The statues, institutional names and other memorials that have been under a media spotlight in recent weeks are the art and charity washing effluent of former times. It is right and proper that they should be removed from public spaces and put in storage. It is also worth noting that many of the slave trader memorials featured in recent news stories are for men who were in their time top City of London council officials including William Beckford and Robert Geffrye who were lord mayors, and John Cass who was a sheriff. One of the City’s current artwashing projects is the so-called Culture Mile. This consists both of grandiose projects such as a ridiculously expensive Centre For Music, and lesser ‘pop up’ programmes including last month’s Radio Local, which functioned to compromise those who involved themselves in it by drawing them into the City’s artwashing orbit and mixing together self-organised community initiatives such as a local food bank with the obnoxious animal cruelty operation Club Gascon (which masquerades as a restaurant and specialises in foie gras torture dishes).Read more "Culture Mile Is Now Artwashing Animal Cruelty Alongside Colonial & Neo-Colonial Crimes"
After the decimation of the culture industry and many other economic sectors caused by the Covid 19 lockdown, it would be obscene if the City of London went ahead with its over-priced vanity project for a new classical music venue on the site currently occupied by the Museum of London. We’re at the start of a huge recession and London already has all the classical concert halls it needs. The proposed £288 million spend could be much better used mitigating the economic toll the current pandemic will have on the lives of those living in the City of London and other London boroughs. The City council needs to cancel its plans for the unwanted Centre for Music now!Read more "We’re In Lockdown, Time To Cancel The Centre For Music Vanity Project"
Over the past few weeks the Talk Culture Mile series of events in the City has demonstrated the exclusionary nature of this project, with the aim being to bring ‘together organisations from across all sectors’ while not inviting the main stakeholders, local residents. So while the Improving Social Mobility Through Creative Skills talk was held at Golden Lane Community Centre on 4 July 2019, no one involved troubled themselves to notify tenants on the council estate that houses the venue of this event, since it seems the idea is to leave the organisation of social mobility to professionals – who we assume are mostly interested in preserving their own privileges by holding back the working class. The fact this talk was intended for people unfamiliar with the area rather than local residents was underlined by the leaflet promoting it carrying the following information after the venue’s address: “The community centre is opposite Great Arthur House, EC1Y 0RD”. Local people know where the community centre is.Read more "City of London Attempts To Flatten All Opposition To Culture Mile Gentrification and Social Exclusion"
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!"
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"