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Surfing is Surfing:
an essay on Grant Shilling
by Clayton Webb
Don't Care What You Say
in the Woods
off Main Street
& Play & Adults
People, Vulture Culture & Cars
of the Fittest
Travel & the Dead
& Roll Road Kill, Kill, Kill!
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.”
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
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
(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
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
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