Saturday, 12 October 2013

George Square isn't so bad!

The magnificent George Square in Glasgow
You know, I was down in Glasgow this week at a very important meeting with some of the country's other though-leaders. I travelled down on one of Scotrail's finest diesel trains freshly painted in our nation's new livery with the Saltire prominent at the front and back. I thought a lot about the days when trains and their engines had good names like The Talisman pulled by Sir Nigel Gresley - much better than the 06:50 to Glasgow Queen Street with BBC Scotland 50 Years on the side or whatever it said. That's progress for you!

Anyway I digress. After my meeting, during which I must admit I fell asleep as the agenda moved as slowly as a farmer's wife on Union Street, I had some time to kill. It was a nice day so I went to George Square, bought a pie in Greggs and settled down in the sunshine.

Now I've been careful to restrain myself on the subject of George Square as it has been mired in all sorts of legal goings-on concerning the abortive competition, deplorable events in a car park at night while the boyfriend was at home cooking the mince and tatties and Council staff getting all worked up too. Honestly it would make a great television drama. My take on all of this is that none of the designs was up to much. So now the Council have embarked on this new initiative - they've implemented some temporary works for the benefit of all the foreign types arriving next year for the Commonwealth Games.

As I sat there in the sun composing my thoughts, some of the gravy from my pie ran up my sleave. I was so angry as this meant I would have to keep my jacket on in the train in case people saw the stains and thought I was disturbed. Anyway, there were many people in the Square taking photographs, eating their lunch and feeding the pigeons. Others were happily dropping litter and a group of idiots were trying to play football - running over the new flower beds. It was a happy scene - nice seats, some lovely green grass and a lovely grey surface - classy - and thoughtful. Next year most people in the Square will be drunk and in need of places to lie down so the grass is ideal. There were also lots of fat girls around which is so typically Glasgow - most were on the fizzy drinks or picking their noses.

I suppose this is what some planners call a Plaice - it's a sort of pretentious way of describing something when you can't think of another name for it. It's a trick that we planners get up to sometimes and it is recommended by the Scottish Government who have produced guidance on Plaicemaking - believe it or not! It's a bit of an industry in this country - a bunch of attention seeking folk decide that they will tell everyone else what is completely obvious. People who know these things don't need this sort of advise and the rest aren't interested in adopting it anyway. But so it goes on.

I'm sure the fat burds and footballing neds in George Square are grateful for these changes. Judging from the papers, a lot of people seem to like it - of course these are just the opinions of the great unwashed. You might have expected an expert planner's view to be different but it isn't - I like it and congratulate everyone involved in this carefully thought out and modest project. Let's leave the chattering middle classes to criticise and fester over minor design issues. In truth the biggest mistake the Council made was not seeing the Square as a potential development site - now that would have made a big difference!

No comments: