Friday, November 28, 2014

From high times to hard times

Ah, Guardian - first you giveth, then you taketh away. No sooner had it been announced that my home city of Newcastle had been named the UK's best by readers of the Guardian and sister paper the Observer - a fact celebrated by Harry Pearson (a Teessider rather than a Tynesider - tsk, tsk, Mr/Mrs/Ms Sub-Editor) - than John Harris produced a bleak portrait of the city as a desperate financial basketcase teetering precariously on the precipice of bankruptcy.

In the context of doom-monger Harris' depiction, Pearson's piece can't help but seem frothy, myopic and superficial, namechecking some of the places and attractions that set Newcastle apart but never penetrating beyond the facade and focusing on the city centre rather than the more deprived outlying areas that are yet to witness any kind of trickle-down effect from investment and gentrification.

My vision of Newcastle is admittedly far closer to Pearson's than Harris' - a vibrant, confident, buoyant city that, while increasingly stylish, remains reassuringly rough around the edges - so Harris' article was eye-opening and alarming. We're a tough, resilient lot, though - here's hoping the city can survive being victimised by the Tories' swingeing cuts.

(Thanks to Terry for the Harris link.)

No comments: