Francis didn’t give a fuck about the rollbacks, the overproduction, the reduced demand. He never gave much thought to disputed contracts. In his short life he’d only ever known panic, fear, pain, darkness and pandemonium (in the hell that was his home). Fourth quarter earning expectations expedited his demise. The panic grew as the humans stalked among them. When the screaming began, Francis shut his eyes and felt the hand of inhumanity brush over him. But his would-be killer’s back turned for a moment and a blinding ray of light spread across the floor. In a crimson pool he saw his own reflection as he bolted for the door. Not just some fractured fairy-tale although I wish that that were true. This is a fable far too real. Yet we somehow still cling to the story lines that bridge the chasm between cognition and belief. Any old implausible denial that might offer some relief from the dissonance that Francis left screaming in his wake as deep into the heart of the city’s park lands he made good his escape. And where for 5 months he ran free and replayed his only fond memory–just a warm and distant dream of his mother’s loving eyes upon him. Francis made it farther than she did–a quarter mile just short of the city limits they finally captured him. There’s a statue that the abattoir erected to remind us all of their contributions. To me it marks Potemkin City Limits, this Francis cast in bronze. Not just some fractured fairy-tale, although I wish that that were true. This is a fable far too real,yet we somehow still cling to…


Lyrics submitted by machu505

Potemkin City Limits song meanings
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  • +5
    My InterpretationThis song is great.

    Pretty sure its about an animal escaping from a slaughterhouse, living in freedom for a few months in the city parklands before being eventually and inevitably caught. Francis sounds like a pig's name to me.

    Its funny because its really a heartbreaking song, about trying to escape from an terrible and ultimately inexorable fate, finding some fleeting happiness- "where for 5 months he ran free and replayed his only fond memory/ just a warm and distant dream of his mother's loving eyes upon him. Francis made it farther than she did" - before being caught just a quartermile away from getting out of the city. Its pretty tragic, but Its also about a pig. Or a cow, i guess.

    A few things:
    " There's a statue that the abattoir erected to remind us all of their contributions. To me it marks Potemkin City Limits, this Francis cast in bronze."
    An abattoir is a slaughterhouse, so that is another point for the pretty obvious francis as an animal thing.

    Potemkin villages, according to wikipedia: "Potemkin villages were purportedly fake settlements erected at the direction of Russian minister Grigori Aleksandrovich Potemkin to fool Empress Catherine II during her visit to Crimea in 1787. According to this story, Potemkin, who led the Crimean military campaign, had hollow facades of villages constructed along the desolate banks of the Dnieper River in order to impress the monarch and her travel party with the value of her new conquests, thus enhancing his standing in the empress's eyes."

    Potemkin can then be used as an adjective for a fake or facade, something looking nice to conceal something bad, like with "potemkin forests" where a row of trees is put (or left, i guess) at the edge of a highway, to conceal the fact the forest has actually been decimated by clearcutting.

    I guess then, potemkin city limits, would be the edge of the facade, the point where you can start to tell that its not actually real.

    Maybe this is based on a true story?


    MLarghion February 20, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentYes, it's about a pig. This page <bigthings.ca/alberta/…> has some information, and this charming line: "Francis reminds us of the importance of hog production and processing to the economy of Red Deer."

    Following from that, the song is about what Propagandhi (and I) perceive as the absurdity of the meat industry; the cruelty of a situation where demonstrably sentient beings (not to mention ones as closely related to us [human animals] as pigs) are bred and killed for our convenience/economy; complete with [self-]assurances that 'it's right because we're better'. This explains "Not just some fractured fairy-tale", "Potemkin City Limits", etc.--the crappy excuses we get to rationalise ourselves.

    Pretty good (and brave, although Propagandhi don't worry about mincing [ho ho] words). You can tell Chris means it, and I think the vocal delivery stands out too.
    dv1989on February 20, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe link didn't work; I'll try again:
    roadsideattractions.ca/…
    If not, just Google "Alberta Francis pig" and read the first page.

    Oh, and your analysis of the title was almost identical to explanations Chris has given in interviews. Good thinking!
    dv1989on February 20, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAny idea what Chris yells after "...Francis cast in bronze."?
    projektidioton February 27, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentbigthings.ca/alberta/…
    go there it explains the whole song meaning. your welcome.
    strungout88on April 09, 2009   Link
  • 0
    My Opinionjust to be clear, dv 1989 is correct: after the line "Frances cast in bronze" he says "Turn around, I'm gone" not "To the realm of god."
    ElDiablo666on May 20, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhat a great song. The beginning is very powerful. In the end the song make me sad. One of the best rock songs! Great lyrics!
    Chaosdaveon December 24, 2009   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationThis is probably my favorite Propagandhi song and I've done a bit more of research at RockGenius(rockgeni.us/2010/06/19/potemkin-city-limits-by-propagandhi/). The final:

    And there’s a statue that the abattoir erected
    To remind us all of their contributions
    To me it marks Potemkin City Limits
    This Francis cast in bronze

    Is just epic and defines Propagandhi as band, their ideals and everything they stand for.
    rockgenieon June 22, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI live in Red Deer, and I walk past that bronzed statue of Francis every day on my way to work.
    LastAnarchiston December 03, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI thought the first part was about a guy who works in a store and he's working during Black Friday... Haha. The first few lines "Francis didn’t give a fuck about the rollbacks, the overproduction, the reduced demand. He never gave much thought to disputed contracts." I thought Francis is just a cashier or stock boy and doesn't deal much with upper management and big decisions.

    "The panic grew as the humans stalked among them. When the screaming began, Francis shut his eyes and felt the hand of inhumanity brush over him. But his would-be killer’s back turned for a moment and a blinding ray of light spread across the floor. In a crimson pool he saw his own reflection as he bolted for the door."
    I thought might be talking about Francis about to open doors for people and they come rushing in and trample him to death.

    Then after that it lost me. Probably because it's about a pig. Haha.
    Minikamion July 23, 2013   Link

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