The passions turned into madness

June 17, 2011

I was feeling this pull… “maybe it’s time to go…” wishful thinking would make me hope that the Canucks could rise and score 4 goals in 20 minutes and win the cup. But logic said they couldn’t score a single one.

When I had arrived downtown there was an electricity in the air, people everywhere, the hope was high. I rode into the Vancouver Public Library underground parking lot, didn’t want to leave the bike on the streets and there they give you a half-price rate for a bike.

The man tending the booth there was all aflutter… I had my helmet on and could not hear everything he said properly but caught this :

“We’re sitting ducks here. They will riot. Win or lose they will riot. When it starts I’m running… We’re sitting ducks!”

“They’re not going to riot” I answered back. You know, the Olympic legacy. It’s been a few weeks of 100 thousand plus people gathering in the streets and it’s all been good. Ah I am so naive, still and always so naive…

I went to park the bike and this security guy came by. He was East Indian, wore a turban, was at least in his sixties.

“what luggage do you have on your bike?” he asked me

“Just this” I said showing the helmet and the bag on the back seat.

“I will keep an eye on it” he promised. It made me wonder if I should worry a bit more… but on I went to see the streets to experience this energy once more. But I landed on the sidewalk out of the parking garage and it wasn’t really “love” that I felt. There was an edge to the vibe that had been glowing so bright just two days ago.

I approached the gate in front of the CBC and it was closed. Full. Capacity. I walked around the block to get to the Georgia street screen. It was definitely different. I could feel the edges. It was just like a breeze, turning heads and emotions, subtly but surely. When I arrived at Georgia Street, there was a throng there. I proceeded a little further, I was pushed around, just a bit, but enough to stop me.

Hmmmm…. lets get out of this. Because this just ain’t feelin’ right.

I walked down towards Granville, against the current of people rushing towards the Georgia street screen. Onto Granville it was quite a bit more mellow. But the cops did look more tense today. I was starting to think about leaving right away. But decided to see if I could find a place to see the game in peace.

The crowd on Georgia Street around 5 PM


The bowling alley on Granville had a sign : “Come watch the game here!” and I did. I found a quiet spot and watched the first two periods. It became clear that they were not going to win this. Boston was ruling the ice. Tim Thomas was brilliant, outstanding, a hero. I love what he emanates. I’d love to meet him. He’s made of a different cloth.

the bowling alley

At intermission, before the third period I decided to leave. I leisurely walked back towards the Library strolling down quieter streets. The Orpheum was hosting a graduation party. The people there looked so out of place in the midst of all the jerseyed fans and the wildness in the air. And I smelled it again. The edge, floating in the air. I arrived at the parking lot.

I think he started it all... look at the crazed look in his eyes...

The security guard was there, Beowulf was intact. He started to talk to me…
“You’re a very nice lady” he kept saying. OK, gotta handle this one with finesse. I steered the conversation to the bike. I ended up telling me about the trip. He then exclaimed :
“What can I do to help?!? ”

“Nothing I said, I’m fine.”

“Do you need money? I have two hundred dollars on me.”

“No thank you” I replied laughing. “I’m fine” I said extending my hands above my head “ God takes care of me.”

“Ohhhhh! You are a special woman! Take care!!!”

I rode off. He had walked up the ramp out of the parking lot and gave me a military salute. With gravity and solemnity. I gave him a peace sign back. Got out of the building and the downtown core nicely and easily. I headed out to the venue where I was playing that night on Granville Island. I changed and got ready, warmed up on the guitar and walked back inside the bar to take a seat. That was when I looked up to the TV screen.

The TV screen

Fire. Looters, upended cars, police in riot gear, and tons and tons of idiots laughing, taking photos and filming and documenting this as if this was fun.

Fair Vancouver is on fire.  View from Granville Island

I could not believe my eyes. F@#*.

I was just there. Just there…. My instincts saved me again. But what a disappointment. What can possibly cause someone to act like this?

The show was delayed. None of my friends showed up… The security guy at the Backstage Lounge was getting all ruffled up.

“They’re going to cross the bridge and come down here and destroy the place. I’m closing this place down! This is not going to happen on my watch!!!”

He went outside and sat there watching the bridge like a hawk for a good hour. In the mean time the TV screens on the news channel kept rolling images of hooliganism. Right here, not even two miles away.

The first band got on to play. But we were mostly riveted by the images endlessly pouring out on the TV screen. Then I went on stage to play. I was feeling a bit out of focus. It reminded me of the day Lady Di was killed. I was playing a pub in the boonies somewhere in BC. I was playing, had to play as the images of the car, Lady Di and her beau were succeeding one another on yet another screen in another bar. Too real it’s unreal. I will remember this. Half way through my set, they turned the TVs off. Phew.

When I was done, a sweet girl came to see me.

“Oh thank you so much for the music!!! Thank you for this! Your voice is beautiful! I love your songs! Thank you for turning this day into something good!”

