Sunday, 29 August 2010

New does not mean bad

To Gustafson Porter's delightful and popular Diana Memorial Fountain in Hyde Park, with visitors to London who have not seen it before. They are hugely impressed - particularly so since (habitual readers of the Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail) they had been predisposed, from memories of press coverage when it opened, to think that it was a great disaster and scandalous waste of money.

There is so often such negativity about anything new, bold, interesting, different that is to be built. The Angel of the North, now a proud symbol for the whole of Geordiedom, famously only happened because of the courage of a few individuals who stuck their necks out in the face of near universal moaning and ridicule.

It seems that neophobia is often a self-limiting condition. Unfortunately, though, bad decisions can be taken by people in the grip of it.

We are used to the consequences of this. What is less clear is the extent to which it is genuinely widespread, or the consequence of a a few noisy people with sharp elbows getting their way. Sometimes there is a ray of sunshine - congratulations, for example, to the Councillors of South Oxfordshire, who have approved Rowan Atkinson's Richard Meier-designed country house scheme against the recommendations of their officers to refuse it.

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