Sunday, 30 August 2009

The Lighthouse won't be missed - by me!

You know, I'm absolutely sick of reading about all these unknown architects crying into their tea about the closure of the Lighthouse in Glasgow. I mean who has heard of most of them - even the guys who put the current shambles together are hardly household names (Park and Page). In fact they are completely unknown. You don't hear of real architects like Keppies or Archial complaining about it. Actually, how many people have heard of the Lighthouse?

I must admit to a bit of bias here. I've only been to the Lighthouse once - for the Scottish Sustainable Communities Initiative awards - which we did not get and which was a very humiliating experience which I have found hard to forget (see my previous post: Toffs win new award). So I don't have great memories of the place. To be honest, I'd never heard of it before and when we went there to pick up the award, it seemed to be a bit of a holiday camp with people just hanging around doing nothing. I came across this picture on the web of the cafe - deserted! Just like it was when I was there.

You know, one thing I would say is that behind most celebrated 'works of architecture' there is always a human tragedy. It really isn't right that so many fine young people, including some very attractive young ladies, have had to lose their jobs because of the incompetence of management, architects and government in setting up what I gather is some sort of an elitist enclave for design that no one is interested in. On my only visit there, I felt humiliated and excluded - they made me feel like a country bumpkin. I won't forget that - and I won't miss the Lighthouse.

I'm tired of consultation - really I am

You know, I'm sick and tired of all the consultation that we planners have to do these days. Every time we want to do something, someone tells us we have to ask people what they think. It's inevitable that they won't like it so what's the point? Here's a photo of me and Mr and Mrs Macdonald - they live in a wee cottage next to Auchterness and it's a pretty run down sort of place. They're not very happy with our proposals to build a small recycling facility next to their house. If you ask me, the new brightly coloured skips will look much better than their property ever did.

For me, the issue is simple. We planners are the experts at what we do and most members of the public will never manage to comprehend the complexity of our world. Town planners always know what is best for a town and I find it annoying and insulting that nobody trusts us to do our jobs properly. Instead we are dragged out for evening meetings and have pointed fingers pressed into our chests by local ignoramuses like David Macdonald above (who also has very bad breath). The new planning system just introduced by Smart Alex and Wee Jimmy Mackinnon is almost the final straw for me.

But every cloud has a silver lining. One of the things I like about evening meetings with the public is the opportunity to meet comely young maidens who might have turned up to hear experts like myself telling them about the future of their homes. I dream that one day my evening meetings in Auchterness will be like the picture below.

Now that would be something! It gives me hope for the future. Hope that my expertise will be recognised by an appreciative audience and that planning can once again be a respected profession filled with beautiful people.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

I must be stupid!

A friend of mine in the States sent me this the other day - apparently it's been going the rounds on the internet - but I must admit that it leaves me completely baffled. It seems that there is some town planning movement called New Urbanism which is quite like a religious movement. The leaders are figures like Andrew Duany and Leslie Krier though I must admit I've never heard of either of them. It seems that our very own Wee Jimmy Mackinnon - the Chief Planner of all of Scotland - is also involved in this. He's somewhere in the painting above. They get together each year for a big conference and it's a wee bit like the Jehovah's Witnesses and their Watchtower. In fact somebody told me that Leslie Krier had designed a watch tower for these New Urbanists at a place called Seaside - you can see the similarities below.

My friends in the States regard these people as very suspicious characters, distributing pamphlets and the like as if it was going out of fashion, trying to get people to plan and pray at the same time. Here's a picture of some of them in action.

I hope this sort of thing never happens in Scotland - especially in my lovely wee Auchterness. My father used to go to church but he never mixed up his religion with his full-time job. These folk are making a big mistake if they think that the cream of Scottish planners are going to start having religious feelings - it wouldn't be right, and I'm completely confused about why our own wee Jimmy Mackinnon is involved with these perverts.