Words: Dale Lately Image: Paddy Baxter
… Now, of course, the entire centre of the city had been rebuilt – taking advantage of the land cleared by the bomb to create a utopian community based on the shared values of universal equality and common ownership. Had they? No. But they had built a huge new shopping centre – directly in place of the huge old shopping centre, in fact – where the citizens of one of the largest urban communities in the United Kingdom could come and express their civic duties by eating some KFC and then buying a pair of Primark tights made in an Indonesian sweatshop. And let’s face it, shopping doesn’t get much more British than that.
Near Canal Street I passed a construction site for a new block of studio flats called ‘Origin’, where a hoarding below combined a sort of mixture of agit-prop and neuro-linguistic programming to appeal to its property-investing target market. There was a series of moody, cool looking models, sorted by ethnicity: a guy in a business suit who looked a bit like Jay-Z, a funky Asian girl, a white woman in a flirty purple cocktail dress. They were like shop dummies for the luxury flats taking shape behind them: display mannequins, really, and each had a few words beside them in giant typeface that were supposed to sum up something or other in a zeitgeisty kind of way. ‘Efficient, Effortless And Individual,’ it said beneath the businessman who looked a bit like Jay-Z. The Asian girl got: