Wednesday, March 26, 2008

James 20:10 Says I Just Killed Your Downtown

They'll have to modify the old slogan a little; for the sake of truth in advertising, the promotional materials should now read "Go Greyhound, and leave the driving to whatever idiot actually wants to get downtown".

Yes, as long rumoured, the downtown bus depot is making like the Pet Shop Boys and going west; come August 2009, commuters by bus will find themselves dropped off at the Winnipeg Airport -- fine, fine, the 'James Armstrong Richardson International' blah blah dick etcetera whatever -- and yet another expansive downtown building will sit empty and unused waiting for the UUniversity of Winnipeg to inevitably purchase it.

(Think I'm kidding about that last part? Hell, so did I! But that's what's actually going to happen, apparently, so heads up.)

So, to recap. The Greyhound Bus Depot is moving out of downtown at the earliest possible opportunity, taking up new residence at the Winnipeg Airport by the fall of 2009. Canada Post is moving out of downtown at the earliest possible opportunity, taking up new residence at the Winnipeg Airport by the end of 2010. McNally Robinson is moving out of downtown at the earliest possible opportunity, taking up new residence at... well, at Polo Park, actually, but that's definitely a lot closer to the airport than anywhere else they could have gone. At this rate somebody should probably go and inspect that new Manitoba Hydro building to make sure it doesn't have wheels underneath it, because the very real possibility exists that Manitoba Hydro intends to laugh heartily and drive it down to the airport once it's finally built.

It's a strange and unsettling local development, yes -- but what does it mean? Coincidentally, those are the exact same words I've used about another strange and unsettling local development:

"Specifically, I'm moving to Alberta. Get out of my way."

I'm sure you've all wondered as much as I have about these bizarre, cryptic and seemingly unnecessary James 2010 billboards; one day they all just sprouted up in various spots around town, offering no pertinent or relevant information except the word 'airport' and a web address with a date in it.

Why on earth does the airport need marketing? Did anybody think this through? What purpose is there to putting up advertisements when you're the only game in town? Is there a second, more international Winnipeg airport I was unaware of that is sucking away all the incoming passengers? And for that matter -- what incoming passengers? Why would you advertise the city's only airport to a city full of people that would only be using the airport to leave the city? And why in the curly-fried hell would you try to create a buzz and build a brand around the city's only airport as though it were a 'lifestyle' destination? An airport is not someplace people go to just to be there -- they go to the airport specifically to leave the airport, either because they're picking somebody up or because they're skipping town entirely.

Perhaps you can tell that I hadn't quite figured out the point of this recent promotional campaign. But now, I think I've got it; I think it's all starting to come together.

These are not advertisements -- they are warnings. These are sublimely veiled, covertly boastful harbingers of the downtown's oncoming death. 2010 won't mark a new airport for Winnipeg; by 2010, the airport is going to be Winnipeg.

Everything east of Polo Park or south of Assiniboine Park on the city map will be represented by red squiggles and the words 'HERE BE DRAGONS', with someone having later handwritten 'Thank God and Greyhound You're Gone' over the spot where the downtown core used to be. Take that, downtown!

What? Well, what did you think the billboards are for? Pfft, whatever, man. You know I'm right.


Shawn Swan said...

And soon before you know, the entirety of Downtown Winnipeg WILL be the UUniversity of Winnipeg.

(God I go there I feel ashamed..)

Kyra said...

You write very well.