Barb Snelgrove is a radio presenter, inductee in the Canadian Queer Hall of Fame, and owner of megamouthmedia, a boutique media relations firm.
She is also a life-long Vancouverite, and has seen the queer scene shift and change since she first started going out as an underage teen.
We first caught up to talk about a bar called The Odyssey, but… well… surprise surprise… we ended up going a little off-piste.
But, don’t worry, cause it’s all still gold!
We talked all about the evolving Vancouver scene, our mixed feelings about hen parties in queer spaces, and Barb kindly informs me what a gurgle room is….
The venues we discuss in this episode are: The Odyssey, The Quadra, The Gandy Dancer, The Playpen Central, The Playpen South (which had a Gurgle room!), and The Shaggy Horse…
Barb Snelgrove 00:00
I still prefer to look at myself as a gay woman. I find that phrase makes me feel good. It makes me feel empowered lesbian doesn’t necessarily make me feel bad or or good. I’m also lesbian, you know, quite obviously. Last I looked in the mirror anyway, but, but gay woman is what I’m most comfortable with. And I guess ultimately, that’s what labels are, it’s what are you most comfortable with…
K Anderson 00:34
Hello, my name is K Anderson and you are listening to lost spaces, the podcast that mourns the death of queer nightlife. Every episode I talk to a different person about a venue from their past, the memories they created there and the people that they used to know. My guest on this week’s show is Barb Snelgrove, a radio presenter for Queer Radio Vancouver, and inductee in the Canadian Queer Hall of Fame, and the owner of megamouthmedia, a boutique media relations firm. She is also a life long Vancouverite. And I had to look that up because I thought it might be Vancouverian Vancouverion. But it’s not. It’s Vancouver-ite. And she has seen the queer scene shift and change since she first started going out as an underage team. We first caught up to talk about a gay bar called the Odyssey. But Surprise, surprise, we ended up veering wildly off topic and talked about a whole number of other things. But don’t worry, it’s all still gold. We talked all about the evolving Vancouver queer scene, our mixed feelings towards hen parties in queer spaces. And Barb kindly informs me what a gurgle room is.
Barb Snelgrove 02:29
It’s kind of contradictory in my head, depending on my mood, because, you know, we have been excluded for so long, that we need to be inclusive. And, and I have no problems with welcoming straight people into bars. I’ve brought them to queer bars myself. But you know, back then it’s a lot easier now. But I still think that the problem is a problem is that until such time as two gay men can go into a straight bar, and, you know, make out in the corner without the threat of violence or getting turfed out. How is that fair? You know, it’s like, queer bars as being places of sanctuary. And everything that we see as queer people every single day in billboards, radio, television magazines, everywhere you go, it is a straight world. And so you kind of just want to go to a bar to be around your own folks and peeps, and without having that shoved down your throat, which is kind of ironic, say, because that’s usually what they’re saying about us. Right? It’s like, Good lord. It’s like, I don’t care if they’re gay, but do they have to shove it down my throat?
K Anderson 03:44
Well, I think it’s the thing that is the problem for me in a duel is that it’s it is a bit like being treated like you’re the zoo. You’re the you’re the animal. Yeah. Yes. Safari, and that you’re there thrill for the evening going, yes, seeing you and your natural habitat. And that’s kind of where it gets a bit tricky for me.
Barb Snelgrove 04:02
Yeah. And I just, you know, again, it’s I fluctuate back and forth on it. I mean, I’m a firm believer that we do need to be inclusive. But having said that, I deal with so few queer spaces in Vancouver, for instance, back then there was more but with so few queer spaces, and what’s so many straight bars, you know, we can’t go to yours and feel safe and included a lot of the time. So you know, you’re coming to our bars or straight people coming to our bars or there’s that lineup I was referring to where there’s gay people standing outside waiting into get to get into one of the few spaces that they can be comfortable and enjoy and they’re having to wait in line because a bunch of straight girls are having a shower, you know, a bridal shower in the bar and whooping and hollering and and I go personally if you look at if there Again, this is I’m certainly not speaking about every heterosexual that goes to a gay bar to just do a blanket statement. And I have so many amazing heterosexual friends. I’m like, my best friend’s are straight. I like I like to call them user friendly.
