The Spectator Tribune has a nice bit of road-warrior angst from Matt Schellenberg of the Winnipeg band Royal Canoe. It’s got some nuggets of insight, from way hipster culture has become franchised to an acute understanding of the standard trajectory of cool:
Word gets around and people flock to see the real thing. First are the true artists, then the less artistic hipsters, then anyone ages 18 to 35 who knows who Arcade Fire is all the way until the invitation is open. This real thing becomes fetishized, and so goes the progression from Harvey Milk to your mom taking a picture of the Amoeba Music sign on Haight by the McDonald’s. Portlandia is my case in point.
But like the guy from Iowa who visits England and finds that everyone speaks with an accent, Schellenberg can’t quite think himself clear of the underlying dynamic. All those other cities might be caught up in the hamster wheel of cool-mainstream-nostalgic-camp, but not his hometown:
Which leads me to why Winnipeg is so great: it’s what everyone is searching for. A bunch of people holed up in their basements during godforsaken cold-as-hell winter making art no-one will ever see or hear. Throwing little art gallery parties that will never be immortalized in film, or have a $135 ticket. Spending your summer biking around with Ben Jones or listening to Smoky Tiger’s incoherent hobby genius.
This is the real shit. It’s a resource you are completely unaware of until you go somewhere else and get a bit of perspective. What’s so great is Winnipeg is too much of a shithole for it to ever be discovered or ironically enjoyed, and it’s all ours.