Sunday, 5 February 2017

On Righteous Gentrification.

This is a picture of Arlington Row in the village of Bibury, Gloucestershire.

Bibury is in the area of England known as The Cotswolds, famous for its pretty villages and quaint cottages built of oolitic limestone. It’s one of the most visited of all Britain’s tourist areas, and Arlington Row is one of the most photographed of all subjects. Countless versions have appeared down the years in books and magazines, and on postcards, calendars, jigsaw puzzles and chocolate boxes. It’s also much favoured by the snap-shooting tourists.

But there’s a crisis in this idyllic corner of the scepter’d isle. An 84-year-old man who lives in one of the cottages has a car which he parks on the road outside his house, and the car is yellow. People are naturally horrified. They say it’s destroying the aesthetic integrity of the locality. Many tourists have taken to Facebook to complain that it’s spoiling their snapshots and must go. And now somebody has taken the situation into their own hands and vandalised the car, scratching deep gouges into the paintwork including the word Move. As far as I know, nobody has asked whether the venerable old gentleman has ever complained about the hordes of prying tourists invading his environment on a daily basis pretty much throughout the year. Maybe nobody has ever thought of it like that.

I leave you to make your own judgement regarding the sense of priorities evident among those of a strictly suburban persuasion. But it’s heartening to read that the aged owner of the offending vehicle has said that if he has to buy a new car, he’ll be sure to get a lime green one. I think hot orange might be more fitting.

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