Monday, November 4, 2013

One for Christmas Reading

I know it is bit early (though the shops are full of Christmas items despite there being still green leaves on the trees) but some exciting news this weekend from The Observer. A new book on architectural critic and contrarian writer Ian Nairn is published and a programme on BBC Television Four in the offing.

Nairn will just not go away.

Ian Nairn 1930-83

A devoted if small number of admirers have never quite let his memory fade after he he died in 1983 just short of  the young age of 53 (from alcoholism); thereafter he turned up infrequently in short tributes or asides in other people's broadcasts.

Nairn's grasp of the importance of the built environment and the curse of modern 'planning' could be wilful but always large and wholehearted. He taught me as a teenager half a century ago reading his pieces (in The Observer), to look, to note and appreciate what was there, existing and real, the accumulation of buildings, artefacts, roofs and pavements that makes a place a place; the then often unappreciated and neglected, carriers of stories we should and must (for his was a moral concern at its core) attend to, letting it inform our lives, and by so doing give significance to the meaning of living.

Please read The Observer's Rowan Moore review of Nairn's life and influence here (off site link).

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