Two words that upset me. ‘Offices’ and ‘apartments’. Especially when they appear together. I just find them really, really, really boring.
Let me give you an example.
Guess what ‘they’ are planning on building on the old YEP site on Wellington Street? Yup, offices and apartments.
And you know the old “international” swimming pool site off the ring road? You guessed it. Offices and flippin’ apartments. BORING. BORING. BORING, BORING, BORING.
It’s as though developers have a lack of imagination. Planners too. It’s not entirely their fault, though. Most planning apps have to be waved through on the basis they comply with ‘the regs’ and there’s less chance of appealing them than there is of, say, Donald Trump not tweeting.
Still, I do have this image of ‘them’ all standing round a scale model of Leeds, hands on chins, poring over all the empty sites. One ruminates: “What do you think we should have here, Phil?” He points at an eyesore.
His colleague, who is also called Phil, pauses just long enough to make it seem as though he’s come up with something, then chirps: “Offices and apartments.”
Everyone nods. Until, that is, a figure (hitherto unseen) slowly detaches himself from the back wall, momentarily unnerving the Phils. He walks very deliberately forward, emerging from a cloud of cigar smoke and adjusts his fedora just for effect.
The Man-in-black thumps his fists on the table and raises his head just enough so the Phils catch the steely glint in his eyes.
“No, gentlemen,” he begins, “Offices and apartments will not do. Not any more. Not on their own.” And they all stare at him agog (and one dribbles slightly, staining his grey shirt). “What we need is something a little more… [at this point channelling Jack Nicholson] avante garde.”
And then he says: “You can have your offices and apartments. But on the top I want a huge climbing frame, a chicken coup, a roof made of grass, a slide from the top to the bottom, an infinity pool, some llamas, the world’s smallest coffee shop, a palm tree, an eagle, a church, a mini-golf course, a zip-wire, a giant bucket of popcorn…”
Man-in-black savours the looks of confusion on the Phils, then adds with machiavellian glee: “And a fully active missile base with nuclear capability.”
Now that’s what I’m talking about.