Barb Snelgrove 05:23
know, a very user friendly, you know, his voice as well not as user friendly is that they’re their allies. And it’s never an issue and they aren’t with me, I you know, I go by head and heart. I don’t give a rat’s proverbial ass about what colour you are, what gender preference you have. You know, if if I love you and can trust you and there’s loyalty there and friendship and camaraderie, then I’m all for it. And and, you know, I’ll be the hypocrite not bring them to the bar. But when there’s two, straight couple in the corner, makin you know, he’s just gonna suck in each other’s faces off. And you can see it on some of the people that are there. And there may be people that that’s triggering for because they got fed bashed, you know, there’s just so it’s it’s it’s uh, gosh, it’s it’s a long conversation and again, it’s you know, I’m, I’m not for and I’m not against I just
K Anderson 06:21
Such a, like, quagmire. Yeah,
Barb Snelgrove 06:22
if there was the equalisation, you know, and if gay people didn’t have any problems going to straight bars was and feeling safe? I be I’d be less questioning in terms of it. Hmm.
K Anderson 06:36
Well, we haven’t solved that.
Barb Snelgrove 06:38
No, no, we never will. Because like, you know, again, it’s my, my rational, my rational self and my heart. And, you know, I have no problems with chat with shared spaces, as long as everybody is comfortable.
K Anderson 06:52
And I think that’s the thing that like, in cultivating a culture in a space, and in setting ground rules, and get having the expectation that everyone signs up to it. It’s so hard, because there’s so many, like, small ways that people can compromise that culture, and then it just becomes Yeah, it just becomes really tricky to call out.
Barb Snelgrove 07:15
It’s, it’s being respectful in an environment. Because again, when it comes to queer bars, the difference between a queer bar and a straight bar is that this is a community space, whether or not alcohol is involved. For so many years, it was the only space where we could gather and, and gather with again, you know, like minded individuals and, and have strength in numbers and shared experiences, some have wonderful, some is fun, some is happy, some is traumatic, but at least you can go to that safe space. And again, I can’t necessarily speak for the straight community that goes to bars, but you know, just your, your basic nightclub, I guess, is a better way of saying it because the bar can be a family based, you know, but a pub, but I don’t think bars, you know, or straight bars are safe spaces. You know, it’s like an LGBTQ bar is it’s not somewhere where they they need to go because they don’t have the opportunity. Because, you know, they’re the majority. Yeah, and, you know, and they’re and and they’re safe, just by the fact that they are quote unquote, normal, you know, and they don’t have the threat of violence. They don’t have the higher rates of suicide in youth and homelessness and with youth and, and the threat of violence or or, or murder you know, getting straight bars back unless it’s prohibition here straight bars never had police making raids, just because of the sexual preference of the patrons and so but so it’s just it’s, you know, to circle back it’s just be respectful and that I’ll say that to anyone, gay, straight, you know, bisexual, any anything on the whole spectrum.
K Anderson 09:13
Can we talk about then more about your experiences first going out onto the scene? Like there’s no way of saying this other than just just saying, Have you always been out?
Barb Snelgrove 09:24
The I was going to the bars, earmuffs, but I was going to the bars under age as as as many queer people did. And it got to the point with one of the early bars. I think I was ID by someone once and the doorman said, Oh, god, no, she’s been coming here. She’s of age. She’s been coming here for ages. And I was exceptionally blessed. And that the people that I was around at the time, and many of them were in their early 20s. And I was a teen and You know, a little later and we affectionately dubbed the number one party table. And the number one party table had a reserved table at one of the hot queer bars and to serve table Well, we put the the waiter who I cannot remember his real name, but he was affectionately known as Laverne. And we put the waiter through college in in Florida with the amount of tips so yeah, yeah, you know, it’s good to there’s because there was so many of us, and we were on mass and back, then you went out almost every night, you know, you have the stamina to do it, drinks were super cheap. And it was, you know, very similar to him say, is just a just a place to gather, you know, with ourselves. And it has such fond memories. It was an amazing space, there was the Playpen Central, which was you know, it’s sort of home and then there was the Playpen South that had the gurgle room. We won’t even go into that.
K Anderson 10:59
No, do go into that.
Barb Snelgrove 11:01
Yeah. And it was a men’s bar. And yes, I have. Yeah, I have the distinction of having been in there and in the gurgle room, and in the men’s baths, and in the Shaggy Horse, which was men only. So yeah. Sometimes just blindly, boldly bull in china shop.
