I once went to a wedding in Poulton, that of a close friend, one of those friendships you make in adulthood that you never think could ever be as deep and meaningful as the ones you make in your childhood and teens, or even at University…although I personally would not describe my University years as the best of my life….I digress, but said bride had asked me to speak, in a sort of best man/woman capacity, so it was with a sense of purpose that I left the church looking for the reception venue.
The reception could not have been in a more prominent hotel – Blackpool’s fabulous Imperial Hotel. Don’t forget I’m from around these parts so how hard can it be to drive, what, 5 miles? But boy oh boy did I get lost – in Cleveleys!
It’s like the end of the earth. It’s like there is no soul to the place but a massive great apron, criss-crossed by tram lines and bespattered with cars not knowing where they’re going.
I actually drove out and back into Cleveleys several times before having a near nervous breakdown and going down a route I thought totally inaccurate and freeing myself from the vortex.
A ray of sunshine in an otherwise grey landscape
The classic utility glove - ah you can smell the rubber!
These were taken by another good friend, the wonderful Kath Walker. You may know her from such tweets as @kathwalkerart.
It’s been a week for artists and beaches. My sister sent me a link to a piece of footage from the Guardian website documenting the new Turner Gallery at Margate. Or do they call it an artist’s space? I don’t know but it all sounds like classic bullshit to me. The building whose light is described as capricious (oh perrrrrleeease) looks like something Staples may have purhcased to fill with stationery for the masses. I can’t criticise the light, I’m sure David Chipperfield’s anticipation of light, its uses when lighting installations etc etc have been taken into consideration to a great degree, but I pale when I listen to creative types bang on these days. And as my husband knows to his cost, once I’m on my soapbox about the Turner prize there’s no stopping me.
The building, situated on Margate’s seafront, is meant to emulate boatsheds. I’m sure it does. But we live in tough times and erecting something which looks like a glorified pre-fab could not scream EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES more if it tried.
I’m ever conscious of the spend these days. I listen to Radio 4’s Today programme daily and whince at the latest financial crises to hit our world, so cannot help but wonder if this money would not have been better spent keeping a library open, or even converting a library into a double space. Apologies if this has been privately funded, I was so bored by the footage I had to mentally switch off.
This morning’s Lancashire Evening Post billboards shout the news that Preston is, after all, going to demolish its bus station. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a pretty building. In fact it’s pretty grim. But it’s iconic. It’s from an era when cast concrete was funky, cool and could be so again. It’s home to a multi-storey car park which creates a safe passage for night time concert goers to walk through to the Guild Hall. I point this out as my 76 year old mother, a regular visitor to the Liverpool Philharmonic concerts, feels suddenly wrong footed. Where will she park? Will she feel safe? No. One of two things will happen. I will take her or she will stop going.
John Lewis say they intend to move onto the site. Surely John Lewis have a creative design team when it comes to their stores. Surely they could convert the place into one of Britain’s funkiest looking shopping destinations? It appears not. They don’t even have to try too hard. Ben Casey has mocked up a superb impression of what we could do with the place. I silently weep for the crap that will be erected in its place. Whoopee, another faceless prefab….but hey….may be the light will be suitably capricious to entice us into parting with our cash for some JL goodies.
A sad day for Prestonians as we look towards 2012 and the Preston Guild 20 years celebrations. And our city’s motto? Proud Preston.
I’m not proud today, not by a long chalk.