Sunday, February 2, 2014

'Giving substance to mere wind' – Orwell

Yesterday … It may have been Friday … I had the misguided idea to follow a link to the Newcastle City Council's website and read one of their "strategy statements" outlining plans for the next wave of alterations to this once marvellous city to be imposed on what is, by any standard, a quiescent populace; as if punched and bullied into a corner waiting for the bell to ring.

I glazed over as I read one 'plug and go' generic sentence following another, the deadening prose of choice of the MBA clones that write this muck for large salaries. The impressive part – impressive to beginners I suppose – is the way substance is conjured out of mere wind. Nothing is said that could not be unsaid or denied, altered, changed, transformed or 'negotiated' out of recognition.

Today I came across this piece by The Observer newspaper's architecture critic Rowan Moore commenting on a development proposal written along somewhat similar lines. Mr Moore's powers of derision are masterful. Read it for yourself by following this link.

Just in case the link lapses or there just isn't enough time in your life to lose studying the linguistic skills of charlatans, I hope Mr Moore (and his paper) will excuse a juicy quote on this blog.

"Westminster and the Edwardian group (*), however, expressed their excitement by dropping the lacquered turds of regenerative PR-speak. It would create 400 jobs, they said, ignoring the fact it would be possible to create jobs on this site and still keep the best of the old structures. They spoke of "the spiritual home of British entertainment and cinema", whose spirit they will sap. The development would be "iconic", "a focal point", and would bring "renewed vibrancy". As the great writer Ian Martin recently pointed out "vibrancy" is weasel talk for social cleansing. A pub, you might think, could be vibrant, but that hasn't saved the Hand &am Racquet."

'… lacquered turds of regenerative PR-speak'. Nice one, Rowan.

(* Developers, not a conservation society devoted to Edwardian art and life. AD.)

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