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2012 Arts & Culture

A creative future for the Media Centre - as a Storage Unit!

Anna Harding of Space Studios recently described the Media Centre as a 'darned insult to Hackney'. Now the London Assembly Economic Development, Culture, Sport and Tourism Committee has issued a report that reinforces her criticism. It says 'The East London Business Alliance has worked with a number of media companies considering plans for the media centre, and reported complaints about narrow pillar spacings, low ceilings, the roof being too weak to support rigging equipment and the lack of central heating, which would reduce its attractiveness to tenants from the industry.'

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Put out more Olympic flags

Mayor BoJo plans to spend £32million on dressing up the centre of London around 'iconic' Trafalgar Square for the Olympics even though the Games are actually happening several miles away to the east. As has already been noted East London just isn't iconic enough. This culturally vital project includes covering a large area around Trafalgar Square with flags, inflatable boxers and an arch over the Westway in the shape of a high jumper. A zip wire will take people eye to eye with iconic Nelson atop his pillar. Well, if they can put up a 115 metres tall leaning sculpture on the Olympic Park and a cable car over the Thames why not a zip wire over Trafalgar Square?

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CABE Conspire in Orbit Sustainability Scam

CABE - the "government's advisor on architecture, urban design and public space" - have been routinely wheeled out to provide token criticisms of the London Olympic planning proposals.

The design review of the London 2012 ArcelorMittal Orbit is no exception. The review shows earnest concern for "artistic integrity", while being seemingly oblivious to the conflict entailed in jamming a restaurant, lifts, toilets and viewing platforms inside a structure whose raison d'etre is a marketing monument for its sponsors and the imperative of filling an empty area with a 'must-see' visitor attraction at short notice.

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Theatre Royal Stratford succumbs to Olympiad Octopus

Oh! What a Lovely Olympics. What would Joan Littlewood make of the Theatre Royal, Stratford, becoming entangled in the Cultural Olympiad? According to the BBC 'there has arguably been no challenge in its history that compares to the coming of the Olympic Games'. This banal assertion ignores the near demolition of the theatre by the property developers responsible for Stratford's remarkably uninteresting shopping mall and the creation of one of the most innovative theatre projects in Britain in post-War times by Joan Littlewood and Gerry Raffles. These two pioneers aren't even mentioned in the article or by the present crop of Theatre Royal thespians.

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Kapoor's bit of steel needs 'mundane' redesign

CABE has sent the already iconic Kapoorbit back to the drawing board. The design has some 'mundane' flaws in its entrance pavilion, viewing platforms, lift and stairs. CABE fears that "Without these details being submitted as part of the planning submission, we, and the planning authority, are being asked to take on trust that they will be elegantly resolved."

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A twisty spiral of intrigue

Dave Hill coyly points to Tory Troll on '...cronyism from City Hall' and the Mirror's tabloid hanky-panky with some property developing people and money behind BoJo's 'throbbing red-veined

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Anish Kapoor's red-knotted coiltrumpet

Ah well, I should know by now that any consultation exists solely to tick administrative boxes, so I probably won't bother submitting any choice thoughts this time round

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No such thing as a free lunch - East London's arts hijacking

Cultural Health Warning -

Exactly how free is that free lunch?

Whether it's BP sponsorship at the Tate or the 'Cultural Olympiad', the use of the arts as a 'soft marketing' tool has a capacity to undermine their value and spoil the enjoyment of those who read the small print and care about context.


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