This afternoon I spent the better part of an hour watching Tom Crighton and Tony Wade’s documentary, The Last Streetfighter: The History of the Georgia Straight. Released in 1997 (coinciding with their 30th anniversary), it’s something I feel everyone living in our city should watch. Sure you could spend the remainder of your Friday whizzing through blog posts here, or chasing video clips like THIS ONE down the rabbit hole of the internet but I really think you should spend some time with this one.
Not only will you see archival footage from the 1960’s to the 1990’s (the 1997 stuff filmed for it now feels like something from a museum), but you’ll get some serious insight into this now-institution in Vancouver which went from being a “hippy rag” to one of the most important papers in the country. Founder/owner Dan McLeod is featured throughout, as well as a great many people who were involved with the paper up until the late 90’s.
In it you’ll learn about how the paper used to have 700 street vendors selling it for 15 cents a pop. About past turmoil in the city as well as inner turmoil that took place during the formative years of the paper. About the day in the 80’s when they decided to make the paper free, and the time they decided (for a day) to become a daily as opposed to a weekly. You’ll learn about Greenpeace’s connection, the Gastown riot, the evolution of the direction of the paper and finally you’ll hear former mayor/premier Mike Harcourt happily swear a couple of times. In the end I hope that you’re left feeling the way that I am, and that is hopeful that somebody is working on a documentary to be released on the eve of the Georgia Straight‘s 50th anniversary that’s coming up in a few years.