13 May 2008

The spice of life.

Today I was surfing around the net and came across an article in the New Statesman written by Malcolm Mclaren when he was announcing his intention to stand as a candidate for the position of Mayor of London back in December of last year. Now don't panic! I'm not going to write a big blog about the Mayoral role in London or comment on the fool the people of London did finally vote into the position. I'm actually just going to quote a few lines from the article that really rang true to me.

"Our freedom of choice has been removed. I have never seen so many corporate franchises - and, as a result, London is destroying independent artisans. London's independence and its individuals are being hounded out of existence.

I have never seen so many restaurants, coffee shops, so many places to go to buy things, so much to consume; yet London has never seemed so dull."
says Malcolm McLaren

Now for me you could put the name of any western city name in place of London in that quote and it would ring pretty much true. What happened to all the small family run businesses that had individuality and a style all their own, the mix of which really built up the overall feel of a large town or city? If you were to be taken blindfold to the average street of a random city would you be able to tell which city you were in when the blindfold was removed? Do they not all look the same these days? They all seem to have the same franchise shops and restaurants . Large franchise companies like Yum! Franchising (who own companies like Pizza hut, KFC & Taco Bell), McDonalds, Starbucks, Walmart/Asda, Tesco et al have pretty much taken over our high streets everywhere. Independent traders, artists, crafts men and women have all but been squeezed out and now resort to selling online. This for me is making our towns and cities stale and boring.

Not so long ago I was taken on a drive from north London, Leytonstone to Tooting in south London and after a while it was really hard to tell where we had got to as everywhere looked exactly the same. Two and a bit hours of identical looking streets and shops. It was depressing. The colour and vibrancy that once was there seemed to have gone. Very sad.

I don't know what the answer to this is. I don't know how to put the independent traders back into the high street. I do know that I really miss them. The convenience of being able to buy everything you need in one hit at a super market or the fact that buying a meal in one of the franchise restaurants is cheap and fast seems to be all people are concerned with. Time is money I guess, but it saddens me to think that in trying to save ourselves some time and a little money we are killing off what makes our individual communities so special. The variety and uniqueness of our individual towns and cities is being given up for convenience and flooded out by big businesses. I for one think it's time to try and turn the tide, discard the polyester uniforms of big business and bring back the vibrancy and colour of each of our communities.


  1. Some people consider all the franchises progress.

    I'm in agreement with you though.

    The same can be said of America. Everything is becoming generic. There's very little individuality left in anything whether it is clothing or cafes.

  2. I'm in agreement with what you have said here.

    I think it's part of the reason that some folks are so intolerant of others.

  3. You are so right..I find all this very upsetting..But I am sure you will agree with me, it is Greed..


  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP