A concentrated afternoon in a large, quiet room with only two old fellas reading ancient newspapers. I read and read and read. I spent the time with a 64 page pamphlet publication called Vancouver through the eyes of a Hobo by Victor Forster published in 1934. It’s a one man polemic on what he observed and decided. A talk back to the city he wanders about in. The pamphlet is raw, flamboyant in its lyricism and is suffused with the writer’s racism toward the Chinese (referred to as the singular “China man”), and his perception that working women were a threat to the working man. What’s curious is how these two groups of people specifically are set against the working man, the working husband. We continue to see immigrants scapegoated for economic difficulties (particularly notable in current US senate election).
Another portrait emerges from this pamphlet of Vancouver as a city of vice and gambling and this man’s belief that the police were entirely in cahoots with it, that it was happening under their nose and so on. Another contemporary theme: the distrust of the police force.
There’s a section in it called The Racing House which offers a portrait of a house where people gathered to wager on races. The caller out would connect by telephone and repeat the narration of the race taking place to those in the room. The portrait makes compelling reading.
I found a fascinating book called Depression Stories published by New Star (1976?) by Sydney Hucheson (sp?).
I am revved on the 1930′s and may be moving on from the 1970′s !