Author Topic: Swindon's new monument to itself...  (Read 12718 times)

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Offline Provocateur

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Swindon's new monument to itself...
« on: April 21, 2008, 01:15:15 PM »
I had a moment of hilarity this morning in reaction to the latest gumpty from the Swindon Development Company, wheeled out to breathe some spin into the next 'vibrant and exciting' stage of the regeneration of out now demolished town. Was he refering to an exciting new business premises? A two mile ditch that actually joined to a canal network ? A final resultion of the 30 year shame of The Mechanics Institute? Nope. He was extoling the exciting new possibilities offered by the town's latest contribution to global warming and community spirit - the 35 square meter TV in the Wharf Green Square. This is the same square which has been ripped up and redeveloped three times in ten years - and which affords wondorous views of the empty covered market, the muilti-storey car park and the to-ings and fro-ings of the customers of McDonalds and Argos... It's also [irony bypass] the same Wharf Green which won't feature either a canal or a wharf if the hare-brained canal project goes ahead...

Could anyone have conceived of a more appropriate symbol of our swindon culture than a 35 meter TV screen which will be on 24/7, 365 days of the year?! Its a temple to our Chavopolis - though to listen to our man this morning, you'd have thought that the thing would create some sort of sea-change. He actually said that, aside from the inevitable sport and music, it would feature (and I quote) 'cultural programming' - such as ballet and opera! How long the TV screen will continue to broadcast such delights to a swindon audience before having an airgun pellet or ball bearing smashed through it was left unclarified... Having realised that the one big draw of any certainty, the European cup, has fallen flat due to England's non qualification, it seems the screen promoters believe that its the Olympics which will have people 'flocking' to the screen. What I predict is a bunch of bored dads staring slack-jawed whilst their families shop - and glazed eyed youth in the queue for McDonalds. As for those community moments which 'bring people together to collectively experience cultural moments' (like the laughably suggested Last night At The Proms?!) - anyone with a single operating brain cell is going to remember that any shared experience is also going to be with the Kappa-suited hordes who've been topping up with lager and wkd round the corner in Fleet Street. That alone is going to make any such event the sort of 'shared community experience' that most people would run a mile to avoid - and very much more of an extension of the no-go area which our chavs have already made that part of town after dark. After-all, now they have everything they need; cheap booze, fast food - and now the cathode ray god. Why even go home of a summer's night?!

How on earth is this going to be policed? Its the place where every underage drinker will collect, where every discerning drunkard will chose to collapse on their backs, where every aggressive 16 year old baseball cap wearing wannabe hardman will hang-out, where every lout, beer boy, chav, and chavette on the way home will chose to wait for a taxi, where inumerable chip papers, drinks bottles and litter will be strewn. One thing's for certain, its a place where, after dark, a lot of law abiding people will prefer not to be.

Who's paid for this permanent bill-board to the bbc?

Who'll pay for it when (not IF) it gets vandalised?

Who has considered the extra policing which it will require? How will that be funded?!

As we're constantly having environmental costs stuffed down our throats by the people who insist we pay for Home Information Packs, by government through punitive taxes on petrol, by councils who only collect rotting rubbish once a fortnight, what's athe carbon footprint of this 24/7 edifice to light entertainment?! What's its energy consumption - and who's paying for it?! Who's managing the environmental double standard?



Offline Alex

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Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2008, 03:44:44 PM »
I was putting my training in neuro linguistic programming (NLP) into practice to try with all my remaining energy to find one glimmer of positivity about this chavtastic symbol and do you know, I think I have!

It will keep the local chiropractors/ physiotherapists/ acupuncturists in business for the foreseeable future! All those people with hunched up shoulders and jaws jutting out to watch the goings-on in the sky -if they stay in that position for any length of time, they'll  suffer excruciating  neck and shoulder pain, which even the alcohol won't diminish.

Hooray for SBC- friend of the local manual therapists.

