point and no one can really say how it will play itself out. Let's hope for the best and let this be a sobering reminder that music venues everywhere are constantly being threatened. It is also a good reason to continue to support live music any way you can.
Now, I don't know where this dangerous retard lives and I can't seem to find out. Ordinarily, I would support the idea of a good old-fashioned greaser beating, but I have an aversion to picking soap in prison showers. When I do find out where he lives however I'll be making a phone call. The McDonald brothers are also good friends of mine and they play a mean bagpipe.