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The old hacks who make The Ex-Press the glorious, old-school rag that it is.

What did Singapore’s late patriarch do during infamous UBC sit-in?… He just sat there…

Rod Mickleburgh reveals little-known encounter between Lee Kuan Yew, Jerry Rubin and hordes of hippies in the hallowed halls of The University of British Columbia - back in the day By Rod Mickleburgh So, farewell then, Lee Kuan Yew, grand patriarch of Singapore, who never saw a critic he didn’t want to jail or sue, or a gum chewer he didn’t want to fine. Much has been written extolling the great man, beloved of entrepreneurs and capitalists for creating a safe, uncorrupt haven for their money and by hordes of ex-pats in Asia for providing a tiny, perfect oasis for a few days’ R and R, coupled with a chance to down a Singapore Sling at the famed Long Bar of the Raffles Hotel. But none of the lengthy obituaries has included one of the more remarkable confluences of Lee’s long career. That occurred, of all places, on the scenic, normally placid campus of the University of B.C., where he encountered an invasion of raucous ragamuffins imbued with the heady, counter-culture ...

Rod Mickleburgh has a Burroughs flashback

The Beats go on in North Vancouver: Presentation House Gallery mounts visual chronicle of the era as witnessed by Allen Ginsberg   By Rod Mickleburgh I met William Burroughs once. It was during my magical year in Paris (sigh). I’d read in Libération that morning that the legendary icon of the Beats would be at the City of Light’s annual Salon du Livre at the Grand Palais. I thought ‘what the hell’, and went down to catch a glimpse of the famous man, who had been such a part of the Kerouac/Ginsberg Beat generation of writers. In On the Road, the book that changed my life, Burroughs appears as Old Bull Lee. An insatiable consumer of drugs, Burroughs fatally shot his wife during a crazed William Tell re-enactment in Mexico, hung out in Tangiers where the less said about his proclivity for underage boys the better, and found time to write such underground classics as Junkie and Naked Lunch, turned into a movie by the strange David Cronenberg. (My parents ...
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Getting all for KIimt: Woman in Gold

Movie Review: Woman in Gold Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds bring emotional purity to paint-by-numbers script      

There is power in a union… If Christy Clark says it’s okay

By Rod Mickleburgh That Christy Clark can sure be a funny premier. And I don’t mean Hamish jokes. Take the recent flare-up over who gets to build that farm-flooding, massive Site C dam in northeastern B.C. Please… Until recently, attempts by the province’s once-powerful construction unions to secure a fair crack at the work had received no more than the bureaucratic equivalent of a bucket of warm spit from the powers that be at BC Hydro and the Liberal government’s own representatives. Not only was Hydro insisting on a construction site open to union and non-union contractors, which was not all that surprising, the Crown corporation wanted to ban the building trades from even trying to organize dam workers who were not unionized. Unions? Unions? Don’t need no stinking unions. It was all very reminiscent of the distaste for union labour that prevailed during the 10-year premiership of Gordon Campbell. Egged on all the way by Phil Hochstein of the strident, ...

Searching for newspapers and the soul of David Carr

By Rod Mickleburgh The late, great David Carr, media reporter for the New York Times, continued to value newspapers, even as he covered the rapidly-changing online media world that is threatening their existence with free, easily-accessible, short-attention span hits. Carr read two or three papers every morning before heading into work, and whenever he was in a new city, he relished reading the local newspaper. He said it gave him a sense of the buzz and mood of the place that no travel guide or web site provided. I, too, always buy the local paper when I’m travelling. There is never a dearth of stories offering a glimpse of life outside one’s own navel-gazing metropolis (vote ‘Yes’). So it was recently, as I passed through LA’s International Airport and the world’s busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta. At both terminals, I seemed to be the only person reading a newspaper. The LA Times, a slimmed-down sylph of its former bulky self, cost a buck. The ...