Saturday, February 27, 2010

First Time as Tragedy...

Possible epigraph for the new book:

...But inside it there is a special vision of the system that is being opposed: an influential view, right through to the labour governments of the sixties, which has now shown its inadequacy. The old system, with its aristocratic and parvenu stupidities, is seen as a top layer, to be replaced with 'new blood, new men, new ideas'. The spread of the middle-class is seen as having made the old class analysis almost obsolete, and the working class anyway is believed to be rapidly acquiring middle-class habits and ideas. The ruling class is seen as having become mere owners, their work done for them by managers and technicians. All that is then needed, it seems, is for the decent members of the family - middle-class and working-class alike - to get rid of the outdated old fools in charge.
Trumpets around the walls of the Barbican. Trumpets turning into penny whistles and then, reflected in the new shining glass, suddenly and surprisingly accompanied by a respectful and celebratory choir.'
Raymond Williams, Orwell (1971)


Blogger Lang Rabbie said...

This is scary - some twenty five years after I used to row with a socialist school mate about Raymond Williams, you are quoting pretty much the same texts.

Go with it - Williams was a damn good writer - regardless of what I may have told my friend about some of the claims he makes in 'Keywords'.

As an aside, should you be including an image that includes that naughty liberal non-conformist crossing Route XI (London Wall) at street level rather than using the Highwalks?

12:26 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There isn't anything wrong with middle class socialdemocracy or with the realisation that middle classes are "the future" - the problem comes when what constitutes "middle class" is accepted uncritically and the government works for the "upper class lite version" (screwing a good number of middle class people in the process, not to mention working class.) You can see some of this in the vast social miscalculations of Rogers' Urban Renewal ideals which have led to yuppiedromes and neo-urban blight.

1:56 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I meant Urban Renaissance but you know what I mean (and I think Rogers does too - I really doubt he likes today's Manchester much, but I guess he just doesn't get why did it come out like this)

2:03 am  
Blogger bacteriagrrl said...

Great photo, City Tower and St. Alphage House are still as they appear in the pic, (St. Alphage saved from being replaced by "The Shard" by a concatenation of circumstances involving Barbican residents' outrage, collapse of of Bear Stearnes, failure of JP Morgan to grease the correct City aldermen, etc. It has now been gutted so that City Of London can avoid having to pay £1.5 million in rates on it. Still standing though!)

2:12 pm  
Anonymous Richard J said...

Are you thinking of another proposed building, perhaps? The Shard is currently shooting up by London Bridge.

4:02 pm  
Blogger bacteriagrrl said...

You are quite right, Richard J, not The Shard at all, but this:
Can't remember what the locals were calling it, The Slab maybe?

4:38 pm  
Blogger Chris Matthews said...

I didn't realise there were various unfinished walkways leading from the Barbican, up London Wall & so on. Somebody must have done a blog post on this I wonder? Did find Bob Stanley writing about it:

4:56 pm  
Blogger Lang Rabbie said...

Try searching for Highwalks - no one used the phrase Pedway.

6:35 pm  
Blogger Chris Matthews said...

That's great, many thanks! Hmmm... I did have a good highwalk experience at UEA recently - though shame about some of the new builds.

7:46 pm  
Blogger owen hatherley said...

Ah, The Disappearing Highwalks of the City of London. Someone needs to write a book on these things, cf the actual Pedway.

The walkways at Alban Gate are interesting, a rare example of pomo in the air. The sheer aggression and obnoxiousness of that building, along with its continuation of the highwalks, sometimes makes me almost want to like it. Almost.

Re: Anonymous, though I take your point, the Tories' current plunge in the opinion polls implies that talking solely to the middle class is not a wise idea.

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