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Mind you, this is a guy who grew up on the steppes of Soviet Russia.
Closer to home, John K. Samson, the lead singer and songwriter of the Winnipeg band The Weakerthans, tells the story of a friend who came to the 'Peg for a battle of the bands competition. On the day he was to leave town, the guy ran into Randy Bachman of Winnipeg's The Guess Who—notable for their 1970 hit American Woman—in a hotel lobby. The conversation went like this:
Samson's buddy: "I've got six hours in town before my flight. What should I do?"
Bachman: "Go to the airport."
• It's too hateable.
"It's a punching bag," concedes Samson, a lifelong Winnipegger who points to the episode of The Simpsons in which Homer visits the Great White North to stock up on prescription medication. As he enters the city, he's greeted by a sign reading: NOW ENTERING WINNIPEG. WE WERE BORN HERE, WHAT'S YOUR EXCUSE?
Samson himself is partly responsible for perpetuating the less-than-flattering image of his hometown. His lovely ballad One Great City is probably the most famous tune written about the city. In it, several narrators take stock of their surroundings and come to the same conclusion: "I hate Winnipeg." The song serves as the theme song for the bittersweet HBO Canada series Less Than Kind, which has won the Canadian equivalent of the Emmy for best comedy the last three seasons. In one early scene a failed actor vents to his father about his frustration at leaving Hollywood to return to the place he was born: "Winnipeg sucks. It's so ugly, boring, flat, cold... . And the people in Winnipeg suck. Look at that guy. He sucks. He's Mr. Suck."
His father defends the city as best he can: "Winnipeg has the greatest [pause] parking!"
The irony is that parking your car in Winnipeg is a dicey proposition at best. It was the auto theft capital of Canada from 2003 to '09.
• And then there's perhaps the biggest argument against giving Winnipeggers a team: They had one once, and it didn't end well.