Monday, September 10, 2012

Second City Syndrome

It's difficult being number two

All comedy aside, I noticed distinctly how a country's second city would often turn out to be the most snobbish and unfriendly. 

Many people in Canada would often say this about Montreal in relation to Toronto. When visiting Australia, I remarked to my friend how unpleasant an experience I had had while visiting Melbourne. He asked me if It was because it reminded me of my own city, and I said, yes, that's precisely it. It seemed to me that second cities had an uncanny ability of developing a collective cultural inferiority complex, often manifesting in the form of an aloof and condescending demeanour, perhaps as a way of feeling more adequate in comparison to one's larger rival city. 

Both Sydney and Toronto were huge international cultural and financial capitols at their height. Yet their populations were noticeably more friendly than either of their smaller sisters Melbourne or Montreal. The same could probably have been said for Birmingham or Manchester in relation to London, England, although I never spent enough time in either city to notice whether or not this was true or not. 

I once knew a guy from Glasgow, Scotland, who was living in it's rival city of Edinburgh. One day he had attended an event where a hostess had asked him where he was from. He had made the ghastly mistake of having said... (gulp!)... 'Edinburgh'!  The woman scolded him and asked him to go away and rethink his answer to her pointed question. It was obvious to this woman, considering she too originated from Glasgow, that my friends thick accent should have been a badge of pride and honour for him, and not something to be dismissed under any circumstances.

I'm sure the Spaniards could have weighed in on the differences between Barcelona's largely Catalan majority, and the dreaded Castellanos living hundreds of kilometres away in their capitol Madrid, ditto for the Bavarians in Munich, and those Frankfurters, and Hamburgers living in the shadow of Germany's capitol city, Berlin.

France was different, as usual, it was hard to imagine how anyone living in either Marseille or Lyon could be as pathologically obnoxious as most Parisians were. Oh well, the small towns in France had always been a tourists safest bet anyway.

Happily, our inevitable rendezvous with destiny had managed to excise these kinds of dysfunctional insecurity complexes from the psyches of communities, and gladly we no longer have to suffer through those painful spiritual growing pains. 

Please excuse me now, a lady friend has beckoned, and is encouraging me to partake in some unique 'stretching' exercises she has devised for me.

Future CT   Village 5, Nova Avalon.   Year 17 P.T.E.

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