‘Subject: Help me contact JohnFlashGordon’
This was what Flash was greeted with this when he opened his Hotmail account. The Cannabis Culture.com web master had forwarded an urgent plea: “Hi, The e-mail address on your site won’t accept my e-mail message to you ( bounces them back to me as undeliverable. ) I am trying to reach Flash Gordon. Tiger says he and I have a common mission. I am a journalist and fellow activist. We need to talk. please respond, Diane.”
Tiger and Ice were the newly married Canadian Gay couple that had thrown themselves into the fray, for little pay, behind the counter at Da kine and rolled furiously in the back room as well. All working around them were being picked up and arrested including their Boss Carol and Don Briere and most who had joined the fight. Bravely they had soldiered on taking the onslaught of media, police and 15,000 visitors unafraid for their Liberty or Safety.
Dianne, aka X-Head, said she wanted to interview Flash Gordon in regards to her ‘Queer Hero’ column. These two queer Heroes Tiger and Ice, were telling Dianne Flash was THEIR queer hero?
“All I told her was that she should talk to you, Flash, as you had similar ideas to her about the Uniting of the gay and weed communities,” Tiger had begged off.
Flash chose to meet her at the neutral ground of Bubble Man’s Melting Point Gallery, with its high priced glass on display in cases. A place where whether you sample your own personal strains in the vaporisors or just sit have fully vegan raw fruit smoothies or something more exotic, it’s still a place you could even take your grandmother and she will think it kewl.
Flash had to decide within two minutes what taking on the mantle of ‘Queer Hero’ was something he was qualified for, if only for two weeks, in B.C.’s largest professional Gay and Lesbian Newspaper ( x-tra.ca ) with circulation of 30,000. “Well.. I’m Bi-curious… i guess,” Flash told her struggling to find a Label to cover having been sexually abused by priests in destructive relationships in his youth and young adulthood in addition to ‘willing Saturday night fever participant’ during the disco years, passing like ships in the night with people whose names and faces are long forgotten.
How would he categorize the ‘the older woman’ that had treated him like a spoiled brat and almost conceived his twins but for a miscarriage? How about his crush on Sven Robinson in 86? Or on Lisa the escort who snubbed him. He had been active in the Langley gay group too and fund raised for the early beginnings of the 1990 gay games. Or the good woman he was married to not long ago? “Bi-Curious and Versatile,” he said finally… “But, most Bi-Curious are usually a little curious about men. I’m a little curious about Women… I don’t Have to be Curious about men,” he chuckled. “Really though,” he continued. “I’ve come to conclude that what Heteros or others do in bed isn’t all the hell that much different anyway from what gays do. ‘Queer’ covers anyone and everyone in the ball park. I guess after all, like my father might say, “I’m as Queer as a Three Dollar bill!”
They went on to find more in common. Both she and Flash’s family had come from isolated Timmins, Ontario and both believed there were parallels between the ‘Queer Nation’ and the way they have had to fight ridicule, stigma and Very Real Persecution with inherent Violence from both Police and Public and what ‘Pot People’ face. Flash talked of how the cannabis community owed a debt of gratitude to the gay community for introducing the medical uses of marijuana during the AIDS crisis in their communities like San Francisco. How much do we owe to Grandma Mary who brought cookies to the sick in palliative care? Or the early med clubs? Queers, she noted, had faced similar persecution to us. Their meeting places and bars raided just like Da kine, David Levine’s harm reduction club and Hemp BC. They have been forced to riot against police like in the famous Stonewall riot. No three gays before were allowed to be in any one bar!
We too here in Vancouver had to escape the billy clubs of police in the gastown police riot exposing their brutality, and the idiocy of then mayor Tom Campbell, to win what small liberties we have now on the block downtown.
Another cause that both communities share, it worked out, was rights over our own body, including what we put into it or how we wish to express our sexuality.
After three hours from 7 pm till 9 pm, several vapor tokes for Flash and a refill or two at Joe’s cafe, Dianne’s tape recorder gave out. In fact she had enough material for not one but two articles from her fact finding mission and could google whatever else she needed.
Flash also emailed her his ‘Speech to the Mental Health Workers,’ ( tinyurl.com/66ww6 ) and the Vancouver Courier article, ‘The Weed Creed,’ ( www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v01/n700/a08.html ) and his Bio from BC Marijuana Party page; ( www.bcmarijuanaparty.ca/c_john_gordon.htm ) and Bio of an activist ( www.cannabisculture.com/articles/3529.html )
Flash found X-Head to be a solid, zealously dedicated individual to civil liberties and ending the evils of prohibition he would personally endorse and recommend her as a friend and fellow warrior. “‘The ‘Stonewall’ of the pot movement,” ( www.xtra.ca/site/toronto2/archvx/body648.shtm ) her first work Was a masterpiece! Convincing the reader it really is time for the Queer Nation to come out of their green closets as well; tell their Dr’s ‘it helps’ and aging parents to ‘try it;’ their kids, nieces and nephews its a safer alternative to the Meth epidemic and Hard Drugs; and to get it from them not the school yard dealers.
