Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Reality That Retail Therapy Conceals

Just got in, have you? What's that, you say, Christmas shopping? Really? Oh good. Where did you go? Liverpool One, eh? Nice to know. Oh, erm, didn't stop to take any pictures while you were there, did you? No, it's just that after that business with the Guardian reporter in London last week (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/dec/11/snapshot-special-branch-terror-suspect ), you can't be too careful.
Sorry, didn't quite catch that, insulting to be suspected of terrorism, did you say? Well, yes, absolutely. It's just that, well, there can be all sorts of misunderstandings, can't there? I mean, take this piece by Anna Minton on the Guardian's Comment is Free pages last night (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/dec/15/public-space-private-property-companies ).
Mmm, yes, she mentions that incident involving Guardian journalist Paul Lewis. In fact, she links it to the place where you've just bought that Beatle Rock Star game (waste of money, btw, learn to play a real guitar):
"This monitoring and surveillance of innocent activities, which does not necessarily require anti-terror-laws, is taking place all around Britain as a result of the growing private ownership and private control of cities. Liverpool One, which spans 34 streets in the heart of Liverpool, is effectively owned by the Duke of Westminster's property company, Grosvenor, which leased the entire site, including streets and public places, from the council for 250 years. Cabot Circus in Bristol, Highcross in Leicester and what promises to be the biggest of all, Stratford City in London, are all owned and run by property companies."
Yes, I know you couldn't give a flying, erm, thingy who owns the place, as long as you get what you want. What's that? Oh certainly, especially at this time of year, Christmas spirit, eh?
What's that you're reading, btw? Oh, you've picked up Minton's article haven't you? Hey, she's got a point in this bit, look, just here:
"In their defence, politicians and developers point out that people like these places and flock to shop in them. But they also raise a challenge to the kind of public life, culture and democracy that has been taken for granted in British cities for the last 150 years. A host of seemingly innocuous activities --skateboarding, rollerblading, even eating in some places-- are routinely banned, along with filming and, of course, taking photographs. So is begging, homelessness, selling the Big Issue, handing out political leaflets, and holding political demonstrations. It's a very different and far less democratic idea of the city and citizenship. In place of the diversity of high streets we are creating sterile, high-security enclaves, policed by private security and CCTV. And rather than making us feel safer, the emphasis on security is a reminder of ever-present dange, fuelling fear of crime."
You've gone pensive, all of a sudden, cat got your tongue? Hey, I heard there's a free sausage roll with tonight's Oldham Echo as part of their Healthy Eating For Kids campaign. Did you get one? No? Shame, it was mentioned in last week's paper, next to that article about the OAP being mugged & how it shows that Liverpool's not safe anymore.
Oh well. Oh look, there's a comment on Minton's article by someone calling themselves Adorno:
"Liverpool City Centre is now partly owned by a private company. You drive in from the north or south of the city, through the likes of Toxteth, Walton or Anfield, and the social deprivation is shocking. Street after street, derelict and empty of life, schools surrounded by barbed wire, half-empty police stations, and the retail outlets that are vey quickly emptying.
"Then you reach the city centre with its 'Urban Outfitters' and other stores, with flat screen televisions on the wall, neon lights on the floors.
"The marginalisation of the poor is now a deliberate local and national government policy. It promotes the right conditions for neo-liberal economics, by driving a social and economic wedge between those who have and those who have not, whilst depriving people of any academic or cultural purpose, and thus leaving only materialistic masturbation."
Hmmph, probably one of those potty-mouthed, smart-arsed, sarky local bloggers, eh?
Anyway, never mind, get the Beatle game out & plug it in, will you? I love that song they covered, what's it called? Ah yes, Money. A One, Two, Three, Four...

2 comments:

Esther Johnson said...

That's why many people choose to avoid the sanitised Liverpool One enclave. But hey, no need to worry, it's only a 250 year lease !

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