Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Cultural Blow...

While not directly relating to performance proper (as we conventionally use the term), I thought this bit of information I received today something to think about in relation to Peter's closing comment yesterday about the significance of performance to culture, and culture to a city, to Vancouver. After 53 years of operation, Duthie Books (its remaining store located on West 4th) announced its closing today. Here is the official statement from the Duthie family. The usual suspects are cited, market-cornering book chains, imminent ebooks, and a transitioning readership in general, but to me underlying all this is a cultural neglect. Independent bookstores in Berlin (factoring in these recessive times) are thriving. The same is true of London. It gives pause. The closing of Duthie's is not just the loss of the most discerning bookstore in Vancouver, it is a nudging reminder that when we do deservedly question the legitimacy of "Port Moody - City of the Arts," we need not at the same time vigorously pat our cultured Vancouver backs.

1 comment:

  1. This is indeed a sad bit of news. When I first moved here 18 years ago, Duthie's on Robson and Hornby was one of the top destinations for discerning bibliophiles (along with the dearly departed Granville Books, the long gone Proprioception Books, and the much diminished--because of fire--Spartacus Books). Duthie's made some mistakes in the course of those 18 years, not the least of which was trying to compete with the big box chains when they first arrived on the scene, and the 4th Avenue store was never a favourite of mine, both in terms of stock and service. However, the brand was a Vancouver institution for a long, long time, and their goodbye does smart.