Turns out she was downtown to see the game. Was having a great time with her friends. She is from Holland. Visiting. On a road trip. She was going to celebrate, they had stopped at a pita restaurant to eat some food. She was sitting there peacefully when the windows were smashed and they were tear gassed. She said :
“It was burning, I was rubbing my face, my eyes, oh it burned!”

I felt incredibly ashamed of us, of this mob. These idiots. Those who feel so entitled as to destry everyone sense of security, well being, happiness… that’s without talking about material destruction…

Another girl there was from Toronto. She was visibly shocked.

“I’m from Ontario… I never thought I’d live through this… I hate this place now…”

This morning, good citizens went downtown to clean up, bring garbage bags, try to make amends I guess.

And so life on planet earth goes. A great gigantic Shaekespearean drama unfolding. The good and the bad. The light and the dark. The crazed minds and the enlightened ones.

Glad I had the presence of mind to get the hell out when I did. I’m thankfull for that.

it is indeed a thin veneer covering this culture and society. Very thin.


12 Responses to “The passions turned into madness”

  1. Asbjorn Says:

    I’m so glad your intuition steered you away from that mess. Kept you and Beowolf out of harms reach.
    Thanks for letting us know you’re ok.

    Don’t be ashamed of Vancouver because of this.
    Every community has a small percentage of idiot morons; that when the conditions are prime, seizes the opportunity for mayhem and destruction.
    When the Lakers won last year, they still burnt and destroyed!

    Go figure!?!?

    • Mikesbo Says:

      I don’t think the “few bad apples” excuse can be applied any longer. This was not a small, corrupt few, and it is not a unique event in the western world.

      This kind of thing gets worse and more prevalent with each passing year/generation. When people are raised to be children, to depend upon “authorities” (and/or the government) to guide and control them, the times when they are beyond the control of those authorities and left to their own self-control results in the worst kind of behavior. This is what Rome looked like near the end.

      • you do have a point, it is a deep issue that is transpiring in the way the vigilantes are now as violent in their condemnations and actions on line as the rioters were on the streets. There seem to be a deep anger running rampant in our gilded city.

        Maybe it’s time we all look at how easily we get angry at each other and why. Mirrors might me required… to see the source of the problem.

  2. bobskoot Says:

    Danielle: i had a premonition that you were down by the library, I am glad you had the foresight to leave. I am glad you are safe. these trouble makers went downtown with the express purpose of causing destruction and damage whether the Canucks won, or lost. I was downtown in 1994 during the riot on Robson street. It has changed my perception and i don’t go down there as much as I used to. as you know it is only a few who are spoiling it for the majority

    take care,
    Riding the Wet Coast

  3. SonjaM Says:

    I am sorry that you had to make this experience, and glad that you and Beowulf were unscathed by the riots. Those were no Canadians, no Vancouverites and no Canuck Fans. Those were a bunch of organized hooligans that came well prepared masked in fan Jerseys. The people here are severely in shock and ashamed of what happened. This is not Canada.

    • Hey Bob, thanks for writing, yes I was down there, Monday had been so amazing, I wanted to get the feel of it one more time. I never thought this would happen… Yes, my instincts, they’ve served me well. On we ride!

      Sonja, I hear you. Crazy, crazy but oh so human. I was just hoping we’d be better than that. I’m not sure what we need as a society to actually rise above such low points. The good thing is that the great majority of people ARE good.

  4. Christopher Says:

    Hi there, Sorry i missed your show at the cafe. i was going to come then i ended up with some alergy eye thingy and it left me couch surfing for the evening. lets get together this weekend for a ride up to Squamish for coffee.

  5. Madeleine Says:

    Ouf…… que je suis soulagée, j’avais tellement peur que tu sois prise dans cette folie destructrice!
    Je t’aime, Mawie xxx

  6. mq01 Says:

    😦 such sad events. im glad your instinct guided you to safety, and that you were able to uplift others in the wake of …

  7. Charlotte Says:

    My last hometown… Madison Wisconsin… at Halloween had these problems for many many years. The city would spend close to 250K USDon one night alone to police the mess. Seemed anyone who was mentally unstable and addicted to alcohol and drugs within a 500 mile raius would gravitate there and have ‘fun’ hurting people, destroying property and threatening public safety. Some dumb guy sued the city after slapping a police horses ass and getting kicked. Do not take it personally… and also, I am glad that you got out when you did. Always trust that instinct, Danielle, no matter where you go it will save you (and mine will save me) EVERY time. Trust it.


    • Hey Charlotte,
      It is just so incredibly incredible… I just can’t understand such behavior. It’s way, way beyond me. And the contrast between the Monday game where it was this beautiful energy coming from almost 100 thousand people peacefully gathered and enjoying things….

      This rioting, this gratuitous violence, criminality is the stuff of nightmares.

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