Tag Archives: Vancouver punk rock

Poetical Canuckian love letters, “Voracious”-new AURAL Heather & Vancouver’s female punk rockers


Lots of action on the HS Haley front! 2015 looks promising. Last summer poetry impresario and scholar Dave Eso contacted me regarding a Goose Lane Editions anthology of love letters by Canadian poets that he and Jeanette Lynes were co-editing called Where the Nights are Twice as Long. I was intrigued and he was interested in some Peter Trower letters that he’d found through his research. Dave asked if I had anything I’d like to contribute. My instinctive reaction was a resolute “No.” But as Pete’s friend and literary executor, I assisted for several months in procuring the Trower material. A peksy idea began to seep in; I do have amorous correspondence, stored away. I would have to read it again, in the process reliving the pain and heartache of John and mine’s implosion four years previous. Which I did. Naturally. ‘Cause I’m a sucker for romance, a glutton for punishment. I showed it Dave who was keen for it and here I sit six months later admiring this lush, hefty, gorgeous book.  “Here are odes and lyric ecstasies, tirades and tantrums, pastoral comforts and abject horrors – all delivered with the vibrancy, wit, and erudition of our finest poets. Under the covers of Where the Nights Are Twice As Long, David Eso and Jeanette Lynes collect letters and epistolary poems from more than 120 Canadian poets, including Pauline Johnson, Malcolm Lowry, Louis Riel, Alden Nowlan, Anne Szumigalski, Leonard Cohen, John Barton, Di Brandt, and many others, encompassing the breadth of this country’s English literary history.”  Kudos and congratulations Dave and Jeanette! I know how hard, and how long you’ve worked on this wondrous tome. Thrilled as I am to be included, I get squeamish at the thought of such intimacy on full display. But it will appeal to the voyeur I believe resides within us all.

Speaking of connections, I recently reconnected with a dear friend, one Mark Deutrom, musician/composer/producer extraordinaire. As Mark puts it: “I first knew Heather in what seems to be another life at this point – we were neighbors sharing some affinities in the existential miasma that was Hollywood at the dawn of Ronald Reagan’s so called “shining city on a hill”. Many years later, through the miracle of the Interweb, we are back in touch and have begun what will hopefully be the start of an adventure in the spoken word with accompanying soundtracks.” What I call AURAL Heather. Our first effort/collaboration is Voracious, written at the height of, and as a result of the mad affair depicted in the aforementioned anthology. I will select another poem in the next few weeks, record the voice-over, send it along to Mark, who happens to reside in Austin, Texas, and we will go from there. I’ll be doing a Twisted Poets reading in Vancouver Jan 29 which will help put me in the zone. I need to sing! Determined to incorporate some vocalizations into our next piece.


Last fall, in the midst of fervent Visible Verse Festival curating and preparations, a writer named Connie Kuhns got in touch regarding her article on Vancouver’s female punk rockers. I managed to answer her interview questions in time and it’s hot off the presses. “Geist 95 is on newsstands now! See the full Table of Contents and order this brand-new issue for only $6. Our loudest issue yet features punk, politics and feminism by Connie Kuhns; winners of the Tobacco Lit Writing Contest; David Albahari’s child-free neighbourhood; the Arctic photography of Bogdan Luca; Stephen Osborne on dog walking and story writing, and more!” The guitarist depicted on the cover in the foreground is Christine de Veber rippin’ it at one of our first Zellots shows at the Smilin’ Buddha, a couple of lifetimes ago.



From Dec 10, 2014: I’ve been moping since the news of another fallen punk rock comrade. Brian Goble, AKA Wimpy Roy, or Sunny Boy, of the Subhumans,  DOA and Rude Norton, died Sunday. Heart attack. Taken too soon at the age of 57. It’s so hard to reconcile the exuberance of our youth with the cold hard facts of life, the hardest, death. It comes for us all, a fact we can’t possibly comprehend when we’re kids brimming with piss and vinegar. Nor should we. A wonderful part of youth-ignorance of our impending demise-provides a liberty which empowers us to speak, sing, write. Kick ass. Take action. Realize ourselves. When I die, I’ll die knowing that we accomplished that much. Sang our songs, rallied against injustice. Lived and loved loudly, unabashedly.

