Sunday, 1 August 2010

I ... kind of like ... Winnipeg

I'm in Winnipeg on summer family business, packing and moving a whole lot of boxes. The city is by turns charming, ugly, friendly, sad. I'm always glad to come, and usually ready to go.

Winnipeg is an up-front city -- citizens talk to you, yell at each other, tell you how they feel. The irony here is mostly about how pathetic things are. The Winnipeg Arcades Project show I went to last night highlights, among other things, a plan to improve local area businesses by pitting police-trained uniformed volunteers like the guys in the picture against streeters. The theme -- Isn't this ridiculous! -- is clear but never stated. The subtext is sadness and anger. The show is part of a series of unorganized art projects, a different one every few hours in a downtown space. (Think June weddings, rolling out the brides and grooms every hour of the weekend.) The show before the Arcades Project was all about preserving things -- from fruit and veg to memories.

Overheard conversations can tell you a lot about a place.

She's not my sister. She's a shoplifter!

Get off me, Dad -- you're crushing my smokes!

Why would I go home with you, a******? I live with you.

No wonder John Sampson writes the refrain, I ... hate ... Winnipeg and calls the song "One Fine City." No wonder Guy Madden can't leave.


Marilyn said...

I've never been there, but I don't think I'll go now.

Richard Scrimger said...

It is one of the most referenced cities on The Simpsons. My personal favorite from the show is a city billboard: WELCOME TO WINNIPEG -- WE WERE BORN HERE, WHAT'S YOUR EXCUSE?

Anonymous said...

I overheard a woman comparing her femininity was like a train. Seriously!

I have dibs on writing that character sketch.

Maybe not.
I like the sounds of that preserving memories show though.


Marilyn said...

Just read "Me and Death". Started it last night and finished it this morning.... I loved it! What a great story
and characters that come alive. When that car scene was happening at the end, I was really on the edge of my seat. The story really moves along. An excellent book!

Richard Scrimger said...

Aww, my blushes.

Marilyn said...

The baby actually scared me.

helenchurch said...

Winnipeg...I spent a month there one weekend. It was so cold my snot froze. :-)