See, I knew I could.. ;D

Offline Bobby Bingo

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Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2008, 07:15:19 PM »
We have seen these large T.V. screens before. Remember the one at Wimbledon which became affectionately known as "Henman Hill"
Could this be Bluh's B****ck?
I did hear the council have engaged a person from B.B.C. Swindon Sound to run it. I wonder at what cost?
Bobby

Offline ZPW

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Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2008, 07:15:50 PM »
Alex, what a PollyAnna you do be.


Offline Alligator

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Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2008, 07:33:21 PM »
What I think is missing from this idea is a full explanation of how this giant TV will be put to use.  As I understand it, it will spend most of its days blasting out BBC News 24, so I'd hope that this bod from the beeb will be offered free of charge (or included in our licence fees)

However I have no doubt that there will be occasions when the masses want, and the powers that be will allow, something else to be shown, World Cup football, Olympics events, televised concerts, footballers wives, Hollyoaks etc but this alone won't necessarily be enough to draw in the crowds to watch it here.  People can watch all these at home or in a pub.

Without something extra to draw people in, perhaps a sense of community, or a sense of fun, all this will achieve will be to provide the winos, chavs and pikeys with some entertainment while they hang out with their mates outside Mcturdies or make their way to Argos for the latest Elizabeth Duke Diamonique jewellery.

Can anyone shed any light on how this will be managed? a big TV alone seems to be a bit half hearted to me, a bit like a parent telling the kids to go and watch TV 'cos you can't be bothered with talking to them.




Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2008, 07:41:20 PM »


Post #1  - Post of the week, deffo.

Offline Mart

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Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2008, 08:41:46 PM »
From the Beeb back when prescott was just a greedy git and not a victim deserving of our pity.

Plans to set up a giant TV screen in Wrexham town centre have been abandoned because the council says it is unable to meet its share of the cost. Planning permission had been granted for the 8mx5m screen to be erected in Queen's Square, showing BBC programmes, major events and local information. The Wrexham screen would have been the first of its kind in Wales. Wrexham council said it needs to divert £225,000 allocated for the scheme to help maintain front-line services. The planned screen would have provided a mixture of live and local information, 24 hours a day, and was given planning permission in September 2005.

Planning permission, £225k over 3 years? Lordy.

Edinburgh Evening News a couple of months ago.

A GIANT TV screen to be installed in the centre of Edinburgh for major sporting events will cost taxpayers around £200,000 over the next three years. The decision to give the project the go-ahead was today blasted by voluntary groups and opposition councillors, at a time when the council faces a funding crisis. Tory culture spokesman Gordon Buchan said it was "obscene" to spend so much money on the project. "I don't think we should be squandering this much money on it considering the council's ongoing financial trouble," he said. "It's a bit perverse to spend £200,000 for a widescreen TV when there are community groups facing losing their funding and when we can't afford to repair our roads and pavements properly."

Perverse, excellent word.

The UK’s urban screens strategy has been dominated by the BBC’s ‘Big Screen Network’. This undertaking is driven by the BBC’s updated remit of ‘public space broadcasting’ and since 2003 has resulted in the installation of eight ‘Big Screens’, 25 meters square, in major cities such as Manchester, Leeds, Hull and Bradford. By the time of the Olympics, a much larger network called ‘Live Sites 2012’ is planned that will increase their number to 60 screens, all equipped with live camera feeds, Bluetooth uploading and networked streaming capabilities. For the BBC it is about providing a local site for national occasions such as Wimbledon, Eurovision or the Proms, similar to combining a public television service with the events management of a tourist board. Their technology partners are Philips who manufacture the biggest Vidiwall screens, mainly used in sports stadiums but which are now finding an expanding market through public screens. The conference and artists' commissions were funded by Arts Council England, for whom we might imagine this represents an attractive platform for ‘participatory arts’ and reaching ‘new audiences’ now that prior opportunities for involvement in mass media such as television broadcasting have moved beyond their reach. The purchase of the screens is borne by City Councils for whom the screens offer an opportunity to ‘re-animate city centres’. In practice this could mean drawing in lively crowds to their nondescript precincts through what is termed by some urban theorists ‘the production of place’, but particularly the kinds of places where that liveliness can be administered, programmed and evaluated. This is in turn is allied to the wishes of the property developers who would like to orientate those bored and undirected crowds away from casual vandalism and to stimulate local business (often deterred by developer's concentration on higher rent residential properties).

