Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Key of Bart -- Bad, bad water brown

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Bad, bad water brown

With apologies to Jim Croce

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On the east side of this city

Across the Floodway from this town

You'll find a treatment plant

But it really can't

Prevent our water from bein' brown.


The plant cost $300 million

But it was hooked up into pipes

That are a century old

And they smell of mould

Now we are left to sit and gripe:


And it's bad! Bad! Water's brown!

Ruddy crud 'cross the whole damn town

Can't even put the coffee on

I do the laundry and it winds up tawn


Now the city's got a theory

About high-volume water use

And in the summer, well

Those volumes go to hell

And so the crud gets in the tubes


But there's a problem with that theory

It don't explain why so widespread

We've never had it bad

In every neighbourhood

From Riverdale to Royalwood


And it's bad! Bad! Water's brown!

Flilling tubs 'cross the whole damn town

Full of iron and manganese

Can't be cleaned just by sprayin' Febreze


Well the city hired consultants

To give 'em some advice

To test the chemistry

And its propensity

To make the water look less than nice


So far there's no solution

For the ugly water woes

So we just blame the mayor

And we just say a prayer

Until the brownish water goes


And it's bad! Bad! Water's brown!

Embarrassing the whole damn town

"Muddy waters" is our old nickname

And now that really is our claim to fame


Adapted, poorly, from Bad, Bad Leroy Brown, written and recorded by JIM CROCE in 1973.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 28, 2013 0

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About Bartley Kives

Bartley Kives wants you to know his last name rhymes with Beavis, as in Beavis and Butthead. He aspires to match the wit, grace and intelligence of the 1990s cartoon series.

Bartley joined the Free Press in 1998 as a music critic. He spent the ensuing 7.5 years interviewing the likes of Neil Young and David Bowie and trying to stay out of trouble at the Winnipeg Folk Festival before deciding it was far more exciting to sit through zoning-variance appeals at city hall.

In 2006, Bartley followed Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz from the music business into civic politics. He spent seven years covering city hall from a windowless basement office.

He is now reporter-at-large for the Free Press and also writes an outdoor-recreation column called Offroad for the Outdoors page.

A canoeist, backpacker and food geek, Bartley is fond of conventional and wilderness travel. He is the author of A Daytripper’s Guide to Manitoba: Exploring Canada’s Undiscovered Province, the only comprehensive travel guidebook for Manitoba – and a Canadian bestseller, to boot. He is also co-author of Stuck In The Middle: Dissenting Views of Winnipeg, a collaboration with photographer Bryan Scott and the winner of the 2014 Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award.

Bartley’s work has also appeared on CBC Radio and Citytv as well as in publications such as The Guardian, explore magazine and National Geographic Traveler. He sits on the board of PEN Canada, which promotes freedom of expression.

Born in Winnipeg, he has an arts degree from the University of Winnipeg and a master’s degree in journalism from Ottawa’s Carleton University. He is the proud owner of a blender.

On Twitter: @bkives


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