K Anderson 11:23
What do you mean, just like walked in without being checked? Or? Well, I
Barb Snelgrove 11:27
did what was the at the bounds that was like, hey, you’re not allowed to go racing by trying to find my gay male friend who it was vastly time for him to go home. I remember once, running out of the central and going, you know, through the lane and across the street, because there was another gay bar, which is, as I mentioned, the Shaggy Horse and running in there to find someone. And the person who door was like women aren’t allowed in some way. Oh, it says it’s not a woman. It’s BB. She doesn’t count. So I got I had a lot more leeway than I think your your average woman did. There was a at 1.1 of the big bars in town, the Gandy Dancer, there was a problem with and this is not uncommon in gay bars back then. There was a problem there, all of a sudden, there was so many straight people there. You know, they was just, you know, it’s it starts and then it just, there’s more and more because so many straight women go there. So they don’t have to be don’t have guys pick them up or, or or bugging them. So for them, it was a safe space as well, you know, ironically, which kind of contradicts what we talked about a little earlier. But and then by that, that brings straight men. Yeah, looking for milkshakes. Right?
K Anderson 12:51
these these terms, milkshake, gurgle.
Barb Snelgrove 12:55
gurgle room is, you know, if you’re a gay man, you’re nodding your head up and down knowing exactly what I’m talking about. And milkshakes bring all the boys to the yard is that’s the reference. Yes, yes. And, and so and I’ve seen, you know, wonderful bars fall by the wayside. Because the the gays and I’m, you know, I’m just using that phrase, as opposed to, you know, to a lgbtqi plus would be like lemmings jumping off the cliff, you know, and you’d see really great bars, you know, fall by the wayside because all of a sudden, it became a straight bar. Because women wanted safe spaces, men follow, straight men follow them there. And the gay, or the queer people, for whatever reason, voted with their wallet, either just gave up and moved on, or God didn’t even try to keep it a safe space for themselves. But that’s
K Anderson 13:50
Yeah. And like that, I can understand how that would happen in a time when there were lots of different bars. And you could just be like, well, I just won’t go there anymore. But imagine being the owner and that happening to you and just being like, what the fuck am I going to do now?
Barb Snelgrove 14:04
Yeah, and I knew it. I knew a number. And I still do know a number of owners of bars in the city. And that was always know, the Gandy Dancer that we all had happened. And that’s where I got talking about this. It was one of the biggest gay bars in Vancouver. It was a magical place as well, it was so much fun. And that was that predates the Odyssey. But there ended up being so many straight women going there, which was bringing so many straight men, that the owners were really really concerned with it becoming a straight bar. So they had a limit on how many women were allowed to come into the bar. So there was 20.. my memories are always fuzzy, but I’m quite sure this was that there was 20 allowed in for a while. And you know if so, all these things straight women would go out earlier anyway, the gay people, we don’t even we’re not even getting dressed until it’s 11pm. Right. So, you know, the the gay women or the queer women or lesbians would be denied access because they didn’t get there in time for the 20. And I would go there and you know the guy at the doors and go to the doorman that I know they go Alright, cuz I remember one night specifically looked at me and he went, you’re a guy. Right? And I went absolutely. Okay. Yeah, let me in the door. Just don’t know. So, you know, it was a, it was a recipe that didn’t work. So that didn’t last for very long. Because for all the
K Anderson 15:41
It’s such a minefield if you’re the security guard, because it’s like,
Barb Snelgrove 15:50
do we have the Odyssey to, you know, there was the women were allowed to enter through the backdoor. That’s our about except for me, you know, and then there would be a couple of other and then there was the, you know, any other women that were family with would be able to come in through the back door. But yeah, you know, it’s, it’s because especially if you’re a queer bar owner, you know, and because there are go straight bar owners that have clear, you know, clear spaces about them, you put your personal finances, and your heart and soul and sweat equity into creating the space for for gay people. And through, you know, you want it to be successful. And be careful what you wish for, because simply by being successful, you know, that brings the straight women that are coming with, and usually it’s because, you know, they were invited by gay friends. Hmm. You know, so it’s, it’s kind of a dog chase tail, its own tail kind of a thing where, and so then again, you know, that brings other people to the bar that and all of a sudden they find themselves with an inordinate amount of, of straight people, which is necessarily a bad thing. I mean, this is just as we speak.
