Sunday, October 11, 2009

Thinking It Over and Over

Things are likely to be a little quiet around these parts for a while as an onerous work load (oh poor old me) takes its toll. I will at some point pop up in various places writing on topics as varied as the return of James Wines to the architectural consciousness, the geography of heavy metal and why suburbia isn't funny anymore, but for the moment all I can do is point you in the direction of some good writing elsewhere.

Entschwindet und Vergeht is superb as usual on the uses and abuses of the Crystal Palace and yer Owen Hatherley is terrific on the joys of dancing to the digital angles of electroclash. Also, check out his link to an intriguing and (to me) unknown lost monument in the excellently titled Iron, Glass and Failure post.

Slightly redundantly I will echo Murphy's endorsement of the Sesquipedalist's excellent series of photo's of the ruins of Gillespie, Kidd and Coia's St Peter's Seminary. Mockitecture has a convincingly Venturian post on decorated Brutalism, as well as a fine collection of photos of Burger King's Whopper from around the world. And I've been enjoying this site a lot recently. It slightly does my head in visually, but has a fabulous collection of interior photos ranging from Sol Le Witt's house to a collection of empty and desolately beautiful nightclub interiors, all velvet seats covered in cigarette burns and scuffed dancefloors.

The AOC have another new blog site for their latest teaching outpost, this year looking at the Thames Valley. I'll be spending a lot of time in the wilds of Kent myself, as the expansion of Lydd Airport into the otherwise silent marshes of Rainham is the setting for a project I'll be teaching at Canterbury architecture school this semester. In this - if not in all other senses - I'm not as glamorous as my colleague, who is teaching an Intermediate Unit at the AA this year entitled the Pop Vernacular Research Laboratory.

Also, when FAT make their much heralded return to Yale in the New Year, we will be bringing our students over to see the lovely East Kent coast (lucky them) where we will go on a booze cruise, draw sections through cross channel ferries, attempt to dissect the various dubious notions of Britishness bound up around the place and generally roll in the clover on the White Cliffs of Dover.

The photo at the top of this post shows the extraordinary infrastucture of Dover. Note the road into the harbour, which descends past Dover Castle before sweeping you over the edge of the cliff, around the town and down in a loop onto the bleak concrete forecourt of the terminal itself.

From there you can drive onto a boat full of nutters playing fruit machines on their way to France to buy inordinate quantities of cheap booze. Trundling the other way is an ever increasing number of container lorries full of washing machines, clothes and children's toys. Countless B&B's cater for asylum seekers and their tabloid mirror image, illegal immigrants. The town is a locus for national pride and - sorry to say - a bit of a shit hole. This is, in some senses, England.

Incidentally, while researching Dover I came across this.

(Image at the top of the post is via)