Sunday, May 07, 2006

Big Issue/old and new

I was in Edinburgh city centre a couple of days back.

I saw this guy outside John Lewis. He was selling The Big Issue.

The Big Issue is a magazine. It's a bit like Bunty, but written by tramps.

I felt some compulsion to
take they guy's photograph.

On the other side of the road to him, you'll notice a building with a glass front. It's quite new, only a couple of years old, I think. It's a very modern building, void of character, just a box... New buildings don't have to be just boxes, though. Where's the

I was watching a programme on Channel 4 this evening, The Perfect Home, presented by Alain De Bottom! Oops - there goes a Freudian slip. I'm going to leave that one in, on purpose...

Alain suggests that most new houses are built in appalling taste, and that with a housing deficit of around a million homes, this country urgently needs to wake up to the merits of good design.

We do seem to be stuck in the past. Take the house I used to live in, it looked like something out of the 1930s, but was actually built in 2002! Were architects in the 1930s copying styles from other periods? Nope. In the 1920s? 40s? 50s? 60s? 70s? Nope.

It all began in the eighties, and I think in response to the vulgar monstrosities erected in the 60s and 70s. Looking forward and being modern became something a stupid person would do. The only thing to do was to look back.

Big mistake.

Why did we do that? We've lost out on such a lot. New housing estates all look the same these days (shit, I'm sounding like an old fart) and tell you nothing about where you are. A new housing estate in Aberdeen would probably look exactly the same as one in Plymouth. And they all look like something from between the wars.

We need to start being radically and looking forward.

House developers should really stop selling all these sterile retro/reproduction spaces. Imagine if all the modern/trendy clothes shops sold only top hats?

Edinburgh is a real mix of old and new - and I really think it works. It's time new housing schemes were mixed up a bit and something fabulous built instead of the same old shit. Just look at the Wimpey website, or Persimmon or Barratt. Notice anything interesting or fabulous?

No, neither do I.

Ok, rant over.

No comments: