Friday, October 03, 2014
If you were given an assignment at school to write an essay on "why Swindon isn't a shit hole" it would be tough. A town centre laid out in random streets with no obvious pattern or core, a selection of run down shops, bleak hotels and drunks and vagabonds wandering everywhere at 7.30 on a Monday evening. Who says first impressions don't count. But I want to love or at least feel some kind of low level of fondness for Swindon, home of XTC and the Great Western Railway and that towering (but tiny), cigar chomping Victorian mastermind IKB.
The past screams silently. Great railway terraces dot the horizon, details and slated roofs fight for space under a gloomy sky, the faded glory of steam claws to survive amid shielded outlets, bland malls, badly wired traffic systems and so much concrete clutter that you wonder just what the planners were thinking. "Here's a nice little railway town, let's just obliterate it because clearly the Luftwaffe failed so now we can do our worst and nobody will care." I'm sure Karma will reward these people in due course, maybe it's happened already, just being there might be punishment enough. Meanwhile IKB slowly rotates in his grave and reflects on how he got the rail gauge size right whilst the rest of the world got it wrong. Top bloke.