Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Great democratic spaces

Have you considered how many spaces you actually have no right to be in? Shopping malls, for example.

In the old days you had the right to stroll around your town, look at the world, stare at the world over a cup of tea and a slice of toast.

But not in a shopping mall or your supermarket or its car park or ... well you get the idea.

Try this: go into your shopping mall and start taking some photographs.

See how long it takes for a chap with a plug in his ear to come and tell you to stop.

Try this: sit on the floor and read the paper. Ditto.

Or try taking your family and friends for a roof top picnic. What could be better ... crunchy bread, warm merlot, lovely cheese ... overlooking your gorgeous town?


Not only don't you have the right to be there ... but someone or other actually employs someone or other to move you on, harass you, or have you and your family taken to the underground car park and beaten.

It's a generation now since someone pointed out that graveyards and cemeteries are some of the few remaining (haha) public spaces where one can wonder about without fear of arrest.

(Unless of course you're a 14year old with a bottle of diamond white. In which case you should also be hung. This is called irony.)

So anyway. Here are two pictures of St Stephen's Green in Dublin. They're not great pictures but it is a great democratic space.

Now i accept that the authorities probably have a whole set of bylaws under which i could be arrested. Eating the tulips on a good friday.

Or using it as a base from which to occupy the Shelbourne hotel. But it IS a public right of way (I think).

And it is - dead good.

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