Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The most extraordinary detail that's actually still there is the tube. The fact that people don't look at it is proof of its efficiency, perhaps, but that aside it's the most beautiful urban public transport system anywhere outside of the former Soviet Union, and I've often taken friends around just to see specific things on the Underground—the futurism of the Jubilee Line extension, the seedy, Lavatorial art nouveau stations of Leslie Green, the themed tiles on the ‘60s Victoria Line, Paolozzi's murals at Tottenham Court Road, the capacious arches of the original 1860s cut-and-cover stations like Baker Street, the doorless trains on the East London Line extension, and most of all the interwar stations of Charles Holden, from St James' Park with its mini-skyscraper and Epstein's sculptures above, to the gorgeous little brick cathedrals of Oakwood or Sudbury Town. It's a whole city in itself, and despite the lack of loos, the privatization and the lamentable lack of solidarity shown by commuters towards tube drivers when they go on strike, sometimes I think it's a better city than the one above it—certainly a more egalitarian one.

Owen Hatherley interviewed by Nathalie Handal on Words Without Borders

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Unrelated to this post, but I just discovered your blog yesterday and have been reading through it with interest. The posts on your unhappy experiences in publishing were brave of you to write.

I published a novel ten years ago, I thought it would be enjoyable but it was one of the most wounding experiences of my life. I won't bore you with the details, but if I dared speak about it to anyone I know, they'd tell me I should just be grateful to have had a literary novel published at all, and reviewed by the Times, Guardian etc. So I keep silent...and feel grateful when others speak on the routine casual cruelty of publishing.