Walls within walls
Ian Martin oversees the destruction of Chartist mural
MONDAY I’ve been asked by the Coalition Government to ‘rebrand the green belt as an exciting opportunity for construction industry professionals and hard-working homeowners alike’.
After some thought I decide we should all start calling it The Friendzone, so we can put lots of people in it, the needy and the unloveable alike.
TUESDAY There’s always something in the way of progress, isn’t there? If it’s not bloody newts or sightlines it’s some weirdo smelling of mothballs telling you that your masterpiece, if built, would ‘ruin the landscape’. Just stop and think for a moment, Mr Combover. HOW CAN A MASTERPIECE RUIN ANYTHING?
The ‘progress’ I’m talking about specifically is a £400 million retail and leisure development I’ve envisaged for the sleepy Lincolnshire town of Spudley. And by ‘sleepy’ I mean lazy. This smug, indolent clump of human habitation has been sitting on its fat post-mercantile arse for nearly two centuries.
Over time it has grudgingly accommodated plumbed-in toilets, the NHS and broadband. But come on. It hasn’t even got a Wetherspoons, never mind one of those cultural hubs that look like Ferrero Rocher chocolates. Stupid Spudleians.
If they’d dragged themselves into the 20th century when there was still time (ie at any point during the 20th century) they could now be enjoying this notional cultural hub shaped like a chocolate, already nicknamed The Lump or The Turd or The Poncehole, say. Exhibiting shit paintings by a local artist who’s drilled so far into herself she’s out the other side and twice as miserable. A Dalek in the foyer. A slow-food bistro, offering jazz scribblings and ‘hearty, locally-sourced fare’ dolloped into fucking tin helmets or whatever.
But no. Spudley has had none of that. What, irritatingly, it DOES have is a massive Chartist mural in an underpass. I concede it may be the work of a certain eminent post-war artist but let’s be frank, any artist working after 1945 in a hat and glasses can be eminent these days. Yeah, yeah, it’s made from half a million tiny mosaic tiles, lovingly crafted by skilled union members, blah blah, close the coalhouse door.
I mean who goes down there now, apart from junkies and those with a high-functioning Instagram presence? The underpass reeks of Callaghan’s Britain, a stain on our public conscience. I suppose it could be preserved as a melancholy civic stubbornness in the middle of my connectivised public space, although it’s getting a bit tight already what with the outdoor restaurant seating and the contemporary cycle rack.
It would be more humane, in my view, to destroy it.
WEDNESDAY Spudley Preservation Society begs to disagree. It’s now shrilly demanding that I furnish planners with ‘any compelling reason to demolish the Chartist Mosaic, NB bearing in mind that “because it’s in the way” doesn’t count as a reason’.
I’m not sure I like the tone of that, either the sarcasm OR the whiney, mimicked voice I infer to be mine.
Right, you bastards. Here are three cast-iron reasons why that posturing slab of socialist fetish art should be pulverised, OK?
1) No wall is worth that much. Allow a wall to block the path of high-quality retail-led development and we surely betray our grandchildren, who one day will have walls of their own.
2) People are idiots. They probably think Chartists means anyone who’s had a hit record in the Top Forty. If they wouldn’t save a wall with a mural of Depeche Mode on it, why bother with this one?
3) In a post-Banksy world, non-monetised culture is demonstrably valueless. If this mural’s so special, why hasn’t anyone rumbled in with heavy machinery under the cover of darkness to spirit it away to a Los Angeles auction house? Because it’s rubbish, that’s why.
Case closed. I gently remind Spudley Preservation Society and their mates in planning of the contents of the government’s recent Presumption In Favour (Localism) Act, which allows developers, wealth creators, dreamers of epic space etc to do what they want as long as a legitimate postcode is observed.
THURSDAY Oversee destruction of Chartist mural.
FRIDAY Brain hurts. Feels like some mind-lintel’s crumbled away or something. Enhance remaining conscience with smart drugs and the gift of self-forgivenesss.
SATURDAY Casually drop the word ‘twerkitecture’ into conversation, aggravating my mind-twinge.
SUNDAY Avoid self all day, in the recliner.