this fairy dust of cool

Grayson Perry’s third Reith lecture – ‘Nice Rebellion: Welcome In’ – contains some interesting observations on the gentrifying impact of artists on the urban ecology.

And if you think of artists, they’re like the shock troops of gentrification. We march in. We’re the first people to go we like this old warehouse, yeah we need a cheap studio. You know so that’s what happens – artists move into the cheap housing and the cheap spaces and they make them … you know they do their work and they’re quite cool and a little bit of a buzz starts up. And then maybe a little café opens up and people start saying, “Ooh, that’s kind of interesting, that area where those artists hang out. I think I’m going to go down there.” (LAUGHTER) And people start noticing, you know, and maybe some designers open up and a little boutique. You know and suddenly, before you know it, the dead hand of the developer is noticing it. And before you know it, the designers move in and that’s it. – bang goes the area. (LAUGHTER) 

And I’ve watched you know this fairy dust of cool, marketised bohemia drift down over various boroughs of London. I should think there’s a couple of dozen of them I’ve seen it happen to over the thirty years. And of course now, it’s happening to Derry. (LAUGHTER) Be careful what you wish for. 

(Grayson Perry,

You can read a transcript of the full lecture here.

Paris As Revolution: Writing The Nineteenth-Century City

Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson’s excellent 1994 book, Paris As Revolution: Writing The Nineteenth-Century City, is available freely online thanks to the University of California’s E-Books Collection project. The book, which you can read in its entirety here, is structured around the following chapters: Prologue: Writing Revolutions Paris: Place and Space of Revolution Mapping the City The Flâneur: […]