Dear reader, I was flicking thought the Guardian, and reading an article about squats in inner London. The artcle paid particular reference to the Aylesbury Estate. I remember it well, I took a wrong turn whilst pushing a pram in Elephant and Castle with my young son in it, and found myself in an alternate reality. I’d stepped beyond the tourist bubble.
The article demonstrated what Melboune would be like before too long. That is to become a place of extraordinary contrasts. Between the uber wealthy and the indecribably poor. I gleaned from the images that all these poor bastards, shown in squats, in parks, hanging about in car parks, any piece, any fragment of open space they could find and utilise as “free-space” were happy. They were hanging about, broke, penniless, and bereft, but they had one thing, a sense of community. Under threat from developers, government and opportunitsts. They make these spaces live and breathe, as marginalised “others”, the proverbial cockroaches, and survive in “improved” urban environments, as an affront to “respectable gentrified society’.
Respectable gentrified society whether it be in Melbourne, London or Mumbai have a way of turning life dead. Ossification is what happens when you establish a monoculture. Searching for a reason I found one. It’s all of us. It’s the same with Trump. It’s what made Hillary unpalatable. Whilst we allow it to happen it rolls on. But there is one element which really irks, Photoshop.
In the Guardian article, there’s a vast slab of Southbank, (the one in London) that is being transformed into luxury apartments, another gentrified “ gated “ community. Another urban transformation, a “loss of grain”, as the planners would say. Another “metrocentric enclave”. But its more than that, there’s something much more sinister, and its all revealed in the image.
It’s Farenheit 451 bought to you by Photoshop. It’s not real. This is the beauty of computer generated images. It distills the complexity of the real world into simple logo-ised icons, and they’re incredibly revealing.
Take a look at the picture. It’s full of terribly successful enterprising females, (No Harvey Weinstein’s here). They clutch designer handbags. They agressively wear suglasses that cost a weeks wages. And they’re all incredibly fucking busy. Even when they’re walking. And they have water bottles. If you’re really important you clutch a water bottle. The same you imperiously slurp out of at business management meetings, and framework scoping meetings. And you’re always in between gym gear, pilates gear and some formal casual hybrid. And the only indicator of what stage of dress or formality you’re at is the label. Which proclaims; “Jeez, this tracksut cost me five hundred pounds, and some poor bastard in Bangladesh got pais five pence for it”.
It’s a gated community. It’s a bubble.
This is the Brave New World. We are all depleted. It’s an irony free zone in which each of us is worthless, and yet terribly conscious of our place in the greater scheme of things. Irony, humour, insight, memory and humanity are not measured in metrics or on photo shop.
Humanity risks being deleted.