Aside #2

To put flesh on this idea, I have suggested myself, for example, that some inhabitants of my home town (Portsmouth) have resisted the attempts of local planners both to modernise and ‘heritagise’ the city. They insist of using the old names for areas of the city, for example, and some even navigate or direct others by reference to buildings that were demolished some thirty years ago or to streets that have now disappeared beneath the redevelopments. Where a visiting poet or flâneur might see the city centre as a witty postmodern pastiche of the parochial and the modernist, I see it as a testimony to the mix of forward thinking and corruption that accompanied the redevelopment, and I still resent the mixture of capitalist and architectural arrogance that led to the monstrosity called the ‘Tricorn’ development, an appalling grey concrete multi-story car park looming over a failed attempt to gentrify what was once Portsmouth’s main street market. In a surrealist moment, I see the old Naval and Admiralty buildings as traces of a repressed ‘deep’ structure of suffering and coping  by the people that built them or worked in them, and, despite the local authority’s attempts to abolish that past, we insiders still recognise and remember it.