Monday, 5 March 2012

Why, this is hell, nor am I out of it…

… says Mephostophilis in Dr. Faustus.

I thought of these lines, and the mammoth failings of urban planners, when I read that only 55 Valencia fans came to Stoke for the Europa Cup match last month, compared with the 6000+ Potters who descended on the Spanish city.

I suspect the quality of urban architecture and planning would improve rapidly if all students of the subject - like my dear cousin - were made to take a sandwich year in Stoke, Hull, Blackburn or any of the other despoiled and depressed cities which litter the country ('Come friendly bombs, and fall on Slough / It's not fit for humans now', as Betjeman wrote in a snobbishly unpleasant poem).

I give you in evidence, some shots of Hanley Bus Station (rest here) - Hanley's the principal shopping area in the Six Towns which make up Stoke-on-Trent. Someone had a go at gaiety… and failed miserably.

Quite pleased with this one - good strong lines

I used to eat here, when Modern Life is Rubbish persuaded me that greasy spoon cafés were romantic. 

Could be worse: could be Detroit (warning: contains heartbreak), although that city has a certain grandeur in its ruins.

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