Cashing Czeques – Man Game reading in Brno

Know anyone in Brno? On Canada Day, I’ll be the first Canadian reading at the Month of Authors, an amazing literary festival in Brno, Czech Republic (birthplace of Kundera). This year the theme is Canadian writing. They’ve invited thirty Canadians to read alongside thirty Czech writers.

Also featured: Sheila Heti, Madeleine Thien, Ken Babstock, George Elliot Clarke, Lynn Coady, Eden Robinson, Michael Crummey, Nicole Brossard…I am having a hard time deciding how to pick highlights –all the authors they’ve invited are amazing. I wish I could stay the whole month. What a beautiful opportunity! I’ll read chapter 6 from The Man Game. The festival has translated all our work from Canadian into Czech, and apparently a big screen will be showing a Czech transcription of what I am reading. I am looking forward to how they translated “poltroon” and “bohunk” into Czech.

Photos: Felling Trees using Spring Boards

A while ago I posted an amazing picture by Vancouver photographer Dan Siney of old growth stumps with the spring board foot holds looking like eyes in a skull. Dan wandered the forests looking for the last remaining examples of the early logging. Here’s some pictures from the city archives of why the loggers used spring boards to help them cut down the massive trees along the coast.

Photos: Donkey Engine

To clear out all the excess tree stumps and debris from felled logs, the woodsmen of old Vancouver used donkey engines to drag it all to a single location, where scrap was burned in a giant pile. In The Man Game, a controversy arises over who is to blame for starting the fire that burns down the entire city in June, 1886. Here’s some pictures of donkey engines.

Donkey engine, horse, and logging crew, circa 1900?

Donkey engine, horse, and logging crew, ca. 189-?

Loggers with donkey engine and railway engine in forest, 1912?
All photos courtesty the City of Vancouver Archives.

Photo: Southside Solitude

Looking west across False Creek from 7th Avenue and Birch Street, ca. 1890. Check out a Google Map of what it looks like today in that once lonely neighbourhood. Courtesy the Vancouver Archives.

Man Game episode five: The Bookend

The Bookend, a popular but surprisingly difficult move to pull off, circa 1887, animated by Isaac “The King” King.

Download it. Cellphone it. Email it. You can if you want to.

The Bookend 176×132

The Bookend 320×240

Man Game episode four: The Medical Breakthrough

The Medical Breakthrough, an innovation on The Pisk, circa 1887, animated by Isaac “The King” King

download the animation? you bet.

The Medical Breakthrough 176×132

The Medical Breakthrough 320×240

Man Game episode three: Gone Fishin’

Gone Fishin’, invented in 1887, animated by Isaac “The King” King

download it? you bet.

Gone Fishin’ 176×132

Gone Fishin’ 320×240

Man Game episode two: Sausage Links

Sausage Links, an early move from 1886. Animation by Isaac “The King” King

Do you want to put this cartoon on your computer or cellphone? Links are here. . .

Sausage Links 176×132

Sausage Links 320×240

Photo: Hollow Tree

A scene in The Man Game takes place inside the Hollow Tree in Stanley Park, Vancouver. After hundreds of years, the hollow tree is about to be removed from the park. Lots of Vancouverites are rightly protesting that the parks board has decided to remove the hollow tree. Photo courtesy The History of Metropolitan Vancouver.

Ogle, Campbell & Co. Clothing and Gents Furnishings














From The History of Metropolitan Vancouver:

May 23, 1887 The first CPR passenger train arrived in Vancouver from Montreal. Locomotive 374, attached to the train at Port Moody, brought it in with Peter Righter at the throttle. (It is often thought #374 pulled the train right across the country. Nope, just from Port Moody.) The choice of Vancouver as the Pacific terminus for the CPR ensured the town’s dominant role in southwestern B.C.

Man Game episode one: The Pisk

The Pisk, the original move from 1886. Animation by Isaac “The King” King

Do you want to put this cartoon on your cellphone? Here’s the links . . .

The Pisk 176×132

The Pisk 320×240

A Reading from The Man Game

This reading was recorded at Artspeak in Vancouver on March 27, 2008 as part of their Frontierism series.


Photo Inspiration: Dan Siney

Dan Siney \

Vancouver artist Dan Siney recently made a series of photographs of our old growth stumps with ancient logger foot-holds, called Stump Skulls — this one is subtitled The Stump Becomes the Moon (For Mark Feddes), 2008. C-Print 182.9 cm x 121.9 cm. Courtesy the artist. Shown at the Presentation House in North Van as part of the Moodyville group show. North Van used to be called Moodyville, back in 1886

Here’s How To Fell A Tree in 2008

Not much has changed since 1886 when loggers did it all by hand. Now chainsaws are a big help, though.