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Vancouver isn’t, and never has been, a ‘no fun city,’ says local author

Last Updated Nov 28, 2019 at 10:20 am PST

Aaron Chapman, author of Vancouver After Dark: The Wild History of a City's Nightlife, narrates the history of Vancouver as seen through its nightlife. SOURCE: John Ackermann /NEWS 1130

This week on 1130 Bookshelf, NEWS 1130 speaks to Aaron Chapman about his new book

Chapman, is quick to dismiss any talk of Vancouver ever having been a "no fun city"

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – In Vancouver After Dark:  The Wild History of a City’s Nightlife, Aaron Chapman goes back to the very beginning.  

“Vancouver itself is, and always has been, very well-placed,” he points out, as Vancouver was, and still is, a city where many acts like to start their tours.

“This was sort of known as ‘tune-up city’ going back to like when the Marx Brothers used to bring a live show to the Orpheum Theatre,” he explains.  

“In particular, in the 1960s, places like the Cave and Isy’s Supper Club, Oil Can Harry’s, these were all places where some of the nightclub acts of the day would do their shows.”

Vancouver After Dark is Chapman’s fourth book. 

“Definitely the book has more in common with the books on The Penthouse and The Commodore that I’ve done. Those places are still standing, of course, but there’s a litany of clubs over the years that are gone and everybody has a favourite sort of nightspot that they used to go to that isn’t around anymore.”

For some, that may be places like Luvafair or Richard’s On Richards.  

LISTEN: Vancouver After Dark

However, Chapman is quick to dismiss any talk of Vancouver ever having been a “no fun city” or of the golden age of the city’s club scene truly being over.

“Everybody has their own concept of what the glory days were and the funny thing is, the glory days move with every generation,” he argues.  

“Now, there have been people who have wanted to shut down the party, but, at the same time, there were always a sort of a smarter, more clever class of people that managed to get around that.”

These days, while high land values make club space more scarce and the players more corporate, Chapman remains hopeful.  

“Will new clubs open?  I’m sure they will. Do you have to be smarter than ever to run that business?  You sure do.”

Richly illustrated and lovingly told, look for Vancouver After Dark:  The Wild History of a City’s Nightlife from Arsenal Pulp Press.

The book launch takes place at Central Studios on Seymour Street at 7:00 p.m. Thursday Nov. 28.