Dianne asked him to go in for a photo with whichever photographer was on duty at the X-tra West office on Davie.
Flash thought to ‘dress the part’ and picked up a marijuana leaf patterned kerchief at the dollar store to wear around his neck like ‘Weird Gay Al’ and Stan’s gay dog on ‘South park.’ Flash also bought himself a fat bud of juicy fruit for a prop. Proudly he wore his Marc Emery T-shirt and a Rasta colored cap with a ‘Canadian’ emblem with red pot leaf in place of the maple.
After he received another urgent email, this time from the ‘politically correct,’ very, very gay Editor of the popular West End Mag:
“Subject: Emergency communication from X-tra West. My name is Gareth Kirkby and I’m the managing editor of X-tra West. We need to get a fresh photo of you (other than the one that Jacques took this week) for potential use on our cover. And we need to do it on Monday, pretty please. Please call our very skilled cover photographer Wendy D.
This time Flash’s ‘Free Marc’ shirt was in the wash and the photographer had said “wear green” so he slipped on his compassion club open hands T shirt, black hemp jeans, and an advanced nutrients hat worn backwards. He had to ‘front’ a large enough nugg for a prop this time.
Gareth was right. Wendy D was skilled, but what’s more, she was friendly and welcoming too. She was happy to add Flash to her award winning portfolio, sharing her studio and living space freely with Flash making him feel comfortable and allowing him to toke. She even ran down the hall in a fruitless search for rolling papers explaining: “After All it’s an Artist Building.” Best of all she made Flash laugh and giggle while she photographed him from atop a step and his eyes sparkle as he stepped gingerly on the fresh roll of background paper he was smudging up. Flash was comfortable enough to even remove his shirt in case they were looking for a ‘Freddie Mercury look.’ He’d brought along his glass bubbler and a new bowl from New Amsterdam Cafe to hold out towards the camera like a cloudy crystal ball.
Flash waited nervously the next week, telling few of his latest accomplishment. He was somewhat nervous as to what the reaction would be. He kept checking the X-tra West pink triangle press site to see if it was yet online.
The day it debuted Flash had slept through, having pushed his limits the night before with his writing and Internet surfing. That evening he attended his ‘Unity Housing Society Tenants Meeting’ but did not have time to pick up a copy, even for himself, to ‘Show and Tell.’ However, when he entered the meeting with his roommates, fashionably late as per usual, he was greeted by uproarious applause and congratulations. Teresa had picked up some copies on Commercial Drive and they had all passed it around the board table and most read it.
His mental health consumer peers were happy the housing society was mentioned in the article and surprisingly proud of their queer hero!
The cover was fantastic! Many thought Flash looked a mix of Charlie Chapman/Grocho Marx/Cheech Marin/Freddie Mercury/; or perhaps even Snoop Doggy Dog? Inside on page sixteen even Jacques’ photo had not gone to waste and although there was no mention of Marc Emery or his sites in the article, there, plain as day was “Free Marc Emery” emblazoned across Flash’s chest.
The next day Flash wandered into BCMP HQ intent on not making a big deal of the publication if no one had seen it already. To his surprise the bookshop girls were waving smiling and laughing cheering him in this time. The dude who works behind the counter as well called out “Congratulations on the picture!” There on the counter along the book shelves was a stack of X-tra Wests. Flash’s smile was gleaming from its cover. Down stairs at Pot-TV studios Flash figured Chris Bennet and David Levine wouldn’t have seen it. (After all it isn’t one of their favorite magazines normally.)
But TreeFish who trotted in to the studio, to talk a kind of Greek techie talk with Ian, wanted to know what it was. He had overheard Michelle, Marc’s Executive Assistant, Congratulating Flash on it. “I’ll tell you later Tree,” Flash Mumbled into his chin while he keyed up his latest news and entertainment clips for New Hawks and availed himself of a toke of bubble from Chris’s antique ‘opium pipe like’ hash pipe.
“Oh it’s just a magazine cover I’m on” he confided to TreeFish. “What magazine? X-tra west? What’s that?” Treefish’s curiosity couldn’t be quenched.
“There’s some over here!” Chris interrupted. “…by the couch. Hey congratulations Flash good article. That’s the lady who did the ‘green closet one too eh? she’s good,” Chris continued. David Levine cheered Flash too and Ian gave him a happy Nod. Even Gary, the BCMP artist, insisted on an autographed copy.
Seemed everyone had seen it! MJ Man got a copy from the bookstore girls and Flash noticed the pile of Xtra West’s at BCMP HQ had dwindled when usually they are there all month so he popped over to Waterfront Station and brought back 25 more while walking on clouds.
