Sunday, June 12, 2011

outrage turns out not so outrageous and actually quite sensible

There's a good story to be told (somewhat in the New New mode) about the old Eurostar terminal at Waterloo Station.

It's basically as follows: after the Eurostars moved to the new St. Pancras, the thrillingly modern structure Nicholas Grimshaw gave them was abandoned to rot by "Sir" Brian Souter's privatised train empire and eventually used as the stage for a production of The Railway Children "with a real steam train!" This, of course, is an example of everything that's wrong with our society, nicely dramatised by the fact that the home of nuclear-powered, French super-express rockets has become the setting for a slap-up feast of Victorian kitsch and is now entirely surrounded by additional retail opportunities. Hey, the panto advert even has "Welcome to Yorkshire!" on it even though you're very unlikely indeed to get to Yorkshire from Waterloo.

Like all the best myths it even fits the facts. Pat Robertson's best mate is indeed responsible. But then you read a good blog; London Reconnections's horrifically detailed discussion of the possibilities of improving the South West main lines. In fact, although the trains suck, it's not because they're short of platforms at Waterloo, and the best option for making use of the Eurostar terminal requires building a flyover near Clapham Junction and painfully reworking the timetables.

It does worry me, though - how much of what passes for a national discourse is just weightless aesthetic guff? There's a big difference between the sort of thinking you get with just the look-and-feel and the sort you get once you shove in something like that LR post under it.

If you did want some weightless style page handwaving guff, though, I'd like to point out that I really was a 1980s kid and because of this, I *don't* have any memories (fond or otherwise) of The Breakfast Club - I'm too young. So if you're younger than I am, you surely don't. Nostalgia for the past you don't remember. Now there's a bit of conservative culture for you.

1 comment:

john b said...

I was getting worried at the "general idiot" discourse of the first two paragraphs. Good pullback.

But fuck, you work in telecoms. You know that everything that passes for a national discourse in telecoms is bullshit. I used to work in food & drink marketing. I knew that everything that passed for a national discourse in food & drink marketing was bullshit (in particular, everyone involved was trying really hard to stop kids eating pies and drinking alcopops, because that seriously undermined their concerted efforts to flog them to adults).

I'm just surprised that as someone with YorksRanter credentials, this is a new thing rather than The Fucking Obvious...

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