There was a time when my fellow Zellots and I ran with the uber intelligent, talented, honourable and driven Brian, Subhumans and DOA, all of who profoundly influenced and inspired me. And made me smile. Laugh. I am so privileged to have known him. We all are. Wimpy in all his guises rocked Vancouver in the most visceral way. And I know many people are in pain over the loss. I so wish I could offer more than heartfelt condolences to his family. But, fuck death. Brian Goble and his legacy will live on. Onward and upwards, and “Death to the Sickoids!”

THE VIRGIN MARRIES DO MALIBU-“Town Slut’s Daughter” forthcoming novel excerpt

Heading to the studio, they wound their way along the curves of Pacific Coast Highway past sunning sea lions, surfers bobbing at Point Dume, shithawks—seagulls—bombing the pier. Fiona watched Dennis ogling a busty brunette astride a Palomino stallion bareback, galloping through roiling surf.
“You can see the gray whales during migration.” He told them smugglers used to run liquor, opium and Chinese labor through the area.
The studio sat under the lee of the mountains, a veritable citadel by the sea. The massive foyer, a circle of mahogany pillars, opened teepee-like, rays of sun warming the slate floor.
“Hey Virgins, it’s your first time!” joked Dennis. “In a studio.”
Producer Dan Foley ambled in, gently gruff in a RECOVERING CATHOLIC t-shirt, black jeans, lizard skin cowboy boots. He sat, Virgins arranging their bums on a bank of white couches.
“Okay, so what kind of a production values are you going for?” he asked, voice like sandpaper.
“Don’t you know?” Jackie clung to her guitar case.
“It’s your music. You tell me.”
Fiona knew. “Raw. Gritty.”
“Right,” said Rita. “And we want it tight.”
“Monster bass!” said Jackie. “I play bass like no one, melodically, but with a lot of guts.”
“Describe your sound. As a band I mean.”
Gawd. I wish we had a manager. “We sound like the Virgin Marries. Our drummer is a walking, talking, sonic boom. Our bass player is an original. Dolores plays her Les Paul like a band saw. It rips! We write excellent songs. The singer can actually sing. I have great stage presence too. We all do. Right, girls?” They nodded. “We’re talented. Fucking brilliant in fact.”
Dan feigned ducking, as if to avoid a blow. “Alright then. We have a band in the studio. Who’s responsible for the arrangements?”
Dolores groaned. “Arranging is for wimps. We don’t arrange our stuff.”
Rita brandished her drumsticks. “Yes we do! We don’t want a ton of effects, Linn drums, or a million overdubs.”
“No cowbells!” said Fiona. “I hate fucking cowbells. Let the farmers have ‘em.”
“Or synthesizers,” said Dolores.
“I hate saxophones almost as much as I hate cowbells. And flutes! I hate the flute. It reminds me of beatniks. And hippies.”
Dan stood at the window looking out over the mist-shrouded hills. “Okay, so you know what you don’t want. I will venture to say I think you need a clean sound. Organic. Unrestrained. Untainted.”
“Organic?” bleated Jackie.
“Yeah. Organic, as in authentic. Virginal. Pure. Virgin Marries, doing what comes natural.”
“Er, yeah, okay.” Jackie feigned gagging. “But we are not hippies!”

Pink Sombreros

The cowboy led his horse to water
The horse refused to drink
The cowboy roped a steer one day
The steer was full of sawdust
The cowboy saw a sign in the sky
Revolving neon stars

Dudes in white fringes live here now
Dudes in pink sombreros are here to stay

The cows are lowing, the myth is dying
This land can break my heart
I have no place to go
Beyond my wild whisky dreams

“How about piano?”
“Gimme a break! Do you want us to sound like the Eagles?”
Rita glared at Fiona. “We couldn’t sound like the Eagles if we tried!”
“It is a ballad,” said Dan.
“Yeah, it’s a ballad,” said Fiona, “but it’s a cowboy song. I hear guitars.”
“Guitar yes, of course, but this song, a wonderful song by the way, should be played on acoustic. Just the rhythm parts.”
“Acoustic!” yelped Dolores.
“Yes. Acoustic will make it a classic. Showcase the vocals. A little piano in the bridge.” Dan leveled his eyes at Fiona. “And another thing. Hit songs do not have minor chords.”
Let’s hit you. Fiona sighed.
“I thought you were tired of Continue reading


