You’m alroight babs?

Selfridges/Bullring

And so another baseless prejudice is quashed as I spent half the weekend in sunny Birmingham. For, although the people are funny of speech and the public transport is lacking in tube, still it’s an actually attractive city. It’s clearly seen cast regeneration of late – the Bullring, the Selfridges, various bits on the canal; I’m still not sure it’s worthy of its Venice of the Midlands tag but it’s an attractive enough place. Lot’s of redbrick buildings (which I do like), and the Bullring is this vast and confusing morass of bodies, outsized pipework, and wide, cordoned staircases.

I spent part of Friday evening discussing the malaise of the shopping mall with a genuine, bona fide Brummie, albeit one obsessed with Camden Town. The council’s surreptitious plans to turn the Stables into a mall generated much outrage, and rightly so. These places are, in theory, good for (big) businesses, good for residents and good for London but in fact it would take away a huge part of what makes Camden so unique, and in doing so destroy the vast majority of reasons to go there. If I want a huge selection of vintage football shops, some stickered antique luggage or some world food, then I go to the Lock and work my way through. If I want a huge Next and a Julian Graves I can go to Bluewater. Or Lakeside. Or Enfield, or Covent Garden, or even Tottenham, or a million and one other faceless, soulless shopping centres. What’s the point of putting one in the last remaining good bits of one of the last remaining good bits of London? I ask you. Planners these days.

Anyway, so it appears Camden County Council are beyond suspicion for the fire there – I’m still all about the conspiracy: considering that this post makes me an official internet conspiracist will show you how dedicated I am to this cause. Although, as with most dedicated internet conspiracists, action which requires me to get off my blogging-seat(tm) will cause immediate abandonment of issue and/or complaint.

Anyway, shopping centre BAD. Although I didn’t hate the Bullring.

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One Response

  1. ‘Ello Simon, tis I, GypsyDeath of FB.net and drunken nights fame.

    I always enjoy reading your blogs, but this one particularly. Reason being that I now live in Camden, with my fiance who is a Brummie.

    Firstly – you have spelt the title wrong. You = Yow. Alright = Awlroight. And Babby is more often used than babs.

    Birmingham being pretty is something I can’t agree on. I was impressed it wasn’t as horrific as I had imagined, yes. But an ‘attractive enough place’ I can’t agree. The long never ending roads of run down shops and terraced houses, speckled with large industrial units. The bull ring, in all it’s souless try hard glory. There is not a single pub in Brum that is not a chain – other than The Wellington ( a very fine real ale boozer). My fiance lived there for 35 years…and I’m pretty sure if it wasn’t for the canals and proximity to countryside it would have driven him mad.

    Now, Camden. The fire. It’s a little strange how it only happened on the one side of the market where all of the cheap stalls stood – the ones where they couldnt afford storage/had small stocks/couldnt afford insurance are – and so are effectively completely ruined. It is also the section where I believe planners where having large difficulty getting permission for this supercentre bullshit they are going to put in the markets place. In other news – a H&M is opening on the High Street in 2 weeks time. Fortunately it’s nearer the tube where more high street shops are…but still- a worrying sign of things to come. I mean, when did the last independent shop open in Camden?

    Now then, Breeders?
    M x

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