B.C.'s liquor-licensing idiots do their best to screw kids who want to rock

Long ago in an ancient time, a man from a land far, far away—namely, White Rock—made one of the most sage observations about Vancouver ever committed to analogue tape. Your grandparents knew him as Buck Cherry, singer-guitarist of the West Coast’s legendary first-generation punk rockers the Modernettes.

In “Teen City”, off the band’s seminal debut EP of the same name, Cherry sang the following lines: “Nothing to do in this fucking town—just drink and drink and then fall down.” In doing so, he made two brilliant comments on Vancouver. The first is that, unless you are into shopping for Gore-Tex with a granola feedbag strapped to your face, sanctimoniously pedalling your ass off in our stupid fucking bike lanes, or smoking enough weed to incapacitate Snoop Dogg, this town isn’t exactly all about making life a carnival of wonders for the kids.

The second is that, when you’re a teenager, you spend a fair amount of time getting drunk. As in fall-down fucking drunk, usually on a product like Gilbey’s Lemon Gin, where the “Do not drink this product straight or you may go blind!!” warning seems more like a loose guideline than something to legitimately worry about.

What’s amazing is that Cherry’s lyrics, which were committed to tape around 1980, are still sadly relevant today. Just when you thought Vancouver’s reputation as No Fun City was finally in the rear-view mirror, along comes word that the province’s ever-puritanical bureaucrats have once again decided to fix something that doesn’t need fixing.

Those paying attention to the Intraweb over the past few days might have noticed that the stone-cold geniuses at the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch (LCLB) have offered further proof they don’t have enough to do. Vancouver’s Safe Amplification Site Society used Twitter to alert the local music community to sneaky proposed changes to laws that have allowed local licensed establishments to host all-ages shows.

As of January 15, venues like the Rickshaw, which hold liquor-primary licenses, will no longer be able to de-licence whenever they want for all-ages shows. At present, the room can simply lock up the booze when it hosts kiddie-oriented acts like, say, Taylor Swift.

Under the changes, rooms that sell liquor will, moving forward, be allowed to submit between four and six delicensing applications a year, with the caveat that the events being applied for have nothing to do with normal operations.

Translated into plain English, that means a licensed rock spot like the Rickshaw can no longer host all-ages concerts.

It can, however, theoretically host up to six booze-free church bake sales per year, presumably with the stipulation that Myrtle the Bee-Hived Spinster be kept away from the church Casio at said bashes.

The reason for all this? Apparently the “police, LCLB, and communities” have received complaints that minors attending concerts at de-licensed venues have been found to be “consuming liquor either prior to entering or outside the establishment during the course of the event”.

Seriously, what are they fucking smoking at the LCLB? Underage kids are getting drunk before shows? Here’s a news flash, you fucking morons: kids get drunk before concerts. They also get wasted before movies, during late-night beach parties, and in the parking lot before hitting high-school dances. They also get drunk on shit-mix and puke their guts out in the stands during One Direction at Rogers Arena—for, believe it or not, reasons that have nothing to do with the music.

It’s part of growing up. If “communities” have a problem with that, they need to look at themselves and ask what they are doing wrong in raising their children. Especially since communities is another word for parents who are too fucking clued-out to realize that Little Johnny getting blasted before that all-ages Anal Cunt show is nowhere near as big a deal as his banging junk in the alley behind Carnegie Centre. Or whacking off in the public library crapper to a Miley Cyrus Maxim spread. As long as he isn’t getting into his Datsun B-210 and driving back to Surrey after the show, no one should give a shit about his powering his way through a six pack of Hi-Test tallboys, even if he’s guaranteed to sit up and chunder all over the bedroom at 4 in the morning.

But in Vancouver—which has a well-documented shortage of all-ages venues, and venues in general—the answer is to radically curb concerts at the few places where kids under 19 can see live music. Unbelievable. What the hell is this? Footloose reimagined for the West Coast?

Buck Cherry was right. There’s nothing to do in this fucking town, indeed—unless it’s doing whatever’s possible to make sure that no one under 19 forgets this is No Fun City.


Follow Mike Usinger on the Tweeter at twitter.com/MikeUsinger


Comments (36) Add New Comment
Maybe they should begin to understand why Europe allows drinking at a younger age than driving?

If we can educate our people on how to use public transit when partying at a younger age maybe when they grow up and get a drivers licence they can be a little more responsible.
Instead we got the fundamentals wrong. "often we meet our destiny on the road we took to avoid it".