Yeah, I know Open Source Everything is too radical for the masses and will never manifest in my lifetime but I feel its rumblings. I can imagine that some day we will open source food, water, shelter, electricity, transportation, education, art, music. Love. More than feeling, I’ve been riding the rumblings ever since I ran away to join the punk rock circus. Busy playing music, we didn’t talk politics all the time but knew we were teetering upon the precipice of revolution. It fueled us. Fed us. And now, is a quantum leap or perhaps even a new paradigm upon us at last? Did our caterwauling lead to anything?

As we lament the glacial pace of change, it seems we can’t keep up as it pertains to media. The subject of vinyl arose this past week.  People’s feelings about vinyl reveal their feelings about change. Adapt or die, right? But, resourceful to the bone, we find ways to make the old new again. I kept my turntable but moved around so much it was impossible to hold onto all my records. I still mourn the loss of some LPs like deceased friends. Apparently, there is a resurgence in vinyl. Check out the Vinyl Engine. Our friends, the scintillating Petunia & the Vipers just released an album and I hear that young people are only interested in vinyl these days. They may acquire mp3s but when it comes to buying, crave cover album artwork and liner notes. Just like we did!

And then there’s video, which has evolved to the point of digital. I don’t regret the demise of tape, revel in the mobility of the camera, to the point of one-in-every-cell phone, hence the rise of citizen journalism, Arab Springs, etc.

The subject of videotape and the schism between several old school punk rock camps roared to the fore recently when a Mongrelzine article quoted my Zellots band mate Christine deVeber as saying Continue reading

Why These Shoes Matter More than an MFA

I’m paraphrasing; read an interesting book review of British sociologist Katherine Hakim’s Honey Money: The Power of Erotic Capital, which argues that “erotic capital can be as professionally useful as a university degree,” and that, “women have been conditioned not to exploit their attractiveness for economic benefit.” I didn’t agree with her entire hypothesis but certainly she makes valid points. “Hakim claims heterosexual women’s erotic capital and fertility— their greatest trump cards—have been systematically undervalued and suppressed by religious fundamentalists, the patriarchy and even radical feminists who want to restrict women’s ability to benefit from their one major advantage over men, and to humiliate women who gain money or status though such activities.” Well, growing up, I was always uncomfortable with my sexuality and certainly didn’t feel at liberty to exploit it. I covered up, equating sexy with sleazy. I was actually loath to admit that I was afraid of men, their oh so keen response to my body nothing but overwhelming. I still don’t believe that being desired makes one powerful, not in and of itself, but as a happily lapsed Catholic, I’m able to revel in my body, mainly grateful it works, and do not hesitate to flaunt.

On the novel front, I’m working hard on a proposal, completed a synopsis and now must compose a scintillating query letter in order to avoid the dreaded slush pile. Feeling very good about this book, vital because I’m acting as my own agent. Apparently there are no agents in Canada worth pursuing. With a large part of the story set in United States, I suppose I could look down there, but the head reels at the thought, so I’ll focus my efforts north of the border for now, though I did contact several American colleagues to receive some promising leads. I’m very grateful for the help and guidance of friends Dennis E. Bolen, Gretl Rassmussen, Peter Trower, Julie Vik and Jenn Farrell.

So here’s the synopsis. Please don’t ask if it’s autobiographical. I feel much the way Beauty and Pity author Kevin Chong does. “You’d have to be an intellectual dwarf from Cloverdale to make that assumption.” My protagonist Fiona is not me and I am not Fiona. And though I may be a Surrey girl, I have a high IQ and stand 6 foot in heels.

The Town Slut’s Daughter


The Siren of Howe Sound, AKA Canadian poet Heather Haley’s debut novel, The Town’s Slut’s Daughter, is a tale of loss and transcendence, peopled with unforgettable characters. Fiona Larochelle’s journey unfolds in three sections with a mix of fact, fiction and startling events.