When Flash went next door to BCMP HQ to the New Amsterdam Cafe for his regular coffee all the staff were smiling brightly at him like a chorus of Cheshire cats. There, again they laughed and cheered and charging him a buck less for coffee. Flash met with no resistance as well in the smoking room, which is in use until 6 pm when smoking bylaw inspectors go home for the day. Even young straight guys in their early twenties thought the cover photo ” Kewl” and agreed with the sentiments in the article some saying themselves the activists of the gay movement and pot people were a natural mix both aligned as we are against the fundamentalist Right.
Buoyed by the positive response, Flash took more copies on the Skytrain to Commercial Drive. At the compassion club they too had already heard of the article but welcomed more copies. He autographed one to give Hilary and the staff to thank them too. At Grassroots hemp and Drums Blair, who has just sent his canna-business calendar to the printers, too thought the pictures excellent and saved a copy to read and asked for more for customers.
Flash left copies in all the trendy cafes like deux soleils and drooped a copy off to his favorite printer at Gramma printing.
Further up Commercial Drive, past Joe’s cafe he went into The Melting Point Gallery and this is where he received the most enthusiastic reception of all!
Bryon had already read it. Everyone had in fact. The copy was on the counter and they were passing it around. Flash pulled out his humble baggy out to try a bowl in the vaporisor. A young skin headed dude in his early 20’s eyes grew large when he saw Flash’s snoop dog pose on the X-tra West mag. “YOU must have the Best Pot” he gathered. Flash let him sniff his few nuggs of fresh ‘Juicy Fruit.’ “He DOES have the Best Pot!” the youth exclaimed passing the open baggy to his buddy for a sniff.
Flash loaded one bowl but he must have had five, six or 7. The plastic volcano bags just kept refilling and refilling as everyone who came in wanted to share some hits with the neo-famous Flash. He autographed a copy for Bubbleman and the staff and thanked them for the inspiration, as he did for Ken Hayes and his staff at the spirit within Entheobotanical smart shop up the street where he was equally warmly received by Sparky and the others including young Justin and Kyle.
Somehow it really affirmed him and he could finally recognize his life’s accomplishments as part of a continuum and not an abandonment of his gay sub-cultural roots. Not the cover of the Rolling Stone exactly, but he was definitely sending ‘five copies to his Mother.’
“The cherry on the sundae though for him was next day when he was granted a moment to speak with his great friend, mentor and patron, ‘The Prince of Pot,’ Marc Emery after he’d dictated his blog over the phone at Pot-TV Studios. When Marc asked Flash, customarily “What he had been up to?” Flash was so glad to have so much to report and to know he had been fighting hard for liberty and freedom for all the whole length of the leaders wrongful imprisonment.
The ‘cat was away’ but the mice hadn’t been playing. In fact never before, even including the elections had he seen so much open debate and discussion generated in the media as with DaKine or the Cannabis Community more galvanized as they have been in support of Emery.
He told Emery he looked forward to his return as “all the spokes are in motion but were missing the hub of the wheel.”
Indeed Ken Hayes, Water Melon, Chris Bours, Philippe Lucus, Carol, Don Brier, Ted Smith, and many other activists are going to court these days and even Renee Boje and Baby Shiva Sun are in danger of being deported to the Draconian and barbaric United states to serve out 10 years of torture and sexual abuse in prison. Marc will at least be able to tell us soon who is going to court when so we can prepare and organize our defenses. Flash only hoped, his adopted ‘big Brother,’ Marc was PROUD of him too. One thing for sure SeaofGreen and his wife on the Island were proud. They had lost her brother to A.I.D.S. And has a sister who is a Lesbian had this to say:
i loved it. im proud of you.
hey show article to your daughter eh
and the stonewall one
i was just doing that
you are more important to me, then you ever think
imagine how many males you are touching out there
were all part of that story
it takes a lot for what you have done, let alone write about it, i hope the dominos, just keep flying. youve done so much for human rights, if ppl just did one per cent of what youve done, the world would change
and everyone would have a poster on there wall of the real flashgordon, (John)
you don’t think my head is big enough as it is? im walking on clouds
bon just told me to tell you, she is so proud to have gottin to know you she carries you very close to her heart. she loved the story. So if you have a swelled head, just remember all the ppl, familys, patients, you are touching. seriously, i wish bons brother had your guts, maybe today he still be here. you are carrying and exposing all his grief, and letting it out for so many others. ive allways said, there missing just who you are, but time does show just who you are
you havent had the silver platter, youve earn it
I am wonderfully received everywhere i go in “vansterdam” its wonderful
got to go smoke ryans pot…
yea, me too got to go shopping, just wanted to tell you my feelings about you
and let ya know we luv the flashmon
The traffic brought to the X-tra.CA site appears to have brought it down with too many hits. ( www.xtra.ca/site/toronto2/VXnews/body1.shtm ) The stories are republished in the following Cannabis Culture.com Thread: ( www.cannabisculture.com/forums/showthreaded.php?Cat=&Number=970113&page=0&view=collapsed&sb=5&o=&vc=1 ) where you are free to add your comments.