Winnipeg's Jazz Magazine


Beat Your Own Drum

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I want to dedicate this letter to the oddball in the crowd, the fifth wheel, the person heading due south when everybody else is going north. This is for the black sheep in the herd.

In Winnipeg the main arteries mostly consist of two-lane roads. Curiously, an often occurring phenomenon in those two lanes is that everyone will pile up behind someone in the left lane and leave the right lane wide open. I think to myself, there must be a real reason for this—a mass left turn perhaps? Yet time and again, all 18 cars will attempt to proceed judiciously through the brief green light even though there won’t be enough time. Oddly, no one switches to the right lane. I gradually realized that in the ’Peg once you choose a lane on your journey it’s a commitment. Lane changing is frowned upon. I have habitually chosen that right lane, however, and have enjoyed smooth-sailing, obstacle-free driving—provided that I can survive the looks of disapproval from my fellow motorists.

Does this prove my theory that something may perhaps not be a good idea just because everybody else is doing it? Jury’s still out.

I am talking to the little boy doing pirouettes while all the other boys are wrestling. I am talking to the little girl who is lifting weights instead of baking cookies, and the individual who watches the party from the far corner and has just as much fun as the guy in the middle of the room with the lampshade on his head. THE WORLD NEEDS YOU! 

Someone has to go over the high jump backwards to teach us all that there’s a better way. I know there’s a lot of pressure, even violent pressure, to conform and many learned scholars postulate theories on how to change you back to a “normal” person. I want to be a voice that encourages you to never give in, to dedicate yourself to what is true and good and helpful to humanity. Approach life according to your own inspiration. Beat your own drum.

Winnipeg is that oddball in Canada, sitting out in the middle of nowhere, not much at first glance but corn and sky and pharmaceutical companies.

Winnipeg is a city of beta testers. Jazz, which is a time-tested canary for social health, thrives here. I hope we hit a tipping point in this city of beta testers where we exude pride in the fact that we’re a bit different from the rest of Canada. One way to show that pride is to throw a peace festival.


Recently I met with a guy who invented a unique piece of architecture in this city. He’s that oddball. He created something structurally bold and placed it right in the middle of the Exchange District.

Like it or not, we all know which “structure” I’m talking about. Chances are that you’ve experienced a great communion there at one time or another. Let’s build on that. Peace festival – June 2017!

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