In part one, Girls With Guitars, Fiona flees a tortured relationship with mother Jeanette, and a harrowing home life of terror and physical abuse only to land in Vancouver’s violently blazing punk rock underground. Music provides a catalyst however; Fiona mines a talent for singing and songwriting to form an all-girl band, the Virgin Marries.

In part two, Girl With Guitar, Fiona is stranded in the United States after her bassist ODs and the Virgin Marrries scatter. Fiona is forced to navigate a minefield of vice, drug abuse, jealous lovers and predatory record producers as she works to rebuild her dream.

In part three, Girl with Ratty Hair, Fiona struggles to retain her voice while indulging in an obsession with cruel, dangerous men. She discovers that peace of mind is not possible with the volume cranked to ten. Rage may have facilitated Fiona’s quest in the beginning but it cannot deliver her. Amidst the tumult of the LA Riots, Fiona bolts her cocaine-fueled marriage to a modern-day Bluebeard. Throughout it all, a fierce, indomitable spirit prevails.

Bad girls flip the the bird at grease balls

And Jesus loves them. I haven’t been blogging. I haven’t been journaling. I’m pissed off. I have been sick. Sick and tired, of the rain and cold. It’s going to be one of those non-summers we British Columbians suffer now and then. Fuck it. I’m turning this year around. 2011 is the year  I complete my novel. Despite everything. Everyone. I have been caught up in the daunting task of cutting and revising, 150 pages slashed; didn’t think I could do it, so glad I did. When that’s complete I’ll restructure if need be. Here’s a segment of The Town Slut’s Daughter, partially set in Vancouver’s punk rock scene. You’ll have to excuse the wacky formatting, WordPress sucks. I’m afraid there’s no excuse for lapsed Catholic protagonist Fiona Larouchelle. She is not a nice girl.

“Look who’s on TV!” Rita pointed to Joey Shithead on The Vancouver Show with Pia Shandel.
“Ha!” hooted Fiona. “She looks like a Pia Shandel.”
Joey handled bubbly Pia with aplomb. Fiona threw down three tickets to the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre emblazoned with Hit Someone You Love.
“Great!” said Rita. “What’s with all the misogyny? I thought the scene was so equalitarian.” Rita grabbed the kettle, turned on the tap. “Well, I suppose it is if you happen to be young, white and male.”
“Maybe we shouldn’t go.”
“Maybe we shouldn’t. Who is Transformer Productions, anyway?”
“I don’t know. Never heard of them. But it’s a great bill! Rabid, Pointed Sticks, SubHumans, K-Tels.” Angus was a hero for digging up a new venue, O’Hara’s, a derelict nightclub on the pier at the foot of Main. Her father remembered it from when he was a young buck roaming the streets. “I wanna go. We gotta see the K-Tels.”
“Okay. We’re doing our bit to fight sexism, right? We play electric guitars!”

The next night Fiona, Shannon and Rita drove down to the show, a near riot on by the time they arrived.
BAM!     THUD!     WHAM!
“Hey,” said Fiona, “it’s like Batman.”
Entering cautiously, they noticed a riser to their right and looked up into the scowling faces of thirty or so longhaired bikers and fat, bearded yahoos greeting them with upraised chairs and benches. A table whizzed past their heads, crashing against the wall, but when the girls advanced, like a sea parting, the bikers moved aside to let them pass.
“I guess we don’t pose a threat,” said Fiona, “or maybe they’re sparing the girls.”
Shannon laughed. “As if they have policy.”
They found the K-Tels soldiering through Automan, bassist Jim Bescott and green-haired Art so on the beam, they deftly dodged an assortment of projectiles. Fuming, Rita sidled up to a big greaser just as he was about to launch a Labatt’s can and grabbed him by the arm.
“Hey asshole! Those are my friends.”
He nearly choked on his tongue. Rita stood guard until the frustrated hit man left.
Like hyenas tracking a herd of wildebeest, their tormenters plucked the youngest, sickest, stupidest kids from the crowd, methodically pummeling all attitude out of them. The Bowery Boys were on rodeo clown duty, goading the creeps, pulling them off their friends, getting in a few punches of their own.
“This is nuts!” shouted Fiona. She waved at Oona and Spooner across the room. They dashed over. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah,” sputtered Oona. “What the fuck is going on?”
“I dunno, it’s bizarre,” said Spooner, glancing nervously about the room, “every biker and grease-ball in the Lower Mainland must be here. I heard they’re even coming up from Bellingham.”
Is a mob the sum of its parts? Fiona could see no eye contact, with each other or their prey. No motive, no reason. No head. No heart.
Shannon surveyed the pandemonium. “Well, if this is Valentine’s Day, it must be hell.”
“Where’s security?”
“Maybe this is security,” Rita said grimly. “I’m having visions of Altamont.”
They exited at the first opportunity. Fiona saw Dennis wrestling a Continue reading

