Really, nobody gives a fuck. Today it’s a empty space, a ghost town, but has it really been anything more? Does anybody have any fond memories of the place? Devoid of shops you can see the artless early nineties post-modern design, which looks a lot like the pastel flourishes of late eighties blandness. Even the Evening Mail’s frothing gang of wow merchants can’t summon the energy to care in this hilariously empty “news” article.
Six years ago I’m at a public exhibition speaking to an Argent representative about the redevelopment of the Central Library, they’re pretty vague but they’re talking about turning the whole area into their other achievement Brindleyplace and the Gas St Basin. I swear for a little bit, and leave.
Recently it’s been used as a shortcut to the bus stops opposite Moor St and a place for the bus drivers to eat their lunch. My fondest memory was an art installation that used some of the empty units a few years ago. Culture in the gaps.
My good friend wrote “Capitalism disappoints” and stripped of the shops the Pavilions echos with emptiness and exposes this disappointment. Places like this aren’t built for anyone to like they’re built so not to offend, mixed use developments and the such are tin crowns waiting for the cubic zirconia of retail ”experiences”. And they’re spreading. Costume jewellery for a beauty contest where we aspire for second place.
A few days ago, I’m in Parkside, in the student pub built into the redevelopment, Caroline is talking to the barman:
“So what’s all that going to be when it’s finished?” she points to the building site outside
“Oh it’ll be really nice, shops and cafes like Gas St Basin”.
Birmingham is being bled, hung by its ankles and having all the character drained from its wrists by a council hemorrhaging money just as quickly and a corporate sphere intent on turning pale bland and “nice” a thousand chain coffee shops and water features your kids aren’t allowed to play in.
And when these developments close, no one will care, shops are brands filled with brands and those cards will be shuffled and dealt as different hands somewhere else and this game goes on in every city in Europe, the only winner capitalism. So fuck you Palisades** it was a mercy killing.
*or Palisades , who can remember?
**or Pavilions, who fucking cares?