K Anderson 17:07
Just you and me here, you can see Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Barb Snelgrove 17:09
And everyone out there in podcast world. But, you know, I’m not Yeah, I’m not I’m not judging one way or the other that way, but this happens. And then all of a sudden, you’ve got a straight club. Yeah. And it still happens.
K Anderson 17:24
I have not experienced that myself. But like, that must just be so frustrating if you’re the owner, or if you’re Yeah, the one he’s cultivated this business, and then all of a sudden, it’s out of your control.
Barb Snelgrove 17:36
Yeah. And it’s and you’ve created a great place. And that’s the thing, it’s like, oh
K Anderson 17:40
my gosh, my bar is the success and then you become a victim of your success. That’s why I’m so interested in what, like, what makes these spaces special and and how you not only cultivate that, but maintain it. And I think probably maintaining is the the thing. That’s the trickiest, right?
Barb Snelgrove 17:58
Yeah, there have been there’s been queer spaces or bars and nightclubs, rather, in Vancouver, that have sort of ebb and flowed and gone away for a while and then came back, you know, as gay and then gone away, and, you know, came back
K Anderson 18:14
with between the bars stayed as it was, but the clientele shifted is that
Barb Snelgrove 18:20
the clientele shifted to you. And you’ve noticed it like, it’s, it’s the evil, it’s that Green Smoke that comes under the door? No, I’m kidding. It would be just you’d notice over a period of time, and I gosh, it it’s a fresh memory, because all of a sudden, you’d be looking out on the dance floor. You could see the looks on some of the queer people in here going. Are we in the minority here and are in a gay bar? It’s like, all of a sudden, you’re like, wow, you know, we had a Tuesday night special at one gay bar that everyone was so excited about. And this was a gay bar that had lost its originally intended audience, I guess is the best place to where you can put this and
K Anderson 19:05
did with straight.
Barb Snelgrove 19:10
Yeah, I’m trying to be delicate here without sounding like an asshole. No elitist snob. But, you know, so they had a like a really super cheap Tuesday night Drink, drink thing. And everyone was excited and everyone started going. And then same thing happened. And you’d be across the street, a neighbourhood queer pub. And there’ll be this lineup that was halfway down the block and they were all they’re all straight people and the word on the street is very, very quick. You know, it’s like, no, have you been taped? Yeah, this is full of straight people. And that’s not me. That’s, you know, people you just hear it when you’re talking within the community. Oh, yeah. It’s full straight people. And you know, it’s Yeah, so you’re you’re right. It must be very, very frustrating for as a queer person to create this space and spend all your money making it. And and it’s accessible and you’re excited and all of a sudden that starts to change.
K Anderson 20:08
Whilst this is in my head, I wanted to ask you about your use of terms to describe the community. And so at times, you’ve said queer at times, you’ve said gay, and you’ve talked about LGBTQIA plus deaded. editor, the alphabet that ever ever extending list Yeah. Which is not me saying I have a problem with that. Just, you know, I want the memo when a letter is added, and what’s your relationship with those words?
