#Straight50: Recalling when Bruce Allen was thinking of running for mayor of Vancouver

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      This morning on the 50th anniversary of the birth of the Georgia Straight, my mind wandered back to amusing interviews I've conducted over the years.

      Three of them were done over the phone with the ever-colourful and always brash and controversial Bruce Allen.

      The first was in 1996 when Drew Burns was in the midst of losing his beloved Commodore Ballroom because of a dispute with the landlord.

      Allen was a nightclub owner himself, in addition to managing some of the biggest music acts that Vancouver has ever produced.

      He told me that Burns made the mistake of thinking he was in the music business when in fact, he was in the booze business.

      That's because nightclubs only survive if they peddle enough plonk on a nightly basis.

      The second amusing interview came in 2001 when Allen was thinking of running for mayor.

      Allen was fed up with the mayor at the time, Philip Owen, for discouraging good times in the city.

      “We’re one of the only cities that doesn’t even have a First Night at New Year’s Eve,” Allen said. “Our [millennium] New Year’s Eve celebration was a time when the police and the mayor and everybody advised everybody not to come downtown and have fun. So it’s kind of a no-fun city mandated by people who don’t know how to have fun.”

      He accused Owen of being absolutely useless in making use of the media. Allen also suggested that most Vancouverites didn't even know his name.

      “He is a dull guy with no personality, and the city is dull with no personality.”

      The third laugh came in 2011 when I asked Allen about his efforts to put on a Bryan Adams concert in Stanley Park many years earlier.

      It never happened. Allen was stymied by, you guessed it, Owen and the ruling NPA.

      “I’ll never forget when they said we’ve got to have [drug-sniffing] dogs…to go through the fucking woods,” Allen recalled. “The cops in those days were always against large gatherings. Now, they’ve figured out that they make a lot of overtime money from them.”

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