Something makes me suspect that the water coolers on Oldham Hall Street may contain more than good old H2O. Picture the scene. An editorial meeting of the two papers' finest, erm, minds is accompanied by the consumption of copious quantities of, well, water, yes, that's true, but perhaps something else, too. Pretty soon, Big Al, Minion Mark et al start to countenance weird & wonderful visions of the city they claim to speak for; the "tangerine trees and marmalade skies" that Lennon lysergically locked his gaze upon may or may not have figured in their visions, but it sure looks like a lot else besides has entered the groupthink consciousness on Liverpool's own Street of Shame. How else to account for yesterday's editorial in the Oldham Echo (http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/views/our-view/2011/01/24/mann-island-an-island-of-high-hopes-100252-28041492/ )?
The piece opens with all the sober restraint of a punter in Concert Square on a Friday night:
"These are exciting times for our wonderful waterfront, with major developments coming to fruition at Mann Island."
Sentences like that make you wonder why there isn't a media equivalent of an ASBO.
The Oldham Echo's editorial hails the monstosity that is the new museum & its gaudy siblings as "head-turners". I presume many a head has been turned...away from the destruction wrought upon the city's waterfront & then shaken in sadness at what has been lost from an area still laughingly seen as a World Heritage Site (perhaps the watercoolers at UNESCO have been similarly affected).
The piece also refers to the names apparently given to the two residential areas within the black slugs, Latitude & Longitude. Whoever came up with those appellations had obviously lost their bearings & wouldn't have been let anywhere near a ship's navigation equipment during the port's heyday. Latitude & Logitude, continues the Echo's sychophantic missive, "have proved a hit with investors and flat-hunters."
No evidence is cited by the Echo for its claim. Indeed, it's highly unlikely, given the state of the property market.
You see, the world according to Oldham Hall Street is a largely strange place where the global market is benign to the local economy whilst wreaking havoc elsewhere. It's a world in which every single retrograde development in the city is viewed as an exciting opportunity. It's a world in which other cities cast envious glances to the city's civic leadership & "business" scene, secretly & not so secretly coveting the giants of Liverpool's local government that are Mike "tell us another" Storey, Warren "War Zones" Bradley & Joe "tea & sympathy" Anderson. It's a world in which every other region of the UK yearns for Frank McKenna to set up a Down & Out In Town Liverpool in their neck of the woods.
Truly it is El Dorado by the Mersey.
Perusing the penultimate & final paragraphs of the Echo's piece strengthens one's suspicion that the watercooler should be inspected &, if necessary, replaced:
"Built by Neptune Developments and partners Countryside Properties, their design has upset many -- but it might be worth remembering that the neighbouring Royal Liver Building was initially derided by many locals.
"We look forward to the new Museum of Liverpool becoming an integral part of Merseyside's thriving cultural scene -- and we hope the Neptune development can win over its many detractors and generally come to be viewed as a vital and popular part of the local landscape."
I suppose it's something when the Echo admits that the design "has upset many" & has "many detractors". However, the paper's sudden ray of glasnost is soon blocked out by its customary grasp of Pravda-esque propaganda & delusion. Moreover, likening the controversy caused by this carnage on the waterfront to the impact of the Liver Building in the early 20th century is laughable & insulting in equal measure.
Wayne again spelt out the scandal on Liverpool's waterfront, & just some of the issues it throws up, earlier this month (http://liverpoolpreservationtrust.blogspot.com/2011/01/north-vested-interest-development.html ).
The Echo editorial, by contrast, is suffused with a sense of surrealism worthy of Sgt. Pepper (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7F2X3rSSCU ).