Quietly CommunistFriday, April 14, 2006
My first job in Vancouver, 30 years ago, was at Tilden Rent-A-Car on Alberni Street, across from the Ritz Hotel (If you have to ask, you are too young). I was told not to rent cars to anybody surnamed John or George. I did not understand. Finally the manager said, "Don't rent to Indians." I decided to rent a car, no questions asked, to the first "Indian" that walked through the door. That Indian was a very large and rough looking man called Moving Rock. I rented him (he did not have a driver's license) an Oldsmobile station wagon. For reference Moving Rock gave me Alderman Harry Rankin. Most of us were in awe of Rankin. I called and Rankin told me I was not going to have any problems with Moving Rock. A month later the abandoned station wagon was found in Arizona. I was almost fired. Furthermore I was not to rent to any more rocks, Indians or a Johnny Stone. Stone, who was a good renter of mine, was a black pimp from Seattle. He rented modest Vegas and always returned them spotless and on time.
In September 1987 Alderman Rankin was running for mayor against Gordon Campbell. Equity Magazine's editor, Harvey Southam thought Campbell the better man to keep the status quo so he hired right-wing columnist and writer Doug Collins to write a profile. I was dispatched with the instructions to use my green filter, b+w technique on Rankin. I told Rankin that the green filter was going to make him look older. His retort, "Go ahead shoot, I don't give a f...." When the magazine appeared in October I was amazed to see my two page spread with the huge banner, Quietly Communist on top.