My blog is usually a fairly positive, upbeat place but today I want to share a concern that I've been dwelling on recently, wondering how I can do something about it. Over the last year or two I've been quietly smarting, watching as loved buildings in my city are swiftly dismantled and removed permanently from the streetscape. Manchester is definitely a better city now in nearly every way than the city of the early 1990's when I moved here. However the rate of development seems to be at a tipping point and I think we are starting to lose the character of the place. Who gets to judge the value of architecture? The most loved buildings often don't win design awards and most worryingly it seems to be money and connections rather than merit or any sense of philanthropy that shapes our built environment. I feel particularly strongly about a proposed development by two ex Manchester United footballers that will involve the demolition of a large swath of interesting buildings right in the core of the city, to be replaced by a huge structure that feels badly designed and wrong for the atmosphere of this end of town. Please take the time to read and digest, research, and decide for yourself: www.change.org/p/these-huge-black-towers-next-to-manchester-town-hall-are-in-the-wrong-place
This paragraph is the element I find most worrying: "The Council owns the old Bootle Street police station, and has left it empty and decaying while teaming up with developers to extend and redevelop the site, with funds from the far east. The Council is both partner in the project and planning authority, so is the primary decision-maker for this project" I've always thought Manchester City Council on the whole make good decisions and have worked really hard to improve the city in a very capital centric country. Now however they have been in power for so long that we have a Labour Manchester hegemony that can't be challenged and they know it. I worry that the consequence will be the citizens of Manchester ending up with a less loveable, liveable city, whilst a handful of people make an awful lot of money.
Apparently psychological studies have shown that single people tend to see happy couples everywhere, whereas people in a relationship tend to see happy single people. Part one of this post can be found here: Part 1
Apparently psychological studies have shown that single people tend to see happy couples everywhere, whereas people in a relationship tend to see happy single people. Part 2 of this post is to be found here: Part 2
The car radio was on in the background during a short journey the other day, when I heard the line 'that place between above & below'. From that point on I was transfixed by the programme Soul Estuary: The Mouth of the River (Radio 4), a poetic remembering of growing up by the river and being influenced by the landscape, written and presented by Alan Read. That simple phrase seemed so poignant, a description of something epic - where we are right now in this moment, this place.
I've often found the book
I'm reading permeates into the pictures I make. I suppose that's what
most creative undertakings are, a meeting of ones internal world and the world
happening around us. I've become a little obsessed with science fiction of late
and I'm now reading Isaac Asimov's robot series written in the 1950's and set
1000 years in the future. They are beautifully descriptive books full of ideas
about humanity and shockingly farsighted, imagining equivalents of the internet
and FaceTime, but also social and attitudinal changes as a result of
technology. I remember my dad reading the books when I was a child, and being
fascinated by the tatty paperback covers that were illustrated with gaudy
1960's ideas of a far future. Ironically I'm reading them on an e-reader, a
cultural shift in itself.
When I started to look
through my pictures from Antwerp I felt I could see the influence of the books
on my subconscious and so here is my small nod to Asimov.
I'm quietly pleased and rather surprised that I've managed to maintain this blog for so long, it has become my visual diary, a constant in my life and an archive of my picture making over the last few years. Sometimes I can find words to accompany the photographs, sometimes not. So today some quiet images from my friend's apartment, my home for the last six days, which was calming and inspiring in equal measures. Thank you so much for looking in and please keep returning. Best wishes, Marc