Announcing the SEE THE VOICE @ Vancouver International Poetry Festival program!

Mostly chronological, from 1999-2010. The order might change a bit, but probably not.


Bubblegum Alley                        Zaffi Gousopoulos

That Which Takes Flight Laurel Ann Bogen/Doug Knott

Airplane Paula Sheri-D Wilson

Chinese Cucumbers Patricia Smith/Kurt Heintz

Alphabet City Adeenda Karasick

Sturgeon Song Alice Tepexquintle

Hundred Block Rock Bud Osborn/Dave Lester

Hopscotch Tom Konyves

Sista Someone Seth Adrian Harris

Kingsway Michael Turner

Cocteau Cento Dan Boord/Luis Vadlovino

Memory Block Hari Alluri

Lost In The Library George Bowering

Almost Forgot my Bones Tanya Evanson/Katrin Bowen

Spinsters Hanging In Trees Sheri-D Wilson

Missed Aches Joanna Priestley/Taylor Mali

Enter the Chrysanthemum Fiona Lam

Car Wash Leanne Averbach

What Did You Do Boy? Janet Rogers

Vita Means Life Gabrielle Everall

Psychic Defense Training

for Ex-Lovers Doug Knott

To Erzulie Lennelle M. Moise/Mara Alper

Buffalo Roaming Kirk Miles

Candle Dance,

The Crossroads David Bengtson/Mike Hazard

Intersecting Circles Moe Clark

Financially Strapped Katrin Bowen

Purple Lipstick Heather Haley/Alexandra Oliver

Being An Artist Ellyn Maybe

Turtleheart Susan Cormier

The Bather David Bateman

Dirty Bomb Mac Dunlop

Beware Of Dog Tom Konyves

Cellophane Girl Alain Delannoy/Pamela Mansbridge

The Knotting of Rope,The Mechanics of Plastic,

The Right To Remain Francesco Levato

Deersigns Taien Ng-Chan

The Book Of Green Gerard Wozek/Mary Russell

How To Remain AURAL Heather

Retro disk chunter Stuart Pound

Hangover City-Fractured Old School-Shmorgs guitarist Peter Draper

The party’s over. Here we sit, post-Olympics, talk of legacy raging as the provincial government returns to the capital for further belt tightening, dickering with The Budget. It was a glorious party and I, to my surprise, swept up. Well, I had to watch the hockey, it’s in my DNA, being a Béliveau.  I do regret missing the revelry downtown after the Team Canada victory last night. It was an incredible game, with an astonishing sudden death goal by the Kid, Sidney Crosby, decidedly a once-in-a-lifetime event. No next time. Boo hoo. I once passed up a free ticket to see Nirvana, to attend the premiere of Tombstone. Gawd. How can I admit such a thing? My only excuse, I’m a serious film buff and by that point, had witnessed enough wasted, wailing rockers for two lifetimes.  “A film is never really good unless the camera is an eye in the head of a poet.” – Orson Welles. Hmm, I can’t remember who directed Tombstone, and see, I’m not even going to bother to Google it, but he, or she, was no poet. Oh, I have another excuse for screwing up; I just remembered I was pregnant, hormone-addled. I mean, more than usual.

Some people are smugly saying things like oh where are those pesky protesters now? Well, when I was at W2 for the Real Vancouver Writers Series last week we walked by the Continue reading

Finally had a chance to complete Scott Beadle’s punk rock questionaire

Here I am bestowing Yoko Ono with a birthday gift. Only on Facebook!

