The title of this post sums it up really. Unfortunately, there possibly won’t be any photos to accompany this post. Unless I find the ones I’m looking for and I convince myself that I’m not doing anything libellous.
Few things irk me more than it should. Car alarms going off every thirty seconds when it is actually parked outside my bakery and I have to listen to it for what feels like hours. Every single time, I have to stop myself from unleashing my mighty artistic skills with a bold Sharpie pen on their windscreen.
People sitting on the top of the backrest of park benches. Just why? How can that possibly be any more comfortable than sitting down properly?
People who drive big urban 4×4 fuel guzzling tanks when the only trip they do is from their town house to Waitrose.
I appreciate I am being somewhat excessive.
And then, there are the ones that justifiably piss me off. Let me paint you a picture, but before that some sort of background. A few months ago, Chichester rested its elbows on the dining table and somehow took a chill pill. The good council of Chichester allowed for the Chichester Street Art to happen.
Being a Conservative, traditional Cathedral City, it did not put up any protest against this public display of artistic expression. Artists from all over the would came into the city and with the permission of the landlords, installed works of arts on blank building walls. I thought it was amazing. The residents of Chichester that I have come across absolutely love it and the #Chichester Twitter feed was alive and buzzing about this event.
Being fortunate enough to own the building that the bakery is in, we granted Samo, a Petersfield based artist/tattooist to paint the brick wall on the side of the bakery’s building.
Here it is finished.
And here is a cool shot taken by Nadia Stephens Photography.
The response to it was immense. We had great feedback both on Twitter and also on Facebook, and in actual real life, people were coming over to see it in person.
Fast forward a few weeks, a gentleman on a bicycle complete with his trousers bicycle clips, walked into the bakery and without introducing himself, asked if we had given permission for the wall to the painted.
Is it on of the official list of street art festival?
Oh, said he.
I’m sorry. Just who are you and what is our interest in this?
Apparently he’s from conservation. Notice how I wasn’t even afforded the courtesy of a name or a full title of the organisation that he was representing. Apparently ‘they’ were concerned about the increased amount of street art that has been popping up recently.
And your issue with this particular painting?
Apparently it wasn’t very nice. The paint runs looked untidy. Oh yes, never mind that is the style of the artist. “I don’t like it”, he said.
Resisting the temptation to follow him home and tell him how I detested the way his garden grew, I politely informed him that it is a matter of opinion and that everyone else I’ve spoken to liked it.
He tried to ask me if I had sought the Council’s permission to put the painting up and looked rather crestfallen when I pointed out a fact that he obviously had already known – that just like the street art installations, no permission was needed from the council and that it only required the approval of the landlord.
It was when he asked when the painting was going to be taken down and me replying When it washes off that I think he realised that I was a lost cause and communication should cease promptly.
And I don’t understand this attitude. The need to preserve a great city exactly like its one dimensional postcard image. Stagnant, devoid of activity and a mere snapshot for passing visitors. The council grovelling for visitors to come visit and spend their money in the city and at the same in, driving its residents out of town to spend their money there. The same attitude that fuelled the bewildering Council decision to want to plough 70K into refitting a shop dedicated for local produces to be run by a local business which somehow will need to be able to pay the extortionate rent and business rates of in excess of 60K a year. You’re going to have to sell a hell of an amount of jams to make that amount.
And don’t even get me started on how they managed to massacre the Butter Market on North Street. That Council funded 70K could have gone a LONG way to rejuvenate the Butter Market and preserve its use for small independent shops.
How did this viewpoint:
We’re very aware that Chichester has seen a number of redevelopments in recent years, which have often left nothing more of the original buildings than a shell or exterior façade. That is not what we want for the Butter market.
We believe a more ethical and flexible approach to retail business is required; an approach that echoes the original purpose of the Butter Market in serving the needs of the consumers and producers of Chichester, rather than one which regards an historic building as simply an attractive shell for the ubiquitous modern retail mall.
Our vision is to see a return of the “toll” model originally used in the Butter Market. This will ensure that the consumer and producer are not used as a simple margin to be exploited in the retail environment. The toll model is a simple and fair way of bringing produce to market because charges to the producer are based on profits, which ensures that the producer retains a sustainable margin while the consumer pays a sustainable cost. In other words, producers benefit, consumers benefit, and Chichester benefits.
It is already recognised as a renowned retailing centre and there is now an opportunity to take retailing to a new level with the conversion of the historic Butter Market into a top end shopping experience.
Distinguished brands and luxury goods retailers will have an opportunity to connect with the inherent prosperity and wealth created by centuries of commerce in and around this flourishing Cathedral City.
The Butter Market aspires to become the benchmark in the retail environment for bespoke and distinctive retailers.
So, we sit and watch historical buildings like this butchered. The Butter Market was apparently 200 years in the making and it was destroyed in an instance by greed. We hear of yet more independent shops closing down due to extortionate business rates, and yet, it appears to be the main bugbear of the Council is the growing number of A boards on the high street.
Some people just need to get over themselves.
I have one proposition. The people who make decisions about the city centre will need to be actually living in the city centre.