This weekend I had the pleasure of a little jaunt down to the glorious city by the Sea, that is Brighton.
It was my first visit in almost Twenty years, which is difficult to imagine as my seasonally adjusted age shows that I am only 26 years old, or thereabouts.
Joining me on this lapsed pilgrimage, were Mrs OT Strange and Mini OT Strange, neither of whom had been to Brighton, and were somewhat sceptical of my exuberant descriptions of a city paved in cool.
Needless to say they, their expectations were not disappointed, Mini OT Strange was keen on buying the entire stock of rubber ducks in The Duck House and Mrs OT Strange has been crunching numbers as to us affording to move there. (I suspect that this would involve me having to sell whats left of my organs as I am too old to be a Rent boy)
This leads me comfortably onto the point of this particular post, the housing prices in Brighton are comparable to London, which if you have been living under a rock are around £1000+ p/m for a one bedroom flat.
Supply and demand therefore would suggest that the demand to live in Brighton outweighs the supply and that most folk who live in Brighton are willing, or at least able, to afford the rental/purchase prices. (This isn’t my point, so don’t @ me)
The point that I would argue is, that besides the geographical and aesthetic qualities of Brighton, it is the culture of the City which is just as attractive.
This to me, suggests that such a culture or ‘spirit’, if you will, is a desirable quality when selecting somewhere to live.
Which begs the question, why is Brighton a lone soul against a bastion of inward facing, backward thinking and crumbling cities across the UK?
Aesthetics aside, I would suggest that with some ambition more cities and towns could harness the similar forward thinking and dare I say progressive cultures of their own?
With stories in the newspapers over the weekend of a drive to get folk back into offices, ‘to save the local economy’, I find it quite depressing that our post-lock down lives are being funnelled down the same old shit encrusted sluice as before.
The new normal is just the same as a the old normal only a bit shitter and with even less hope of real change.
It has often been said that folk growing up in areas of urban and social decline often lack ambition, because they are no real opportunity to do so – therefore why bother? Even to the point of not wanting to show ambition, for fear of friends and family seeing them as being ‘snooty’ or ungrateful for their local things and local ideas.
City centres across the country have been in their knees for many years, I would suggest that NOW is the time for real change to be had. A good friend of mine suggested that town centres become ‘adventure playgrounds for young and old’. A place for local independent traders or arts and crafts, providing REAL opportunities for local people to imprint their identity upon their own spaces.
A restoration of public space for the sake of public space, away from the constant drive of plastic manufactured consumption.
However it is unlikely that the high priced business rates would be affordable for such a venture. In part because too many city councils are busy playing Monopoly with our council tax money to wish to change this position.
Hollywood seems caught in a loop of re-boots and re-makes, whilst not ideal at least a re-boot shows some ambition to change the original for the better.
Whereas a re-make is little more than a poor facsimile of the original, like an over photocopied poster or flyer, or a conservative MP trying to save their career by wearing a red tie and pretending to be New Labour.
In the long term our political leaders will pay the price for their lack of ambition as the town centre as we know it, is already dead and pretty soon is gonna stink the whole damn country out.