From the Vault

Historical Reporter (image)

Mother Knows Best (image)

Sports Reporter (image)

Surfing is Surfing:
an essay on Grant Shilling

by Clayton Webb

We Don't Care What You Say

Growth Rings

Babes in the Woods

Exile off Main Street

Kids & Play & Adults

Squeegee People, Vulture Culture & Cars

Survival of the Fittest

True Crimes

Copper Ann

Bodysurfing, Travel & the Dead

Haunted Houses

Rock & Roll Road Kill, Kill, Kill!

Storage Locker


Copper Ann

by Grant Shilling

This is Ann. I met her when I was painting a building on East Hastings across from the Fisherman’s Credit Union there. I was up on a ladder and Ann came by with a shopping cart full of copper.

“I do this so I don’t have to hook you know.”

“That’s good.”

I was at this job for about two weeks. And over that time I got to know Ann. Talking with her more and more. Ann lives with her sister right behind where we were working. Her sister was recently pushed off a porch by junkies who were robbing them. She is now on disability with some brain damage and Ann takes care of her.

Ann says this really changed both their lives. Ann worked as a fashion model a long time ago. She then began to train German Shepherd dogs for security purposes. She ran her own business doing this and was quite successful.
Ann and her sister want to move. I took this picture of Ann a couple of summers ago when the NDP banned the sale of single cigarettes. It was a Province headline and effected a lot of people around East Hastings where I lived at the time on Granville downtown.

At first you could get single cigarettes…sotto counter.. if you asked the right way. A bit like an opium den or a Turkish something.

I made foursigns based on the Brecht Song “What Keeps Mankind Alive?”
(I think it’s from Three Penny Opera, but I’m not sure).

I just turned the phrase around a bit and made it,’What Keeps Granville Man Alive?’ I replied to myself: NO Jobs, Blow Jobs, Single Cigarettes and Dumpsters.
I then went went about carving the letters out of cardboard taken from dumpsters below my window.

I like cardboard as a material.

Then I asked people on the street if I could take their picture with the sign.
Single Cigarettes was easy, cuz everybody got a chuckle out of it and it really got people talking about the controversy.

No Jobs and Dumpsters wasn’t too bad to get people to pose for…and Blow Jobs was hard. Eventually I got Anne (a different Anne, one with an ‘e’ and blonde hair) who said, “Oh I want that one.”

We had fun.

The other guy with single cigarettes here is Clayton. He was from Alberta and a Cree. He worked for a long time on a cruise ship that went to Alaska. He also told a great story about living in the Sheraton Centre Tower (“the one with the revolving restauarant”) when they were building it.

“It had quite a view,eh.”

Clayton lived in the neighbourhood too. He asked us if we need help and the boss, a dangerous guy, said sure.

The boss was always going up and down the ladder to talk to these guys who would show up with their late model 70s haircuts and cars. Big hair and big cars.
It made me nervous. We needed help.

Clayton and I got $10 an hour. He was good company, though he’d fritz out a bit with fatigue.

On the last day of the job, Clayton, the boss, Copper Ann and even her sister and I sat out behind the job at the loading ramp. We drank a few beer, smoked, told some stories and had a good time. Now we had no jobs.