The kinds of places where that liveliness can be administered, programmed and evaluated.  Sounds, erm, unpleasant.

The telly selly bit

The world's first Public Space Broadcasting screen in Manchester 's Exchange Square was launched as an experiment in 2003. Having proved itself to be a powerful magnet for urban regeneration and animation for the city's public space, the model has now been rolled out in Birmingham, Liverpool and Hull, and more recently in Leeds, Rotherham, Bradford and Derby. Discussions are underway with many of the UK's major cities with a view to further extending the project. The next screen is planned for Swindon in early 2008.

From this I infer that a big telly animating your urban centre will prompt the immediate award of city status, bit of a change from a cathedral isn't it?

And the greeny bit.

In terms of carbon emissions, the EST says old-style TVs produce 100kg of climate-warming CO2 per year - while larger, plasma screens (there are no small plasma TVs) will pump out 400kg. Supporting these claims, the EST points to research from the government-funded Market Transformation Programme, which advises the government on sustainability policy. This says that, on average, the power consumption of a cathode-ray screen is 3.4 watts per screen inch, while plasma uses 9.4 watts per screen inch - based on figures from 2005. So does that make these sleek new TVs the gas-guzzling 4x4s of home entertainment? Not exactly. Flat-screen TVs broadly come in two varieties - plasma (which go from about 42ins to an almost cinematic 100ins-plus, and LCD, which are smaller, but, crucially, getting bigger all the time). Peter Raynes, professor of opto-electronic engineering at the University of Oxford, says modern LCD screens use a similar amount of power to bulky old cathode ray tube (CRT) televisions. Plasma televisions are currently less efficient and will use more power, he says.

Personally, I don't really like it. Bit Bladerunner for me and I think it will be an oaf magnet.


Sometimes I think you have to march right in and demand your rights, even if you don’t know what your rights are, or who the person is you’re talking to. Then, on the way out, slam the door.

Offline ZPW

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Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2008, 09:07:12 PM »
Letsby infected by Alex's attitude.

What is there at Wharf Green that would be spoiled at all by all the vitamin defficients congregating?
Hmm.. McDo's, Noone-deserves-to-shop-at-Argos,....? the nasty pasty bakers, the back end of Boots?

Good place for it if you think on... All the dreaful,dreadful flip-flop wearing proteges of Colin-give-me-condoms-Lovell all gathered together in one place.
If you shunt the do'nut oik from outside the Brunel Cnetre to Wharf Green, then the wozzers will have all they need and won't actually have to shift their lardy arses at all, mekking it vee easy to measure their liveliness.

Offline concerned_of_Old_Town

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Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2008, 09:23:22 PM »
Some more information on how it works can be found here
http://www.bbc.co.uk/wiltshire/big_screen/

Must admit when the idea was first mooted approx 2 years ago was quite enthusiastic about the idea as thought it be a "quick win" to revitalise the town centre and stimulate some kind of coffee/artistic quarter.

However disappointed that can only show BBC and a certain amount of locally produced content.  Also disappointed that council seemed to have missed a trick to link to revitalise the indoor market at same time (they have already rejected idea to transform it into upmarket coffee area) instead just want it to be empty and rot (just like swindon college, Mechanics Insitute, half of swindon).

Offline komadori

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Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2008, 12:15:46 AM »
Also disappointed that council seemed to have missed a trick to link to revitalise the indoor market at same time (they have already rejected idea to transform it into upmarket coffee area) instead just want it to be empty and rot (just like swindon college, Mechanics Insitute, half of swindon).

Upmarket coffee area right next to the new chav-magnet.... Hmm.... Wouldn't be the greatest marketing move. That said, there was nothing either 'upmarket' or 'coffee' about the plans for the market. According to the planning applications, Prezzo, Wagamama and La Tasca were to be the occupants.
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Offline swearingran

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Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2008, 01:06:20 PM »
Why cant this bloody town ever come up with sensible cost effective ideas?? :idiot2:

Offline Alligator

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Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2008, 01:25:45 PM »
Why cant this bloody town ever come up with sensible cost effective ideas?? :idiot2:

When you say "this bloody town" who or what, exactly are you referring too?  The town is made up of people, all of whom could, if they are so inclined, lobby for something they think is worthwhile.

