People’s Park

I’m going to be reading all things London for some time to come and so it was fascinating to catch up with Iain Sinclair’s tour of Hackney. The novelist has been banned from speaking at Hackney’s public libraries because he is ‘anti-Olympics’, and here he reflects on the damage already done by the looming corporate jamboree that is London 2012.

Sinclair goes further than most when it comes to condemning what he regards as the folly of the Olympics. ‘It’s catastrophic. Apocalyptically catastrophic. It’s brutalising: the time scale of it, the fact that it was imposed from above, the consultation a farce, and the promise of this legacy – which is what? It’s Westfield shopping mall, basically [a similar mall to west London’s Westfield, will be built out east]. Have you been there? Horrendous. Drains the life blood out of you in seconds. Then they have the nerve to call it the People’s Park. What do they think was there before? It was the people’s park: anglers, birdwatchers, footballers. Now they’re all gone, so it’s the opposite. I’m deeply disturbed and angry.’

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