Watching contractors fitting-out a baguette food outlet failed to stir our columnist last night but at least he missed the football
Anyone hoping to see the awe-inspiring manifestation of state-of-the- art construction operation that is the fitting out of an Upper Crust sandwich unit in last night’s programme on the begetting (or should that be baguetting?) of St Pancras International will have been sorely disappointed.
Graham Greene said that it is interesting to watch ordinary people doing extraordinary things, or to watch extraordinary people doing ordinary things, but watching ordinary people doing ordinary things is not interesting. Last nights chapter in the £800 Railway Station on BBC 2 was very much ordinary people doing ordinary things. Actually it was worse. It was ordinary people in the PR industry doing ordinary things.
To all intents and purposes the building work is finished. What remains is the icing on the cake. This programme featured the commissioning of a vast statue and the choosing of the photographs in the “How we did it “ book, Public sculptors can never win. Anthony Gormley replicates his sculptures in their thousands so even at 60% disapproval his strike rate is quite high. Whether Paul Day’s Meeting place will capture the public’s imagination in the way that The Angel of the North has done remains to be seen. Various railway commissioners were filmed going off to Mr Day’s studio in an agreeable pantiled barn somewhere in rural France to look at Mr day’s maquettes.
The sculpture is to be a 3m high bronze and shows a couple “meeting” It may be a homage to the magic of the illicit love affair that was built around railway buffet bars in “Brief Encounter”, although it looks more like two Stalinist athletes on the Atkins diet who have crashed into each other on the ice and are holding on for mutual support.
Once the committee had persuaded Mr Day to remove an ankle strap from the woman’s shoe (makes her look like a tart) it was passed as fit for consumption. Passengers won’t be able to miss it, so perhaps it will capture the public’s imagination, but I am always suspicious when artists tell you what they “are trying to do”.
The PR worthies in charge of photographs opted for a selection of grainy black and whites of men wearing singlets and hard hats with enough sweat pouring over their belts, laps and traps to satisfy the most ardent Village People fan. Sadly no “Upper Crust” but, as the commentator pointed out in a breathless whisper “ Now the team has only TWO MONTHS to fit out all the shops which are such a crucial part of the development”.
MacDonalds can take a two thousand square foot stand-alone site from ground-break to serving the first customer in eleven days, so I can’t wait to see how the parties at the £800 million railway station rise to this challenge. The commentary is by Bernard Hill aka Yosser of “gissajob” fame. There was a fabulous shot of the restaurant in the tip of the Gherkin, which showed the commissioners fulfilling the onerous task of choosing a champagne bar operator. If one of them can’t make it I’ll give then my number.
- The 800 Million Pound Railway Station is on BBC 2 at 10pm