Sunday, October 26, 2008
Suffering or Shopping
For several years now I've travelled to work through one of the UK's hugest building sites; above is the view out of one of the Beeb's buildings at dawn one morning a couple of years ago. I get to work at Television Centre at around seven but even then the area always throbs with activity as an army of construction workers and shop dressers troop from the White City tube station into the massive Westfield site. The shopping centre boasts two new stations as well as the revamped Shepherds Bush tube, a massive bus station, and hundreds of shops and restaurants. It's been awesome to watch it take shape, this enormous modern retail palace rising out of wasteland. Now, tantalisingly for those of us suffering BBC catering, it is within days of being opened. It's a sort of enormous corporate two fingers to the forces of downturn, and even amid the brickbats from the lefty carpers from the Telegraph who wonder why it couldn't have been a hospital or a school, I have to respect the developers ballsy attitude. They want us to shop our way out of this economic misery. It might work. Or it might be a soulless bonkers monument to what the PM calls 'the Age of Irresponsibility'.