Barb Snelgrove 20:37
I came out, I said, gum, and came up but like, you know, in the bars and in the community, young, back then men and women. And I can not go we have to be politically correct. So I guess we all gathered together, it wasn’t, it’s in Vancouver anyway. I mean, it was odd to go to other places. No, soon. It’s like, wow, this is just, you know, there was a lesbian bar here called and it was the one and only called the Quadra which was fabulous, and a safe space for women. But I was I was gay, everyone was gay. And then all of a sudden, one day, I was a lesbian. And I’m like, that sounds to me, like something on a petri dish that you’re looking for a mic? You know, and it was gays and lesbians. And I’m like, where did this start? How Why is it all of a sudden now broken down as gays unless we because we were all gay. We had a common bond as queer folk. And the bars were great, they were so mixed. And then slowly, you know, things started, you know, it, depending on the bar, like that was great about the Odyssey, it was mixed. But it was, so I don’t know, when it became gays and lesbians. And then it was, you know, LGBT. And then it was LGBTQ, and then it was LGBT, you know what I mean? And it’s, we’ve alphabetise, we’ve all alphabet people, it is ridiculous to try every single time to have to say, you know, 2SLGBTQIA plus,
K Anderson 22:12
as you say, so for anyone who doesn’t know two s’s Two Spirit, which is two spirit, right,
Barb Snelgrove 22:18
which is the indigenous it will anywhere where there’s indigenous peoples, you know, in North America, who have so much I bring so much to the table. But I, you know, I just at the beginning, I didn’t like the term queer, I got why we were starting to say it, it’s to reclaim it, and make it our own and take away that nasty connotation about it. And I use it now regularly, because it is so generic, you know, it’s like queer is now what gay was way back then. Because, and especially nowadays, if the spectrum is so broad, there’s so many people that don’t fit under the umbrella of saying they’re gay, and they’re not. And if you’re not comfortable, comfortable with something, call yourself, whatever you’re comfortable with call yourself a don’t gay, you know, I don’t care what it is as long as as many people as possible, feel included. But having said that, we’re starting to really label a lot. Now, I am a cis woman, you know, as opposed to a woman and you’re all women. Trans women are women, you know, but but it’s it’s really a lot of labelling.
Yeah, I do find it fascinating. Like when I was growing up, everyone was like, Oh, I’m not into labels. I just don’t want to label things. And potentially that’s because of like internalised homophobia, or queer phobia. And they just were like, I just don’t want to have to say it out loud. And that was the actual issue rather than the fact that I didn’t want to label things. But now it feels like everyone’s in such a hurry to label themselves.
Oh, yeah. Yeah, Sadly, sadly.
Well, is it is it sadly, though, I dunno?
Well, it’s just I’m thinking, sadly, in terms of labelling all the negative connotations that that brings up here, if you’re just helping people, because I do think in some ways, these some of these labels have introduced words and has made people curious. So they have looked up non binary, or gender fluid or transgender, where they might not have known, you know, in the, in the, in the greater populace, where they might not have known about about them and that that sexuality is so fluid and crosses so many, you know, different platforms and levels, you know, we as humans are, are a Wild Bunch in theirs, you know, you can’t label us and because you can’t label this, you kind of have to label us. Anyway, I mean, there’s, you know, that it’s a It’s an odd juxtaposition. But yeah, so way back when, you know, I was, I still prefer to look at myself as a gay woman, I find that phrase makes me feel good. It makes me feel empowered. Lesbian doesn’t necessarily make me feel bad or or good. I’m also lesbian, you know, quite obviously. Last I looked in the mirror anyway. But, but gay woman is what I’m most comfortable with. And I guess ultimately, that’s what labels are, is what are you most comfortable with? You know, and what makes you feel best? Yeah. But so so I change it up, you know, well, I’ll say LGBTQ plus, because that’s a bit shorter. And it’s, you know, but it’s also denying some, some people validation, right. All right, so I find your covers everything. You know,
I’m a middle child, I
Barb Snelgrove 26:02
don’t want anyone to feel. So I get to I try to sort of bridge you know, as many gaps as possible. So it’s interesting, though, that you would, you would have noticed that, and
K Anderson 26:16
yeah, and it’s maybe like, you know, I mean, we’re never going to get to a point where everyone agrees on everything, right. So like, yeah, there’s probably always gonna be some kind of residual knee jerk reaction that people have, because of that word. But the reason that I love it is because it is so inclusive, because it is like, Hey, we’re all like, we’re all in this together, and I’m not gonna accidentally leave you off this long acronym.
Barb Snelgrove 26:42
Yeah, it’s long. But that’s about it. Right? Um, it felt really weird. coming out of my mouth when I first started using it, because it’s very beginning and I’m, you know, old enough now to, to fully understand the violence that was behind that word way back when, and, you know, there are still, you know, elderly, white gay gentlemen, who don’t like it, probably because they had effing queer thrown at them, you know, with, with all the violence that that implies. But, you know, like anyone, the more you use the word, you know, the less it is, and that was as a community as a whole using queer you know, at the beginning, it was like it was those radicals in there that are using this and now it’s it’s just, it’s common, and and it’s it’s simpler. And I love how we own it. You know, we took that one back, but it was who does what’s going to come down the pike next,
K Anderson 27:51
right what what words should we reclaim next? rug muncher?
