Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Silly names for buildings

What is this thing with giving buildings silly names? ‘Government Office for Yorkshire and the Humber’ (in itself a silly name – what kind of river needs an office?) is based in a place called ‘Lateral’. I’ve seen it referred to as ‘the Lateral Building’. This sounds like someone who still has some sense of the use of language trying to make the best of a bad job. Its real name is however ‘Lateral’. This will date it at least as precisely as ‘Mafeking Terrace’ or whatever.

On Burley Road in Leeds (and I really am not making this up) you may find ‘Concept Place’ directly opposite ‘Opal One’. These are not of course abstract concepts somehow made concrete and plonked in the physical world but cheap blocks of student flats. They’re exactly like the 60s ones that everyone agrees were horrid. Actually, that’s not quite true because they have bits of funny shaped metal attached to them at regular intervals. They’re painted in lilac and green and have holes in (the metal bits that is). This makes them completely different to the 60s type blocks obviously. Mind you, the rust marks that have already appeared look broadly similar. If I live another 30 years I shall be able to say ‘I told you so’. Mind you, the whole of Leeds city centre is the same. Who’d have thought that the mistakes of the 60s and 70s would be digested in the 80s, demolished in the 90s and built again in the 2 thousands (no, I’m not going to say ‘noughties’ thank you).

Me, I’m off to live on Deep Space Nine.

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