You clearly think the TV isn't sensible or cost effective, what would you like to see instead?

I too have my doubts about the value of this TV, but I do admire those people that have spent the time and effort making an effort.

Offline swearingran

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Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2008, 01:31:35 PM »
Good afternoon,  I must apologise for the venting of the spleen....I would like to see ideas from the People of swindon, School children and/or College Students.  So much talent and ideas are wasted into the unknown.  Thats all I meant.  Just the ramblings of an old lady. :D

Offline Tobes

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Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2008, 02:14:17 PM »
Gran - no need to appologise from my perspective.  ;)

The problem to me seems to be that too many ideas are generated by people who actually have a different agenda than the objectives they claim. The TV isn't something being proposed for our wider social 'benefit' - its merely something to try and drive more footfall into the town centre. By achieving that, it increases the profitability of the businesses located nearby. That means increased rents can be charged - that means increased profits for the SMC. If it lifts the character and class of the area by getting more families into that part of town, or attracts a wider cross section of society, then maybe it'll be worth it - but given its location, how likely is that, in all seriousness?!

From a wider social perspective though, its easy for the rest of us to recognise the shortfalls in the logic or planning. If there's one thing worse than an apathetic maintenance of the status quo, its a stumbling rush to change everything an adopt any new idea, simply because it's new. Sadly, such moves often magnify the very problem they purport to be addressing. It's the philosophy which has given us the town we've got. Its why we now have a demolished town centre, which in the midst of an eccenomic downturn, is going to sit empty for years - a bomb-site vista which will deter investment, depress property prices and increase the likelihood of future compromise. Its why also we're being presented with a dead-ended canal as a fait accompli before the plan or its implications has been fully considered.

Isn't it strange that to try an engender a sense of shared 'community' that we've been bequethed a 35 square meter television screen - not in a park, or a proper town centre, but right next to a centre of drunken trouble which most people avoid after dark? A huge television next to a McDonalds in Swindon: given the stereotypical view of the town's limited cultural offerings, it does nothing but confirm a lack of vision or imagination in my view. Like the title of this thread says, what a monument...!

Too many 'bold visions' and swift solutions seem glib to me - I think its right to question - and given the history of experience regarding such projects, you're right to be sceptical.
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Offline Alligator

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Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2008, 02:52:13 PM »
Whilst I agree that the benefits of the TV may be questionable, or at least not obvious, especially when you consider the environment it's in today and who's likely to be around to watch it on a wet Tuesday evening in November. 

However I do think that the other points that Tobes has made aren't all bad things if you look at it from a different angle.  If the TV is well managed and is put to use to show films and events with wide-ranging appeal then it may help to rejuvinate an area that is currently the home to chavs and winos.  More people in the area for longer may mean more profitable businesses in town which in turn will employ people, who then spend their money in other businesses and so on.....this isn't a bad thing.

The TV isn't in the immediate vicinity of any pubs that have a licence to sell alcohol in the area and if I recall correctly it falls within one of the 'alcohol free' zones.  However, as I've already said, I think this needs effective management to avoid turning into an open cinema for the winos and chav scum and herein lies the challenge.

Personally I think that now the TV is here we should look for the positive possibilities and work towards making them happen rather than assume the worst. 

Offline Tobes

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Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
« Reply #15 on: April 25, 2008, 03:52:02 PM »
Quote
Personally I think that now the TV is here we should look for the positive possibilities and work towards making them happen rather than assume the worst.

Whats the worst assumption to make? That all will be rosy - or, given that the 'regeneration' (demolition) looks suspiciously like a stalled failure, thanks to the eccenomic situation? Is a big TV next to a McDonalds, empty market place and a concrete multi-story an enhancement of the positive, or an inditement of everything that's already wrong?

