Proper posts, as you might have noticed, are thin on the ground at the moment (by my Stakhanovite standards anyway) - this is because, unusually, I have other things to do. Nonetheless, normal profligacy will be restored presently. In the meantime: Things links to a rather lovely, melancholic photoset of Thamesmead in the late 70s, by a former teacher at the Riverside school. There's also much discussion of Gavin Stamp's new book about what the Luftwaffe and those Awful Bureaucratic Town Planners did to our cities, depicting what was lost. I can't say that it bothers me all that much. Even writing as someone who cherishes the rotting shop sign, the empty cafe, the vitrolite lining and the ironwork dressing, it all seems a bit ungrateful, bearing in mind what wasn't done, the comprehensive plans of Abercrombie and the GLC that would have really transformed the city, rather than made incremental changes. London is still overwhelmingly a city of the 19th century, and much of it an undistinguished one. Could have done with more demolition as far as I'm concerned.
Not that demolition isn't a frequently very dubious thing indeed, as the skullduggery of Moscow urbanism amply proves. A little against my better judgement perhaps, given Martin Pawley's denunciation of them as 'quisling' capitulations to art history, I'm pleased that the 20th Century Society, DOCOMOMO, MAPS and the like try to preserve what (little) remains of the early Modern movement. One reason for that is that, you know, 1920s concrete buildings don't make up 80% of the housing stock. On which note, Richard Pare will be speaking at a MAPS lecture at Pushkin House in London next Wednesday (19th), on his photographs of the ruined legacy of the Soviet Avant Garde, which I'm sure readers will be familar with from my frequent mentions. Details: '7.30 and end at approximately 8.30. Tickets £7, £5 for Friends of Pushkin House and students. Reservations: +44 (0)20 7269 9770 or email to bookings(at)pushkinhouse.org.uk. The Main Entrance is located on Bloomsbury Way. Nearest tube stations are Holborn, Tottenham Court Road and Russell Square.'