Here’s a little snippet from the email Tim, who works at Prospect, just sent me:
So please cast your mind back over the last three years to that moment when you drew up in a strange town, got out of the car and then… got straight back in again. Then put your foot to the floor, taking the speed bumps laid out on the otherwise empty high street at full pelt. Or that time when you stopped dead in your tracks by the sheer goddawfulness of some new building or housing estate.
Early contenders for the Plook on the Plinth include Kilwinning and Ardrossan. But who do you think should win? Have you been to Nitshill, Boghall or Harthill? Do you know anywhere worse? Which town has left you shuddering at the sight of grey estates stretching out into the distance? Which town’s windswept car parks have left you breathless? Have you seen the new SMG building in Glasgow? Seen anywhere worse?
The thing is, when faced by the sort of place nominated for awards like this my reaction isn’t to flee, it is to wander around taking photographs, enjoying all the concrete, litter and vandalised signage. Which is probably an even worse reaction than setting up an award to rub salt in the wounds of folk who find themselves living in failing small towns (which is what this feels like to me, however much Prospect spin it as a positive call for better built environments). So, I think my vote will go to that slutty piece of eye-candy on the other coast, Edinburgh. It’s so needy, that place, like a not-quite-pretty-enough bridesmaid in too much make-up, dancing on her own at the wedding of History and Beauty, desperate to bag that rich American uncle holding court at the bar. Or something.