Friday, August 24, 2012

It's all about location

The B.B.C. wrote to me. I would like to tell you it was an offer to make a programme about concreting over open spaces ... But it wasn't. Instead they simply and politely told me (and dozens more locally) that the Beeb would be undertaking filming for a children's serial in a café on our street for a week.

Such a lot of organisation goes into a film shoot. Yet, from my casual glances outside, it involves lots of people sitting around waiting, just as we have been told by so many actors on countless talk shows.

Mr T–, the lovely man who owns Tia Amo's bistro café, didn't let on when he told me he would be closing for three months to take a holiday in his native Italy. I hope someone has told him whose moved in and how much they've altered his cafés exterior ...

Meanwhile, the latest over-scaled student accommodation block is taking shape (if that is the word) beside Portland Road. There is no sign at all as yet of any work beginning on the several blocks destined for the nearby paint factory site. Given the changed circumstances and rapidly changing U.K. higher education "business model" I am not surprised.

In large part this held that there would be for some time to come a very lucrative stream of Chinese students beating a path to study in the United Kingdom. No longer true it seems, if indeed it ever was. Instead we now have the intriguing possibility of U.K. students trekking to China to take advantage of far cheaper degrees in a society where the cost of living is also well below the U.K.'s. To think: Somewhere in that vast country, constructors are getting apartments ready for a wave of foreign students flying from high fees and staggering accommodation costs.

It can happen.

But if so, what is the future for this sprawling site?

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