I’m going to try very hard to write more, to get out of my own way. I’ve decided to put my novel, The Town Slut’s Daughter, back on the back burner for a while. I’m frazzled enough with poetry and performance and need to focus on those projects, my book of verse, Window Seat, and AURAL Heather, our first gig coming up in April. I can’t do all of it well and the pressure is too much.

There is much activity on the domestic front as well, with my son’s puberty and puberty fallout. His allergies have peaked it seems, gotten bad, manifesting in a chronic runny nose and cough. We are taking him to an allergist and now trying naturopathy.

Enjoyed a pleasant birthday celebration last Saturday with friends and family, went out for dinner at Blue Eyed Marys. Another Piscean in the restaurant was celebrating too and a local comedian came in on stilts and a fat suit to sing Happy Birthday. Made for a memorable evening.

Had a power outage that Monday which threw me off kilter but then rehearsed with Roderick. We are arranging a new poem/song and have a lot of work to do but it’s exciting, gearing up for our first shows.

I finally managed to complete this questionnaire Vancouver punk rock chronicler Scott Beadle sent to me months ago. Scott is compiling interviews for his upcoming book.

Questionnaire for Ms Haley for Scott Beadle’s ongoing Vancouver Punk History Project: (See my Facebook page for more details.)

Where were you born?

Matapedia, Quebec

Where were you raised?

Winnipeg and environs, then Salmo in the Kootenays and Cloverdale, BC.

What were your parents’ jobs, during this period?

My dad was a jack-of-all-trades, usually employed as a welder or carpenter. He was a very skilled artisan and used to sell wood carvings while in the RCAF, stationed in the Yukon. My mother always worked, usually as a waitress or a cook.

What was the highest level of your parents’ education?

My father only reached Grade 11 and my mother was apparently forced to quit at age twelve. Her father had perished as a prisoner of war in Hong Kong and her mother was dying of cancer. She stayed home to take care of her four younger siblings and ailing mother.

Where did you attend high school, and did you graduate?

I graduated from Lord Tweedsmuir in Surrey.

Did you have any post-secondary education? Did you get a degree?

Two years post-secondary. I studied music at Grant McEwen in Edmonton, then moved to Victoria and attended Camosun College. I never did transfer to university. My family couldn’t afford to send me and by that point I was wrapped up in the music scene, playing and touring.

When did you leave home?

I first left at age sixteen but moved back in about a year later, then permanently after high school.

Where did you live?

I lived in Alberta for a while with my boyfriend, then we moved to Victoria, then I came to Vancouver.

What were your major pre-punk musical influences/interests?

I grew up listening to my mother’s favourite country music; Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Hank Williams. I didn’t appreciate it then but now love it as much as she ever did. I sang folk songs, in school and in church, the choir it’s only attraction. I would get very excited donning our robes and making our entrance, usually drifting of to sleep during mass.

I loved the Beatles when I was a kid. I used to hang out at my friend Nancy’s house where we often snuck into her big brother’s room to listen to his records. He always knew and always blew his stack at us. The two of us would covertly take the bus into Winnipeg whenever a new Beatles movie came out and would have been in dire need of Help if we’d ever been found out. The first album I purchased was Jimi Hendrix’s Are You Experienced? I remember running into the popular girls from school at K-Mart. They wanted to know what I had bought. I reluctantly showed them and their response was, “Jimi who?” Then they thought I was really weird.

Poetry affected me very much. In high school I started reading contemporary verse due a forward-thinking English teacher who deviated from the curriculum and had us reading bp nichol, ee cummings and Susan Musgrave. That’s when I started writing in earnest.

When and how did you first hear punk rock or new wave music?

I had moved to Vancouver after breaking up with my boyfriend. My best friend Cathy Cleghorn took me to see—and most definitely hear—DOA at the Windmill. It was a shock though I assimilated it all very quickly. I was ripe for change. Many of our Surrey cohorts were in bands; Jim Cummins, Bill Scherk, John Armstrong, Gord Nicholl and Art Bergmann, whom I had gone to school with in Cloverdale. My boyfriend, Peter Draper, had played guitar in Art’s first real band, the Shmorgs and the three of us roomed together. Continue reading