Sunday, April 16, 2017

Now Roger Wright wants to dumb down Snape Maltings


Aldeburgh is a windswept fishing town on the east coast of the British Isles. "A bleak litte place; not beautiful," the novelist E.M. Forster called it. He went on: "It huddles around a flint-towered church and sprawls down to the North sea - and what a wallop the sea makes as it pounds at the shingle! Near by is a quay, at the side of an estuary, and here the scenery becomes melancholy and flat; expanses of mud, saltish commons, the marsh-birds crying."
That is the opening of the chapter "Grimes! Grimes" in The Rest Is Noise , a chapter which is not only among Alex Ross' finest writing, but is also among the finest evocations of Aldeburgh and Snape by any writer. Now the Snape Maltings management company, whose chief executive is Roger Wright former controller of Radio 3 and director of the BBC Proms, wants to build 470-space flood-lit car park on the river bank seen in the header photo* across the river from Snape quay, with a footbridge crossing the river from the car park to the Maltings. In the past the miracle of Snape was that commercial priorities were subservient to the fragile local environment. The tragedy of Snape under Roger Wright is that this environment is now subservient to commercial priorities.

* Header photo is by Sarah Lucy Brown and is from an article on the proposed development in the East Anglian Daily Times. Any copyrighted material is included as "fair use" for critical analysis and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Also on Facebook and Twitter.

1 comment:

Philip Amos said...

I am poring over a diagram of Dante's Hell to determine into what circle one might best plonk a man who says "...we are in full listening mode". I am myself in a full comprehending configuration. One thing I grasp is that the other man, the one who says that the parking lot would be "GRASS SURFACED, often with sheep grazing on it and very rarely filled to capacity" (my emphasis) is plainly a useless pile of protoplasm. And this for what? Flipside and the Food and Drink Festival between them take up five days a year! And those are what this grassy parking lot (or churned up mud puddle after a December Flipside) is all about. Well, those and, I most strongly suspect, other festive money-earners of which we yet do not know, except that they will have naught to do with the original Aldeburgh vision. Not if Roger the Dodger has anything to do with it.

The Flipside website gives excellent information on how to get to it via public transport and/or taxi, the latter for those who share Margaret Thatcher's horror of the former. Giving such information and not setting about wrecking wondrous vistas and ecosystems is the answer to this. Flipside is Brazilian in origin, and thus I suspect the organizers are very conscious of this, hence their provision of unusually detailed and clear transportation information. Now I think it's time for my annual reading of The Wind in the Willows.