Jonathan Meades

Bland Nightmares

A New Kind of Bleak: Journeys Through Urban Britain


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In A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain Owen Hatherley cast his exhilaratingly miserabilist eye over the Blair era’s ‘regeneration’ of cities such as Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Cardiff. The former prime minister may have gone off to spend more time with his tax advisers but the resistible fruits of the boom he presided over remain, grinning all too accessibly, just asking to be savaged. And they have been joined by the stylistically kindred, happily vacuous tectonic bling of Gordon Brown’s mercifully brief stewardship, and of what Hatherley insists on calling the ‘Tory–Whig coalition’, a moniker the dubious accuracy of which suggests either a misreading of Dave’n’Nick’s desperately dependent cohabitation or an atypically frail grasp of distant sectarianism. 

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