Barb Snelgrove 27:56
rug. much thought rug muncher is such a great job. No, no. Pirates. I mean, I’ve never heard fudge Packer.
K Anderson 28:11
Oh, yeah, fudge packer. I definitely know that.
Barb Snelgrove 28:12
Yeah. Oh, God. I you know, it’s funny because I haven’t thought of that. I used to be able to rip off about 20 of them like that. Some of them are. We’re a no a Oh, gosh. I can’t remember something cowboys. rectal Oh, rectal Rangers was a good friend directors.
K Anderson 28:31
I’ve got to write these. Bum bandits.
Barb Snelgrove 28:34
One. Bum bandits. Yeah. Bum bandits. Poo pirates. rectal Rangers.
K Anderson 28:42
It’s kind of fun. So weird, isn’t it like when people like try to weaponise something that is just like what you do? And you’re like, Yeah, Yeah, I do stick my dick in in an asshole. Yeah. And and the crowd. Sometimes it happens. Yeah, I have a fish farmer. Oh, but maybe we shouldn’t get into this. But how do you get a whole different book? How do you how do you feel about the term fish then when people say fishy?
Barb Snelgrove 29:14
Well, you know it just hit its unfavourably. Obviously, this wouldn’t be here. This phrase wouldn’t be here if there wasn’t some truth to it. And I know there’s probably some feminists that is just cringing at me saying this right now. You know, you should be standing up for us. But you know, it’s the same with saying cheese under foreskin kind of that that smell right you
K Anderson 29:37
know, so that it Yeah, that makes that is cheesy. Yeah. So you know, I can’t speak about fish.
Barb Snelgrove 29:43
I prefer to speak about hygiene. In 888 and cardas fishy is all about let’s just put it that way and I’m quite sure it ain’t as cheesy as all that from your side of the boy did this ask escalate quickly
K Anderson 30:02
asking very important questions here. That’s my job
Barb Snelgrove 30:07
asking for a friend. Because what is there’s a red snapper and loses to that? And it’s like,
K Anderson 30:12
oh my I’m learning so much from you today. Yeah, no.
Barb Snelgrove 30:16
Yeah, red snapper is with what’s goes way back. It’s like I’m here all week, try the red snapper. You know, it’s what was it that we were talking about earlier, I wanted to make a comment about, oh, the rainbow flag with the rainbow flag. You know, Gilbert Baker, who I had the opportunity to meet on a number of occasions. Oh, yeah, George’s company, he and I got along very, very well. We went on a boat cruise once where we bonded. But Gilbert, in creating the rainbow flag was very much the rainbow flag was to be inclusive. Each colour of the rainbow, you know, whether it’s the six of the eight or nine, depending on you know, who you’re talking with historically represented a feeling, you know, represented. You know, it was oranges, you know, oops, additives, but not specific to people or people’s colour. And now we have rainbow flags that are all over the place now. And that one, I was like, I don’t know, how did that happen? Because, again, going back to that labelling, in order to go, you’ll hear from certain segments of our community say, Well, I wasn’t represented at the flag. And I said, the whole point of how Gilbert made the flag was so that it was inclusive to absolutely everyone, you know, it wasn’t for, you know, white bears, or, you know, black queens or, you know, Asian twinks or whatever, you know, stereotypes you want to come up with. It was for everyone, you know, across the whole spectrum of the rainbow. And now they want to Well, I want it to be included. And so I’ve fought with it, you know, back and forth with within myself. I’m like, well, but you are included in that original design. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, it was specifically made in such a way so as to not imply colour, in terms of a skin colour. But having said that, if it makes who is going to hurt me, is it going to keep me up at night? If If a new flag is invented, or or things are added on to it to make someone feel more included? Yeah,
K Anderson 32:32
I will see I have a theory that it’s the flag industry that’s behind all of this. I just want to sell more flags every year. The conspiracy. Flag. Yeah, they’re like, oh, how can we increase our flag sales? I know what will tell them all that there’s a new flag design. Oh, God,
Barb Snelgrove 32:58
what a crazy bunch of humans we are right, regardless of what your preference? Yeah,
K Anderson 33:02
I mean, I think I think it’s a good point that you make though, I’m fascinated by the history of the flag. And like what this Okay, so I’ve got my information from Wikipedia and Wikipedia has been like has let me down in the past. So please tell me if I’m wrong. But so the original flag was nine stripes you got there was black in there a brown in there. And then because there was a shortage of the fabric of some colours, they were just like, oh, let’s just make it six.
