Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Time stands still for no one – not even me. I guess you have to be a Time Lord for this not to apply.

Valentines Day was made extra special by a late Garcia goal. Not sure whose idea it was to have Liverpool vs Arsenal on 14th February. But I was very good, not listening to the match during dinner and the “quality” time that followed. I think my wife finds it a strange experience though when Liverpool scores if I am in the same room. I use wireless headphones (forget the hype – only buy AKG) so it came a bit of a shock when I start dancing around the room last night as we finally scored. Looks like we have finally shaken off the curse of 2 consecutive Barclays Manager of the Month awards. Few teams seem to survive for long after it has been awarded. Even worse can be the Manager of the Year – the classic being George Burley (then of Ipswich Town) whose team immediately got relegated the next season. I think David Moyes won it last year (and is current Manager of the Month) which might explain Everton’s sudden exit from Europe and poor early form this season. Just a theory…..

Of late I have started coming to work via Elephant & Castle on a number of days as I can get a tube direct to Paddington. Today was no exception. It was also one of those embarrassing days when I managed to fall flat on my face as I tripped over the steps at the station. Ironically I almost did the same thing in the same spot last week so perhaps it’s not me at fault?

Elephant & Castle mall is a strange place - a shopping centre without a soul.

Too small to attract the kind of shops you normally get in large shopping centres. So it seems to be filled with discount and money transfer shops. Back in the 80s at the height of the then property boom one of the great “scams” took place at Elephant & Castle. Up until then it had become a place overrun with dodgy characters – but then the civil servants moved out and the office building was to be converted into “luxury” flats with shops and restaurants at ground level. The planners were very smart in marketing the property – nearly all the flats were sold “off plan” to investors in the Far East who thought they were getting a luxury flat in the heart of London – the pictures used in the brochure gave the impression that places like Parliament were just over the road – amazing what you can do with a zoom lense from the top of the building. It must have come as quite a shock to new buyers to discover that they had bought a flat in one of the more run-down areas of London and with one of the biggest council estates in London as their neighbour. The promised restaurants & shops never materialised apart from a newsagents. Today the outside of the building looks worse than before the civil servants moved out.

There are plans to re-develop much of Elephant & Castle – the pink elephant will be no more Aside from the shopping precinct being demolished there are also plans for the Heygate Estate which dominates the area. I’ve seen some big blocks of flats during my travels around the world, especially in Poland but the scale of those at Elephant & Castle seems to dwarf them all. I’ve been lucky with the places where I’ve lived. OK the odd fleapit in Brixton when I was younger – but I guess that is part of growing up. For many living on the Heygate Estate their lives will consist of the same concrete jungle view day in day out, too afraid to step out after dark, and for some, the day as well. It will be another 5 years before the work is completed – and I guess there will be numerous problems along the way as promises of funding disappear and costs start to overrun. But at least it may bring new hope to the community.

For a cool (ie, dispassionate) discussion of the (in)validity of the Manager of the Month award, see David Runciman's excellent review of 'Mourinho: Anatomy of a Winner' in the London Review of Books
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?