Had heard about this evening's CRAIG keynote talk by John Holden, and wanted
to see what someone from DEMOS says about culture. (Note that the CWM blurb
gives no info as to the location of the venue.) Note, also that I neglected
to spend any time websurfing in an effort to locate it. But, 50 minutes
ahead of time I hopped on the No. 1, which only runs to Five Ways at that
time, then walked along Grosvenor Road, thinking that Austin Court, was
somewhere along its length. It wasn't, but I had a nice chat with the
proprietor of a pub, then went zigzagging through Brindleyplace and the ICC
looking for any fingerposts or other signage that might lend a clue. The
information lady in the ICC didn't know of it, so I carried on across
Centenary Square to the information desk in the main library, where I was
helpfully given a map which the man marked with the location of Austin Court
- behind the ICC, a few metres from where I'd just walked. I arrived fifteen
minutes late - but before the convenors had called everyone to order. That
was a bit of luck.
So, what's my point? And what does it have to do with the photo of anywhere?
The point is that Birmingham is shit at providing signage for
pedestrians. Yes, there are a few finger posts, and yes, there are a few map
displays around the town centre. But do these offer comprehensive guidance,
such as a list of venues off to one side? Fuck no. Other cities manage that
sort of thing with aplomb. Brindleyplace do a nice job themselves. Why not
the city centre? Because someone here has his finger wedged firmly in a
place where it interferes with clear thinking. To which I must add that the
mass transit info is equally crap. Yes, there are a few maps, but they are
incomplete, badly lit, give no clue as to the direction or frequency of
buses, are not near as numerous as they should be, blash and blah blah blah.
I'll remember the rest of it some other time.
The point? You're still wondering what my point might be. The clue is in the
first photo. Minutes from anywhere, one place might as well be any other if
you don't know where you are. Anywhere, nowhere; it's the same thing when I
can't find my way.
The following photos relate to the sequence of events described above.