Barb Snelgrove 33:35
The answers are just like, it’s not some big convoluted thing people you know, it’s no we’re not we’re not curing a disease. It literally is just, Hey, I asked my I asked my father, what’s his? Why did you name me Barbara, you know, expected a lovely story about he goes, it was one of the few names that really worked for Snelgrove that’s a little anti climatic. This romantic vision in my head of for Barbara came from, yeah, no, just because it worked. Just because it worked out great.
K Anderson 34:09
Something really reassuring and disappointing about parents who are solid and reliable, right.
Barb Snelgrove 34:18
I had wonderful, wonderful parents. I was very, very blessed and able to, to come out and in a very relaxed atmosphere. You know, and, and, and, of course, by that, and I’ve said this often in terms of speaking to LGBTQ advocacy and acceptance, is that, you know, it’s it is a baby step process. It’s not I know, we want it to happen overnight. But it isn’t going to, but it’s getting better every single generation and that because that generation that grew up with, you know, like my niece and nephew did in our household, seeing that. Not only did it not matter that I was gay, a gay woman. There we go. Well or lesbian or whatever you want to label me. But that we could laugh about it without even ever, you know that that pause of uncomfortability, it was just natural, because I was just another member of the family. So they see that when they’re growing up as children and little sponges, they’re going to grow up with a healthy understanding of and who gives a flying F, about what you know, who they sleep with in the bedroom. And, and then they’ll pass that to their kids, and so on and so on. So now we’re seeing generations, they’re, you know, saying their gender fluid and record numbers, you know, remarkable numbers that we’ve never seen before, because so you know, it’s happening. It’s happening slower than some.
K Anderson 35:44
So I wanted to ask, like, having grown up on the scene, and like, having experienced the scene for a number of years, like, what differences have you seen take place, and I know, you spoke earlier about it being far more integrated, when you first came out?
Barb Snelgrove 36:00
What else? Yes, it was far more integrated. And I think that is starting to come full circle. But in the end, again, I can only speak to Vancouver, because every city has, you know, its own particular quirks and good or bad that that make up. For instance, Vancouver is exceptionally multicultural. Just, it’s, it’s a, it’s an amazing blend. If we look at it in just from the positive side of things, it’s, um, it’s a wonderful, you know, I’m very, very blessed to live in a corner of the world where there are so many different types of people, you’re not asked to change. When you come here, you’re asked to bring the best of you and your cultures. And, and that makes for an incredible melting pot. And that plus more acceptance. I mean, we still, you know, I’m not saying it’s a beautiful world, Vancouver has had you as recently as a year ago, you know, attacks on queer people. But there are I’m seeing and more of a mix of queer and straight people. And again, we don’t even know after the last two years, but I’ve just been speaking to a couple. I mean, there are some bars that are very specifically queer, you know, the pump shack and things like that
K Anderson 37:24
in any way you carry, basically. Yeah, yeah. Anyway.
