Thursday, September 13, 2018

Burning down the house

GSA 2018 (the aftermath), water colour and pastel. Prints are available.
There's been a deafening silence across all fronts since the last Great Fire of Glasgow. No news or explanation, no plan for investigation or actual inquiry. Not even a sycophantic, mealy mouthed report from the BBC. A huge area of Glasgow has been devastated, shops, homes, businesses, traffic and pedestrian access have been affected at who knows what cost but nothing has been said. Not even a proper sorry (for compelling legal reasons I'm sure). 

I visited the scene (well got as close as you can get), peered through the dust and the security fence and despite the gusty conditions executed a quick water colour of the site. Bemused tourists, eager to sample the various Big Mac Willow Tearoom attractions looked on, photo phones were clicked and brows were scratched. Nobody's saying anything much about this bomb site. 

Security is tight, there's danger here. There's also a brave new world of blameless acts bubbling under, no pointing fingers, no explanation. The stricken locals and general public couldn't handle the truth could they? The courageous  fire fighters and emergency services will have their own ideas but they remain gagged by the council, the intelligentsia and awkward procedures. Maybe a faulty toaster left by a hapless security guard, a cigarette end, vandalism, poor design or management, no fire plan or adequate health and safety cover; you choose. The artists, academics and board of governors have closed ranks. Heritage and history are competing for cash in this impractical and cruel age of austerity. Don't kid yourself either as to where the heart and soul of Glasgow is, it's not anywhere in this ruin.

It'll take a good business case to regenerate this burned out modern folly and the cash shouldn't come easily, I'm pretty sure there's no appetite for a second phoenix like attempt from the Glasgow public. What do you want? A new Art College or an atmospheric Hampden Park? What about decent housing, infrastructure, clean spaces and a respectful town plan that allows ordinary people to live their lives in safety and with an educated dignity? Never mind the flags, the tourists, the rich overseas students and the vanity projects. That's the cart, the horse is the Art College and the rest.

A would be artist's impression.

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