It was JD Salinger, in The Catcher In The Rye, who wrote: “Certain things, they should stay the way they are. You ought to be able to stick them in one of those big glass cases and just leave them alone.”
OK, there was no coronavirus crisis in 1951 when the book was written, but the Aberdeen City Council officers who have produced the current town centre traffic measures might have done well to have heeded Salinger’s advice.
Why? Because they may just have created a monster that will destroy small businesses and add to Scotland’s increasing unemployment statistics.
There has been a strong lobby for the pedestrianisation of Union Street for years.
Today, with the “temporary” measures in place to allow for greater social distancing in a region scarcely touched by the virus, we can see what pedestrianisation would mean.
Already, cars are going around in circles seeking access to various streets, now reached only by foot, while bus routes have been reconfigured to leave passengers nowhere near where they want to be.
So, if you run a business in any of the side streets off Aberdeen’s main thoroughfare, you could be counting down the months before you have to throw in the towel and admit defeat.
Had the planners thought this through properly?
Were the economics of such drastic actions fully evaluated before they were expedited?
Meanwhile, we hear from the good people at Historic Environment Scotland that a decision on whether to award protected status on eight multi-storey blocks – Marischal Court, Hutcheon Court and Virginia Court are among them – has been put on hold.
Presumably, until those who suggested such a possibility have their heads examined.
Dundee City Council looked at similar pieces of architecture, borrowed from Ceausescu’s Romania, and decided the deployment of dynamite was required.
Those designs of the 1960s, which brought Aberdeen it’s high-rise living and other strange-looking buildings, were straight from the drawing boards of architects keen to change the face of our towns and cities. And elected members went along with it.
This could really come in handy, couldn’t it?
Covid-19 has afforded us the opportunity to do things we may have been putting off for too long – fix this, paint that, dump this, clean that.
Well, not me – aside from emptying the bin and manoeuvring a vacuum cleaner.
But in clearing out some drawers I was reminded of what I am good at – retaining useless stuff, always accompanied by the pronouncement: “That could come in handy.”
How many times have you used that saying over the years?
Martin has some lip going to court
Our hearts go out to Martin Conway.
His life, he tells us, has been blighted, he has been left traumatised, has suffered a panic attack and will need long-term counselling.
No, Mr Conway was not involved in war nor the victim of a violent crime.
The poor man’s apparent meltdown is due to having kissed a woman on the lips on their first date before discovering that she had a cold sore and passed on an infection – the herpes simplex virus.
The London pair met through a dating website and days later he felt “it” on his lip.
Now, he is suing Jovanna Lovelace for negligence because she should have told him before their lips met that she had a cold sore.
That’ll be £130,000, thank you. Yes, that’s what he’s demanding from her through the courts.
Martin, just dab some aftershave on the offending spot and drop this nonsense.