Barb Snelgrove 37:29
But there are more now I’ve seen like, more bars than nightclubs and I do believe that there is a difference. It’s like, it’s like pub bar, nightclub. What I mean,
K Anderson 37:41
so what’s the difference between a pub in a BA? Um,
Barb Snelgrove 37:46
it’s a good question. I don’t quite know because pub in, in where you’re from, right is, you know, it’s the local watering hole. And it’s around every corner practically. And here, we don’t have that. I wish we did cuz little neighbourhood ones are wonderful. I think a pub is more intimate than a bar. A pub, it closes at midnight, and a bar closes two or three. You know what I mean? There’s just fine differences. And so right now, I think we have more like the fountainhead pub. I’d call it a bar. You go into the bar. Yeah. Where are you going now? The Fountainhead? It also but it’s actually called The Fountainhead Paul. You know, we’re nerds here. But I do believe another nightclub is just like a big Yeah. Yeah. The circuit party in the
K Anderson 38:41
little whatever. Smoke machines? Yeah, yeah,
Barb Snelgrove 38:44
yeah. Lots of sweaty bodies on the dance floor and just open to God only knows what time. So we have lost a lot of those locally in Vancouver. And, you know, and totally for the past two years. And as we start to reopen somewhat, you know, the, the the local bars, you know, we could almost call pubs black bars are far more are far more prevalent. And, you know, far more prevalent, we also have a very thriving community of pop ups, I guess we would call them now, if these could be placed. And I mean, and I’ve seen that in numerous cities, San Francisco used to be famous for that, whether it be places where it’s like, okay, you know, you you come into an agreement with a with a bar or restaurant or just a space. Yeah. And, and make it a clear space, you know, and it’s, it’s reoccurring at that same location over a period of time. So, bars that want to keep the opportunity to have packed joints every night, you know, have women’s night or industry night or like, you know, stripper night or whatever in some some maybe straight events, some maybe queer events, but you know, There’s so here, it’s just because we have lost so many of our local watering holes over the years. It’s an expensive city to, to operate a bar. And it’s a very expensive city rents and leases. And liquor licencing has gotten a little bit better, but it’s certainly not just Vancouver that has issues with liquor licencing. So, you know, there was a while where you didn’t you couldn’t just open a bar, You almost had to buy a pre existing bar, the liquor licence. And the liquor licence was more valuable than the real estate. Yeah. So that I’m not up on my liquor licencing laws you didn’t prepare for this interview? Well, I know, right. But hey, we got half an hour back. I’m good about that one. But so you know, I, but I guess getting back to, you know, gosh, we really do go on these long winded tangents, though. But I guess getting back to it is, I find that there are more strict people in the bar. And I’m going to be contradictory to what you’re talking about. But that’s not a bad thing. It means that there is that acceptance from both sides. Right. In some of these bars, it’s like you come in and it’s a hodgepodge. It’s a mix. Maybe it’s because then speaking, just the Davie village section, you know that that queer community in Vancouver, there are others, but that one in particular, there’s so many bars all on one strip. And it is within the downtown core. And it’s close to a hospital and hotels, so you get people to just wander on the street. And oh, we see rainbow flags up all over the place, you know, and come into like the fountain head pop, and then we’ll come in for lunch. And everyone’s very welcoming. Everyone’s always like, well, you just walked into this. You have no idea. Honestly, elderly couple you have no idea. You just thought you’re coming in for a beef dip? Well, you are sure.
K Anderson 42:05
Glad you made that joke? Because I was scary.
Barb Snelgrove 42:07
Yeah, the red snapper. And, you know, so often they’ll look around and know the fine or it’s like, oh, dear, you know this, we’re not in Kansas? Well, actually, you are. Yeah, so you know, I don’t know if they’re ever evolving and, and quite frankly, and this is sort of sad. For me. Maybe it was inevitable, but the bars, you know, have seen less and less people going to them pre pandemic, because we have all of the the grinders and the tenders and, you know, whatever, all of these various dating sites that have come up that have, you know, started to see a decrease, we have more community centres, we have more alternative alternative queer spaces. But it was such a huge part of our history. And who we are, was our was an is our queer bars. You know, for some people, it was the only only release they had was the only safe space it was the only place they could be themselves. And I guess you know, now with with us having the success of in some areas being more widely accepted. That’s a wonderful thing. And mate, but I you know, it’s sad to see that era start to slip away. And there’s going to be generations that won’t know what you’re talking about. You know, that they’ll they’ll go to bars and will always be bars, but they won’t look at it the way you did, because it won’t need to be that sanctuary. And that is a good thing.
K Anderson 43:57
Do you have any memories from Vancouver clubbing or from your increasing that you want to share? Well, if you do, please get in touch. I want to create the biggest online record of people’s memories and stories. Go to law spaces podcast.com and find the section share a lost space and tell me everything that you would up to everything I want to know everything I promise. You can also find me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as lost spaces pod. And whilst you’re there, also make sure to follow Barb on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. She has the same handle at mega mouth media. Law spaces is not only a podcast, but a concept record as well. I have been writing songs about queer venues and the people who used to live their lives there and we’ll be releasing songs over the coming a year. You can hear the first single which is called well groomed boys and is also playing underneath Back to a game all right now on all good streaming platforms. If you liked this episode I would really appreciate if you subscribed, left a review on your podcast platform or just told people who you think might be interested in giving it a little listen to. I am K Anderson and you have been listening to lost spaces.