I have a lot of LEGO MOCs (My Own Creations) around my desk at home – I can use these to provide scenery backdrops when the use of flat card just isn’t quite right. One of those is “Brick Lane” – I call it that having bought the street sign a while back from firestartoys.com. More recently, I’ve bought a few printed tiles with train/rail signs (announce display, exit sign, parking, bus timetables etc) and consequently my Brick Lane started to shape itself towards a railway station concourse, such as the ones found at Waterloo, Kings Cross and St Pancras – but I’m sure that they are not alone in this.
The build itself was relatively straight foward and I’m quite happy with it:
It was only when I started to photograph it that my creative thinking started to head towards much darker thinking. Whether it was the fact that I realised that these concourses were starting to look all the same, that the rise of the chain store (think coffee shops) was only paused by the equally priced “artisan” independent store and that everything was heading into “lifestyle” choices (as an example, I quite often find myself dealing with conference calls before I get my train home – so end up sitting in the upstairs posh bar rather than the grubby ‘always been there’ public house downstairs). I realised that as well as having to pay for the privilege of spending a penny, there are never any locations for mums to feed their toddlers – and there’s rarely a quiet area for them either. And even with the rise of accessibility everywhere, these shops are usually so small that it is difficult to navigate your baby stroller or wheelchair around them. Plus, with the rise of expensive lifestyle shops there is a greater requirement for “mall security”.
Perhaps this is just a response to what “people want”. The rise of certain shops and brands is a self-serving prophecy – and yet as we all buy the same as our neighbour we all demand to be treated as individuals – and yet if anyone does dress individually then they are viewed as weird.
I did debate whether to include this creative thinking on my blog, as it is a bit dark and gloomy (or at least the content is). But perhaps that is the challenge of art – what someone may not like may be exactly what someone else did like.