Check ya later vancity,

Rating: +32
"Footloose reimagined for the West Coast"
well said indeed !!!
Rating: +20
Who reads this rag, 14 year old's with a 4 letter word vocabulary? I'm heading down to the docks to hear some better language, I'm sure they can manage 5 letter adjectives.
Rating: -73
Nice story, who do we write to complain about this? Our MLA?
Rating: +13
Alan Ranta
I always drink before I read any LCLB decisions... If anything, they're the problem.
Rating: +14
Ah yes, give teenagers even FEWER things to do! I mean, obviously that works great. All you have to do is look at small towns where there is usually not much to do at night and you'll see that the teenagers there are all buttoned up inside at night, doing their Bible study and watching a rousing episode of Jeopardy before bed. Definitely not a lot of bored teenagers with nothing to do out drinking their faces off because everything closes at 9 pm. Yes Vancouver, let's do move our youth in THAT direction. /sarcasm
Rating: +21
I can't believe I'm saying this, but the colourful language in this "article" kind of ruins the message here. Think anyone will take this issue seriously, with references to "Anal Cunt Show"? A little class can go a long way...
Rating: -35
So why does Roger's Arena get a free pass to serve booze at events where minors are present?
Rating: +63
Can't we just somehow turn these teens into condos?
Rating: +128
As someone who hates the fact that music is so often co-opted by booze, I too agree that these new regulations are bogus. It just got much harder to put on all ages, alcohol free shows in this city. Lame.
Rating: +24
What the fuck does biking have to do with this?!!! The bike lanes in this city are a blessing! Canada day, trying to ride home after some seriously spiked ice tea was piled onto a six-pack, I had a severe fail on the Burrard street bridge. Not a lot of memory to this event, but my bike was destroyed. I do, however, remember picking pieces of myself and my bike off the bike lane whilst traffic zoomed by on the other side of the barrier. I can only intuit that the bike lane saved my life that day. So fuck off.
Rating: -22
Is it way too cynical to think of cutting out all ages venues as a peripheral way of choking out some of these older venues - like the Rickshaw, etc. - in order to buy out leases and build more condos?
Rating: +12
Brutal article. Full of language that doesn't need to be there. Instead of making a solid argument ... you basically say "kids will get wasted either way...so stop being a kill joy". Okay ... you explain to the parents of an underage kid who gets drunk ... then alcohol poisoning, beaten up or worse. If kids have nothing to do in a town that has some of the best skiing in the world and the ocean on our doorstep then they have bad role models like you to thank for it.
Rating: -29
Everyone complaining about the language in this article - do you recognize the similarity between yourselves and the puritanical villains of fun mentioned in this piece? Both you and the LCBC are guilty of sidestepping the real issues in favour of attempting to address pointless *ahem* bullshit. Sometimes adults swear when they're passionate about something, grow the fuck up, loosen your knotted panties and listen to what's being said.
Rating: +23
Guys guys guys. I'm totally on board with the other comments here. We need to stop the Straight from publishing such foul language....kids will never have to hear such awful words if we gag the local paper. It will be kinda like that time they stopped kids from going to shows to prevent them from dri---oh, wait..
Rating: +2
No Fun Vancouver.
If you do not like this. Send your mail to:

Karen Ayers
Assistant Deputy Minister and General Manager, LCLB
Tel:250 952-5791
Fax: 250 952-7066

Tell her what you think about this.
Rating: +24
Louis Cyphre
easy fix: WRISTBANDS
Rating: +3
Orson B. Jective
"The sort of twee person who thinks that swearing is in any way a sign of a lack of education or a lack of verbal interest is just fucking lunatic." (Stephen Fry)

Nothing to add to that, really, except perhaps that if there is anyone in BC more deserving of being addressed on a four-letter basis than the LCLB, I (thankfully) haven't met them.
Rating: +7
John Wellman
Well written! Kudos!
This applies for all markets. Its a fact, and yes, it's part of growing up.
The problem is the parents want to blame others rather than themselves. We need to keep all ages shows everywhere. how else do you find your new favourite band at a young age without seeing the raw energy live and in your face? This helps build careers for musicians all over. All I ever spent my money on was merch. Still do. It creates artists by being inspired.
Rating: -2
For anyone who is offended by the language in this story... Fu... nevermind.

He's writing effectively to the engaged base. It's up to another writer to forward this story in the MSM.

An "attaboy" and a "huzzah" for the lack of self censorship here.
Rating: -9


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