There are positive possibilities with the TV - but they'll run in the face of common sense, the location and the locals. Given that the square has been redeveloped three times in ten years, as a TV licence tax payer and a rate payer, I'd want a little more than hopeful 'fingers crossed' reassurance about what the screen is going to achieve.

What I predict are large drunken crowds during televised sporting fixtures and slack-jawed apathy / avoidance the rest of the time. Thats if it isn't vandalised within a short time. As a pessamist, I'm always happy to be proven wrong.  ;) Lets see.
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Offline Chav

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Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
« Reply #16 on: April 25, 2008, 05:41:10 PM »
hello

Quote
If the TV is well managed and is put to use to show films and events with wide-ranging appeal then it may help to rejuvinate an area that is currently the home to chavs and winos.

Does that mean they will ave diskovary and national geografik channels ?

Quote
Whilst I agree that the benefits of the TV may be questionable, or at least not obvious, especially when you consider the environment it's in today and who's likely to be around to watch it on a wet Tuesday evening in November. 

Me n me burberry brolly.
I ave just bin done 4 no TV lisence innit !
Soooo Maccy D's n big TV  O0 great  :popcorn:

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Offline Buster

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Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
« Reply #17 on: April 25, 2008, 05:42:24 PM »
Quote
Personally I think that now the TV is here we should look for the positive possibilities and work towards making them happen rather than assume the worst.

Whats the worst assumption to make? That all will be rosy - or, given that the 'regeneration' (demolition) looks suspiciously like a stalled failure, thanks to the eccenomic situation?

This is an interesting point.  I raised it with Justin Tomlinson today on the Adver web chat and I will be directing my questions about the certainty of the finances for the new developments to Phil Young.  However I do think your view here is somewhat negative.  To say that the redevelopment has stalled at this stage realy seems to be jumping the gun.  At least I hope it is.  :-\

If anything I would say that the arrival of the TV may be in the wrong order and may have been rushed through for the olympics or Euro 2008 (not that many of the locals will have cause to be watching that this time round  :'( )  what should have happened is for this to have waited until the other developments were completed.

I'm going to drop an email to Phil Young about the redevelopment and in particular the finances of the developers for the investment and will then start a thread on here to share his response (If I get one)

I hope that the more optimistic view prevails, the pikeys and chavs can be managed if the will of the good people of Swindon act together.  When the new development is complete the TV will be a stones throw from there so the dynamics of the town centre will probably change.

Offline Chav

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Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
« Reply #18 on: April 25, 2008, 07:19:34 PM »
ere who can I see to borrow the remote control  ???
"Politics is the skilled use of blunt objects." -- Lester B. Pearson.

Offline Tobes

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Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
« Reply #19 on: April 30, 2008, 05:47:56 PM »
Quote
SHOPPERS will be dancing their way through the town centre when live ballet comes to Swindon this summer.

The Royal Opera House has announced it will be screening a live performance of The Royal Ballet's Romeo And Juliet on the big screen in Wharf Green.

The show will be beamed live from Covent Garden on Sunday, June 1 at 3pm.


http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/swindonnewsheadlines/display.var.2234380.0.ballet_on_the_big_screen_in_town_centre.php

 :spin: ROFL! Thats just going to go down a STORM with the burghers of the burger, isn't it!!

As the link on the adver does appear to work - there's more here: - http://www.bbc.co.uk/wiltshire/big_screen/

Quote
On Friday 2nd May, 2008, Swindon will join the ranks of eight major cities across the country when the biggest TV screen in the South of England gets switched on…

Yes, Wharf Green in Swindon has become the first place in the South of England to get a big screen TV and the first to join the Big Screen big boys of Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Bradford, Hull, Rotherham and Derby.

But it's no ordinary telly that's been set up in front of the Brunel West Car Park in town.

For a start it's massive (35 metres square massive) and, from the beginning of May, is going to be on a lot (24 hours a day, 365 days a year a lot).
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - [attributed to] Voltaire... 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita' - William of Occam.... 'You have a right to feel offended, but just cos you are offended doesn't mean you are right'