Friday, September 10, 2004

Princess Diana Memorial

Princess Diana Memorial Roadworks

What can I say? They've reopened the Princess Diana Memorial in Hyde Park and, remarkably, it's even lamer than before. At least when it was first opened you could have a paddle. Now they have six full-time security guards to ensure people do nothing more adventurous than sit on the edge and dip their feet in it.

In a curiously unintended way this fountain has now become one of the most entertaining sites in London. Giggle as confused Americans drift about wondering what they're supposed to be looking at then jab the structure with their walking sticks. Titter as under-whelmed Chinese nationals pace around for twenty minutes trying to find an acceptable place to be photographed at, then giving up. This memorial plumbs new depths of the Zen of Lame.

But such mediocrity comes at a price. It cost £3.4m to build and now that it requires a full time guard it's going to continue to cost a packet. My conservative estimate is six full-time guards at fifty quid a day equals 6x50x365 = £110,000 pa and that's excluding the cost of the additional policing that cruises by and the cost of removing the leaves that drift into it or the algae that merrily thrives on the stonework. Marvellous, and a fitting tribute to a woman who spent enough money on frocks to feed a small 3rd world city. The amusing thing is that the design was clearly originally conceived with no thought to Princess Diana whatsoever. A small inscription to her is tacked onto the edge of the stonework in one place out of the way and that's it. I'm guessing here but presumably Ernie, Gonzo and the Cookie Monster sat on the the selection panel.

This monument is sooooo New Britain. It cost a fortune, was hyped up to a ridiculous extent, was poorly conceived and badly constructed and its weaknesses are now covered up by blaming the general public and staffing it with unskilled migrants. Yes, Princess Diana Memorial stand up and take your rightful place by The Dome, The Millennium Bridge and The Wembley Stadium Project.

Just think how many more wonderful new structures we can look forward to if London wins the 2012 Olympic Bid.

My tribute gallery to the Princess Diana Memorial Pissor here ...

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