Rather than exposing the City of London as the UK’s last rotten borough and exploring the area’s often disreputable history – the racist tropes cooked up by Protestant bigots in Grub Street, the violence and extra-legal activity around the Shrieval Election of 1682, or the notorious bawdy houses of Cripplegate etc. etc. – the Culture Mile has to date consisted of the super-bland artwashing. Instead of the proposed Centre of Music being built on the current Museum of London site, we’d rather see housing for refugees. Likewise there is already a huge daily footfall of visitors in the Culture Mile area and seeking to increase this will make life worse for its residents. Tourists aren’t wanted and nor are retail outlets selling overpriced goods to sightseers either.
The money the City of London burns on artwashing itself via the Culture Mile and other projects is dwarfed by the sums it lavishes on propaganda promoting the interests of the finance industry, tax havens and wealth inequality. And even the crumbs thrown at the arts and ‘charity’ by the City don’t really benefit anyone outside a wealthy elite; such spending is instrumental and designed to promote corporate greed as a public good. The Culture Mile isn’t much of a smokescreen for this tunnel vision.Read more "Tunnel Visions: Another Culture Mile Flop!"
Reclaim EC1 has explained in previous posts why the Culture Mile is a bad news. What we haven’t done is focus on how once it’s in operation its going to be hated by those who live in The Barbican. However its obvious that the Cultural Mile is intended to attract an unsustainable number of tourists into the north west corner of the City, and Barbican residents are going to bear the brunt of this, with their lives disrupted by noise alongside the ongoing destruction of their estate. The latter will mostly just be the result of an expanded footfall the Barbican architects never envisaged, although there will no doubt be an increase in the low levels of ‘anti-social behaviour’ residents are already complaining about (in relation to the Banksy graffiti the City used to promote its Jean-Michel Basquiat exhbition at the Barbican art gallery)…Read more "If The Barbican’s Banksy Graffiti Peeved You, Then You’ll Hate The Culture Mile!"
Before I sat down to write this piece, I came across a photograph on social media posted yesterday and captioned: “Back of Liverpool Street Station – the sterile hell of a corporate winter wonderland.” The area shown in this smartphone snap is in the City of London and what was said about it really chimed with my feelings over not just the Culture Mile but also most City Public Realm projects in recent years. The council’s Department of the Built Environment is clearly in need of reform just as much as the political body that controls it. We really do need to take back the city.Read more "Culture Mile: A Cynical Exercise in Marginalisation & Social Exclusion"
Nicholas Kenyon offered a fake choice between a quarter of a billion pound concert hall on the old Museum of London site and an office block. There are many other options. The money would be better spent on building much needed homes for Londoners where the vacated building stands; or millions of pounds could be saved for other uses by deploying the existing structure to house a different museum.Read more "Nicholas Kenyon’s Culture Mile Talk"
The City of London has plenty of money and if it wants to waste it on an overly flash middlebrow music venue in order to provide further opportunities for corporate junkets, so be it. But the local council should also face the fact their mood muzak is of little or no interest to many local residents. If they want to buy us off why don’t they match the money they intend to spend on Sir Baby Rattle’s pet project on new social housing within City of London boundaries? Building council flats would provide far greater benefit for the area than the City’s LSO folly; and it ought to be obvious Culture Mile ‘pop ups’ are too cheap and cheesy to act as bribes.Read more "Another Culture Mile Branding Fail!"
If the City of London wishes to become a ‘world-class’ cultural destination then clearly it needs to dump its current arts policies that relentlessly pursue the middle-brow, apparently with the aim of facilitating corporate junkets. More of a gritty urban vibe is required, alongside cultural institutions that actively do away with the Puritanism that has characterised the City establishment for hundreds of years. The last thing needed is a privately educated knob like “Sir’ Simon Rattle promoting light orchestral garbage in a specially built and extortionately expensive ‘Centre for Music’ AKA a concert hall. The best way to vibe up the neighbourhood is the provision of a great deal more social housing, so that there is an even bigger working class population. Not that it isn’t substantial already on both the Golden Lane Estate within the City of London, and in the extensive Peabody Trust social housing that lies just over the borough boundary with Islington.Read more "Culture Mile: A Nightmare On Beech Street"