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.
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