Monday, October 17, 2011

"One Great City" (I Hate Winnipeg) - The Weakerthans

I'm proud to say I live in Winnipeg. I'm not from here originally, I voluntarily made the choice to move here.I have learned that Winnipeg is known for two main things;
Welcome Home Winnipeg Jets

1. Being ridiculously cold (Hence Winterpeg)
2.Losing the Winnipeg Jets.

Slowly but surely, people's perspective on Winnipeg is shifting.  Like "The Little Engine That Could", Winnipeg is quietly doing amazing things.  From our brand new airport, world class Polar Bear facility at Assiniboine Park, IKEA (oh yes), to the Museum for Human Rights. The entire world watched us this summer as after 14 years we welcomed home our beloved Winnipeg Jets. But Winnipeg doesn't really talk about the great things that we're doing, and that - is what many say to be our biggest fault.

Canadian Museum for Human Rights
Winnipeg is like the underdog  that was picked on in High School. We were told we weren't good enough, that we could never be successful.  Sometimes the challenge to prove people wrong is all it takes to persevere.  They told us we'd never get the Jets back, that Winnipeg, our arena , and our ticket sales potential were too small.  The entire 2011-2012 season of NHL tickets sold out. In 17 minutes ! While there may be things that Winnipeg doesn't have, there is one very important thing that we do have,  community.

I've heard the expression that it's not ideal to "live in Winnipeg", but it's a great thing to be "from Winnipeg".  Good people come from Winnipeg. Our license plates say "Friendly Manitoba", come on now. We can't make that shit up.  We have lakes, beaches and endless sky. We don't have smog, traffic jams or concrete jungles. No matter where in the world "Peggers" end up, they'll always call Winnipeg home.

Homegrown Winnipeg Boys - The Weakerthans
At first listen "One Great City", seems to be about, well - hating Winnipeg, but in all actuality it's a tribute, to the hometown of The Weakerthans.  While the song speaks specifically about the Peg, it's an ode to everyone's hometown and the love/hate relationship that they have with it.  In a blog my boss showed me, the headline is - Winnipeg Love Hate - "The most beautiful, most repulsive city in the world." Could not have said it better myself

Late afternoon, another day is nearly done
A darker grey is breaking through a lighter one
A thousand sharpened elbows in the underground
That hollow hurried sound, feet on polished floor
And in the dollar store, the clerk is closing up
And counting loonies trying not to say

I hate Winnipeg
[ Lyrics from: ]
The driver checks the mirror seven minutes late
The crowded riders' restlessness enunciates
The Guess Who sucked, the Jets were lousy anyway
The same route everyday
And in the turning lane
Someone's stalled again
He's talking to himself
And hears the price of gas repeat his phrase

I hate Winnipeg

And up above us all
Leaning into sky
Our golden business boy
Will watch the North End die
And sing, I love this town
Then let his arcing wrecking ball proclaim


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