Not getting out much this week, so please forgive yet another rummage in my drawers. At least it gives me an opportunity to go on about telephone service vans. Except they're not now, are they? Now they're appallingly signed white vans with mediocre graphics and that utterly meaningless marketing-speak word 'Openreach'. You can see the account team presenting it at BT Towers can't you, doing that irritating thing where they say the word whilst making quotation marks with their fingers. So, is this yet another thing where we're treated as just the next item to put its hand up in a call centre, (anyone who's had to sort out an internet problem with BT will know what I mean), or symptomatic of a much more general malaise? We see this 'Sod the Public' attitude (copyright Kingsley Amis) expressed in so much we have to just look at these days- let alone deal with- in what are supposed to be public services. Train and bus liveries, road signing, local council aberrations. Like so much else in our lives these days, as exhibited by those two unfunny arrogant idiots on Radio 2, it comes down to nobody thinking that courtesy is important anymore. Except the Unmitigated Reader of course. We know that we'd sooner have a deep bronze green telephone van with Her Majesty's crown on the side, wooden ladders and the tyre pressures marked above each wheel. It's not nostalgia, it's good order. And good manners of course.
I am a writer and photographer who spends all his time looking at England, particularly buildings and the countryside. But I have a leaning towards the slightly odd and neglected, the unsung elements that make England such an interesting place to live in. I am the author and photographer of over 25 books, in particular Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2006), More from Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2007), Cross Country (Wiley 2011), The Cigarette Papers (Frances Lincoln 2012) and Preposterous Erections (Frances Lincoln 2012)