Vancouver DIY Music Scene Is Not Safe – Unless Everybody Is.

Vancouver DIY Music Scene Is Not Safe – Unless Everybody Is.

A lie told once remains a lie but a lie told a thousand times becomes the truth” – Joseph Goebbels

Sigh. This missive grows and I suspect the trend will continue. I value my privacy but given that parts of my life are being made public, I’ve no choice but to respond in kind.

Nobody, of any age, race or gender, has ever complained about my behavior towards them. I don’t “pick up girls at gigs”. Or try. This “gently used older model” loves music and goes to listen, chat with all manner of interesting folks and have a couple of beer. It’s neurodiverse and demi. It normally only takes up with those it knows and trusts.

As I’ve grown visibly older the bigots have come out to play. I’ve learned the term “out-group bias“. Here are some negative highlights of my time out here in Vancouver:

  • Ex Girlfriend at Dance Night

Wandered into a underground dance night with a (lesbian) friend and was introduced to a young woman in the bar lineup. We discovered we had interests in common (“meet a fellow nerd” was the introduction) so spoke at a group table for a spell. A staff member then came up and asked me to leave as I had been reported “harassing patrons”. My new friend asked me to wait outside while she sorted out what had happened. Long story short: an ex girlfriend of hers did not like her “speaking to a man” and had falsely accused me of inappropriate behavior. The staff did not believe her at first, she had to get the entire table involved.

Galling thing about this one is that when I came back in, one of the staff leaned in and said “you better watch yourself”. No bias there…

  • Ex GF posting “Stalker” on Instagram

A friend sent me a link to a public Instagram post of a woman (I did not recognize) taking a selfie with me in the background, over her shoulder. In the text she stated that I was “stalking her for an ex”.
She had seen me talking to him at a venue previously and apparently decided to attack him through his friends.

The ex boyfriend referred it to the police (they had a history) and the Instagram post was deleted. But not before dozens of people had commented on the post (and photo) with terms like “ooh, creepy!”.

  • Punk Rock Wankers

Wandered in late to a gig, bought a beer, said hi to few people in the crowd as I wandered back to watch the band start. Stood with one hand in pocket and the other holding a beer.
Was suddenly asked to leave by staff because a young man reported to them I made a woman “uncomfortable”. No further details were given. The only woman I’d spoken to there was pair of twenty-somethings who’d introduced themselves at previous event.

The man, when asked to locate the complainant, would/could not. He then was witnessed bragging to woman outside about his actions.

When contacted the venue eventually apologized for how they handled things but asked me to stay away for the time being. Apparently there had been a spate of complaints/attacks against men that eventually migrated to far more serious allegations against staff. I was told some older male staff stopped mixing with the crowd to avoid being targeted. It was not a safe situation to enter into.
The venue slowed hosting events for a time (presumably to deal with the issues) but seemed to never quite recover and eventually folded. Sad, as it was a good space I’d seen some great bands in.

The woman I spoke with there wrote a stern letter to the venue and eventually became friends to go gigging with. The venue staff have since reached out and invited me to other events and festivals.

  • Age-ism, Able-ism, Sexism and Racism in DIY

Here’s a long rant. Sorry/Not Sorry.

Had been working and volunteering at a local venue, mostly filming bands during and after the pandemic. The place was fun but with a bit of DIY edginess (not all in a good way as you will shortly read). Some of the groups they hosted were openly bigoted. Preaching hate and division based on gender and race. There had been performers ranting about “white men” on stage and even online complaints about “having to work with a white man” while filming. Despite the venue having clearly visible rules about racism, my complaints about this were met with a shrug. Talk – Action = 0.

A couple of the staff and cronies were openly hostile to my involvement. Making drive-by snide comments to let me know such, especially on the rare occasions when I helped bar-tend busy nights. It became clear they felt my involvement was interfering with their revenue stream. One promoter even sat on the floor in front of me after a gig and started repeatedly chanting “All White Men Are Bastards”. When I objected to their behavior, the staff sitting with this individual looked abashed but stayed silent. So the following should come as no surprise to some.

A friend with disabilities used to visit me at the venue and the occasional outside gig. We learned to tip off security staff upon entering to help deflect some of the attention the visible portion of their disability could attract. On a small number of occasions it became too much and we had to leave. But I believe they have a right to go out and supported them, doing my best to keep all parties safe.

At one event these issues cropped up and, as we were preparing to depart, a venue staff member lured my friend to a isolated area and was abusive. Taunting them (dancing about yelling “punch me, punch me”) and worsening their state. I immediately removed us from the facility via the closest exit.

I then received a arrogantly worded e-mail stating that it was I who had behaved poorly and was to remove my film and other equipment immediately. This missive has now been made public. Nobody spoke to either of us in arriving at this “closed door” decision, the justification for which remain unknown. I walked away without a word, all trust had been broken. Some individuals did eventually interact and learned the truth of the situation, inviting me out to other venues they help out with. I also discovered through this process that some of the closed group making this decision may have concocted false tales to justify the action.

The venue behaved poorly and given their nature, I’m told they should be utilizing something like a “trusted third party” process to mediate sensitive issues. Far too many out-group biases and outright bigotry exists for them to be trusted with anybody’s personal information.

First a coverup, then the smear campaign.

This group and their clique then engaged in a “whisper campaign“, spreading false information. The “All While Men Are Bastards” crowd and their circle were central to this.

It’s been almost two years now and some individuals are still on the attack. What was an incident has turned into a disinformation “campaign”. If you happen to have been contacted (especially by any documented or electronic means) by any of these individuals I’d be interested in hearing from you at the address in the contacts section. Whisper campaigns are designed to be hard to defend against, which is why they are used for malicious purposes.

  • Closing Communication

I noticed a trend where venues and promoters encourage (young woman) to utilize “anonymous complaints if anybody makes you feel uncomfortable”. This is dangerous, biased, unfair and open to abuse. Consider that a significant percentage of the population may be considered undiagnosed sociopaths, especially in the younger set.

An example of this was a group associated with the incident above making false accusations at another venue, which then asked me to leave. That venue then closed all channels of communication, blocking social media accounts, returning mailed letters and any other communication. There was no process or accountability. That this varies based on the age and gender of the accused would be a fine guess.

Look up something like “Eleanor Williams Victim Impact” for a worst case example of false accusations, vicious gossip and the damage it can cause. Please fact check before you re-post or forward anything online. Recently a false report of an assault was circulated widely on social media. And turned out to have been entirely bogus.

  • Drink Spiking

Out with a 30+ female friend watching some bands. She put down her beer and asked me to watch it. A woman rushed over and loudly opined that it was dangerous as I might “spike her drink”. She was informed we’d been friends for many years and was trusted. The woman then aggressively responded that it did not matter, she was to “never leave a drink alone with a man”. My friend gave her a good earful and the aggressor eventually backed away.

  • Conclusion

I believe the Vancouver DIY music scene is NOT safe. Not unless everybody is. Some venues and patrons simply do not respect basic human rights. Bigots abound and are seemingly tolerated by both patrons and facility staff.