The Georgia Straight - May 1967 – 27 September 2022
The paper was founded as an underground newspaper in May 1967 by Pierre Coupey, Milton Acorn,] Dan McLeod, Stan Persky, and others, and originally it operated as a collective.
In April 1967: "The proposed paper was christened the Georgia Straight over beer at the Cecil Hotel. The name aims to play on the fact that the weather forecasts will offer free publicity: they're always issuing gale warnings for the Georgia Strait."
As a freelancer photographer and then writer in Vancouver since 1977 I never felt that I was part of anything. The only job I ever held was washing cars for Tilden-Rent-A-Car on Alberni Street from 1975 to 1976.
Both Vancouver Magazine and the Georgia Straight gave me a feeling that I belonged. I started contributing to Vancouver Magazine in 1977 and to the Straight from 1980.
Sometime in the beginning of 1987, punk rocker John Armstrong (Buck Cherry of the Modernettes) showed up at our corner table at the Railway Club where we had a group of writers, photographers, poets, illustrators, publishers, exotic dancers, etc. We met on Thursdays at noon.
Armstrong did not know what to do with his life. The punk era was over. I told him, “The Bay is around the corner. Buy a Harris Tweed jacket, a shirt and tie and go and see Charles Campbell (then editor at the Straight).” He did.
His first assignment was to interview a visiting Vincent Price. I took the portrait. In his second job we drove to Seattle to interview and photograph Dennis Hopper. From the Straight, Armstrong landed at the Vancouver Sun. He has subsequently written novels and an autobiography.
In the beginning of April 1989 writer John Lekich and I showed up at Campbell’s desk. Access to the Straight was easy and you never needed an appointment.
We told Campbell that we wanted to do an Intro (a feature started by Campbell that was about local people on their way up) on an intelligent and beautiful woman. We were dispatched to work on Karen Campbell. I was never given directions on how to take my portrait. But I did know that most had to be verticals.
Until the Straight became a square-shaped paper I contributed. Then it all was evident that the weekly was moribund.
Thanks to the Straight I was pleasantly subjected to dance, theatre and musical performance of all varieties.
The Georgia Straight has an incredible value in its name. It has been purchased. The new owners say they are going to bring it all back to its former glory. They must believe in Santa Claus.
I would only give them one piece of advice. If they are to publish a hard copy they should switch from the Straight’s Thursdays to Monday. As of October 17 the Vancouver Sun will not print their paper on Mondays.
Thank you Charles Campbell and Charlie Smith for all the good times and the fact that you made us able to dream of something on one week and see it printed on the next.