Another ugly building has gone up in Glasgow. HOW Should we stop it? Words: Raymond Lyons
uplicity increasingly seems the nortn in public life but Glasgow's
property developers are providing a little antidote. It is called Tower
464 and is coming to a Pollokshaws Road near you. Emerging from the remains of the old Ordinance Survey building is yet another ruin. My ﬂatmate showed me the fancy marketing pack last year. What was then a mild but distinct feeling of unease is now another nightmare in off-white. Well. grey. Yet honest it is. In the true spirit of Iron Curtain imagination it has been given an appropriate name. While. i suppose. Dresden. Warsaw or Red Road it ain‘t. Costa del Clyde breezeblock. monolithic shit it is.
How does it happen? Glasgow‘s Southside is dominated by beautiful red and white stone tenements. It has a number of horrors. but overall its spirit remains intact. l delude myself into thinking such horrors are but remnants of the (ills and early 70s. Then. function triumphed over form and showed this could never work. See the old regional council buildings. the Kingston Bridge or any high ﬂats you care to mention? Well-intentioned. perhaps. but fatally flawed.
But they‘re still building them all over the city. Here was me thinking planning and permission are in some way related.
Ironically. Shagaluf. as The Holiday ngmmnw told us a couple of weeks back. Here was me
is knocking these horrors down in a bid to . .
portray a higher quality. family friendly th'nklpg
image. Why‘.’ Because they‘re poor quality. plannﬂjg and ugly and cheap. Unless. of course. you have permission
more money than brains and live in _ Glasgow. If you've got £15().()()() to spare are In some for a studio cell with veranda. you too can savour ‘views‘ of the attractive garage way opposite. next to the McDonald‘s.
I look forward to waving at the no-goods — let‘s face it. these fools aren't firemen — as l stroll pass. They‘ll be sitting out sipping the products of their
juicers. delighting at the pissing rain and enjoying the unforgettable aroma of
exhaust fumes. No doubt their adventure started in the ‘marketing suite' — hmmm . . . (as if this wasn‘t a clue) — a Portakabin. now called a modular building. painted in groovy colours with free decaf for all.
Does it matter“? I think it does. Ugliness breeds contempt. Contempt kills respect and Glasgow suffers from a dearth of that already. I am not counselling unifomiity. Variety is essential. but it must enhance not detract.
Our many poorly educated. tracksuited. fellow citizens don‘t often recognise beauty but always spot shit. Especially when shoved in their faces
and totally out of their league. So much for rational planning with a mixture of
affordability and purpose. Form and function combined to foster community. Playparks over cars and people over profit. Here again is the emperor in concrete clothes. though no less transparent.
Of course. it isn’t all bad. I am confident. come the dictatorship. such an approach will spread. Maybe by giving the creatures in the City Chambers even more clout and inducements. all buildings can be named as appropriately. Tower 465 coming at you just beside Stalag 312. For now here‘s to Eldorado. Shit soap opera but great architectural style.
10 THE LIST 13—27 Feb 2003
1 The Magdalene Sisters Film Never a man who courts controversy. Peter Mullan's latest feature compares elements of the Catholic church to the Taliban. He's going to hell. See feature and review. page 20 and 25. GFT. Glasgow; Filmhouse, Edinburgh.
2 Teenage Fanclub
Music Arguably the jangliest. jauntiest band in Scottish pop history bring us a masterful compilation and offer up two chances to see them do it all in the ﬂesh. See album review. page 106. Columbia; Barrow/and, Glasgow; Liquid Room, Edinburgh.
3 Kenny Hunter
Art Technological progress biting back at the culture that developed it is one of the themes tackled by the Edinburgh-born politico-punk in his Freestyle Monumental! show. See feature. page 14. Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh.
4 The Hours
Film Stephen Daldry moves from Billy Elliot to Virginia Woolf in this Oscar-threatening. intertwining tale of three women played by madams Moore. Kidman and Streep. See preview and review. pages 24, 25 and 72. General release.
5 Rob Newman
Comedy Taking global politics as his starting point, Baddiel's ex-buddy somehow makes comedic hay out of 500 years of “humanitarian intervention'. See preview, page 69. Various venues.
6 Northern Ballet Theatre Dance Exploring the relationship between humanity and mortality is the key theme of NBT’s latest work, Requiem. See preview, page 63. Festival Theatre, Edinburgh.
7 Bio-Rhythm Presents Tayo Clubs Some of those folk behind the much- missed Belle Angele bring you Kiss 106 presenter and breakbeat pioneer Tayo. See preview, page 74. Honeycomb, Edinburgh.
TV Jack Bauer thought he’d had the longest day of his life last year. Now. some nuts are threatening LA with nuclear devastation. The clock is ticking. See Big Picture, page 8. BBC2/Three.
9 Nick Hornby
Books We've known he was an obsessive muso since High Fidelity and in 31 Songs. Hornby discusses the tunes that shaped his world. See review. page 101. Wking.
1 o BSNOICralg Armstrong Music Walter Weller conducts RSNO in the world premiere of the Glasgow composer's latest modern opus. See preview. page 46. Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow; Usher Hall, Edinburgh.