(All statements made are solely my opinion – if there is a definitive used, please preface it with “this cock’s opinion”.)
Limerick, (National) City of Culture 2014. Well, that was a good year for Limerick. It’s a curious city. I don’t know the detail, but until last year Limerick City and Limerick County were two completely opposed governances.
The County controlled planning permission for what people outside the City limits thought of as much of the City. This would appear to have led to fuck loads of shopping centres. Childers Road, The Crescent, The Other One, The One On The Tipp Road, That Other One, and of course The New One To The West. I’m sure I’ve missed a couple. For a city of less than 200,000 people, that would seem to be enough. Too many even? Let’s not go that far.
These pits of consumerism draw in people from the county, possibly even from as far as Cork or Tipperary. This is a good thing!
The bad thing is that when you walk in these cavernous enclaves, you’re in a cultural vacuum. You’re not only missing out on seeing a massive chunk of the population, the weather and the variety of the city but also the colour, the noise and the danger that life should bring into your life.
When you step into a walled off, sealed and artificially lit shopping centre the first thing that should strike you is the change in sound. Not the lack of bird song – I mean, you’re in the middle of an industrial estate on the verge of major roads – but the echoes of footsteps on ceramic, the distant chatter of tills and sparking card readers. The culture of these places is not one that you can influence – by definition, it is not culture if you cannot feed into and influence and change it. The only way to effect mall culture, massive shopping centre culture, is to avoid it and not use it.