greetings comrades. i have been meaning to do this post for some time, but i have been putting it off because i didnt want to do it in a rush. however, the recent comment from rosie dimanno of the toronto star (whose articles i quite enjoy) that hamilton is a 'dump' has forced my hand. also, allow me to preface what i am about to say by acknowledging that i am not the first hamiltonian to write on this issue and from this perspective. i am sure there are many hamilton writers and artists who have done what i am about to do long ago, and probably better. so here we go.
as much as i would like to sit here and bash torontonians for thinking that toronto is the only city in this fine country that matters, i am going to take the high road and not even go there. rather, i am going to talk about how citizens from other cities (im looking at you, TORONTO) have a completely inaccurate, although vaguely understandable perspective on hamilton. and here it is.
if you dont live here and you come to visit, this is what you see: dilapidated buildings, abandoned, boarded up stores, an almost ephemeral greyness that never stops, pollution, babies having babies, drug addicts and dealers, and all forms of riff raff imaginable. is all of this here? yes. but oh, so much more.
only in hamilton can you strike up a conversation with a bus driver without being ordered to shut up and get behind the yellow line. only in hamilton do perfect strangers have chats like old friends. there is so much camraderie here, and i dont see it anywhere else (im looking at you, TORONTO). hamilton is a low income, blue collar town. everyone is on their last leg and just trying to keep on keeping on. this brings the people together. it sounds depressing, but it isnt. hamiltonians have a collective drive to survive and can have a laugh and a beer while doing it. and you cant see that just walking down the street. because of the struggle and strife in hamilton, there is a diverse and fully inclusive arts community, and it seems like everyone here is like minded. so you know what, all of you temporary visitors who cant see past the first impression (im looking at you, TORONTO) im glad youre just temporary, because we dont need your ilk polluting our cultural milleux. so stick that in your pipe and smoke it. the crackhouse is just round the bend.