Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Turkish delight

The monthly Retail Partnership Board meeting this morning. Always a great excuse to peer out of the ninth floor windows at the SD2 construction site in the middle distance. The change is visible, month after month. At the moment the apartment blocks are being erected on top of the steel framework that will contain the shopping centre, and the roof of the new library is visible, completed.

Despite all the recession doom and gloom in the newspapers, several people reported that their business had not been nearly as bad as they'd anticipated. Paul Williams, City Centre Manager talked us through the Countdown 2009 process with a slide show illustrating how many different aspects of the city's public face need to be smartened up and made effective to face the brave new era when construction sites in the city centre can be no more used as an excuse for filth and chaos that nobody in their right mind can tolerate. A worthwhile excercise, say I, from the viewpoint of a Board member grappling with these issues in three difference Focus groups tasked with getting things sorted.

I asked Paul why all the new street lights installed around the re-paved areas in the vicinity of St John's were on 24/24. With a bemused smile, he told me he'd been told by the engineers that they'd been wired up to make sure they work, but not wired up through the local time-switch. Did the engineers have an explanation ready for the Communications Focus Group, when a member of the public complained about waste of electricity and carbon footprint? ..... No. Oops!

On the subject of Cardiff's new buses, someone at the meeting said that each bus equipped with a video screen broadcasting BBC News 24 and an assortment of in house videos, when not displayingon-board security camera views, has to be furnished with a full TV license AND subscribe to a performing rights license to cover any music broadcasted.

You may say 'fair enough'. But it poses the question of whether we really need this for of 'service' wittering on the the background on our buses, maybe causing us to miss our stops. In a couple of weeks from now there'll be a giant TV screen making the facade of the St David's Hall look ugly - so say, to broadcast the Olympics (well probably the closure by the time it gets installed). That too will need a broadcast license - thankfully the cost is not related to screen size. Yet.

As if there wasn't already enough noise in the public domain!

Paul also recounted with pleasure the story of how a visitor to the tourist information centre had enthused about the fact that the stone masons working on re-paving the street outside were all speaking Welsh to one another.

Don't say a word. They're all Turkish.

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