A Belated Eulogy for the Tricorn Centre, Portsmouth

Prince Charles called this "a mildewed lump of elephant droppings"; but then should we really value architectural review from a man who allowed his parents to murder his beautiful wife?
Prince Charles called this “a mildewed lump of elephant droppings”; but should we really value the architectural review of a man who allowed his family to murder his wife?

UPDATE: Tricorn: Controversy in Concrete – incorporating records, inspirations and materials – is running at Portsmouth City Museum between 15th March and 29th June 2014. Even though I bet they’ll have free wine at the opening, I can’t get down there for it, but these pictures and more will be.

It’s been more than eight years now since Portsmouth tore down the Tricorn Centre: that Brutalist monstrosity despised by many but to me as much a part of the city’s dark soul as the Historic Dockyard; pebbled seafront with its promenade, piers and castle; and getting punched in the face outside a nightclub for making eye contact.

I took these few meagre, poorly descriptive images back in 1996 but by then the thirty year old concrete was mouldy and crumbling, held together by rust, rats and Laser Quest. Continue reading “A Belated Eulogy for the Tricorn Centre, Portsmouth”

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Failed toothache remedies and this brave soldier’s first filling

Steve Martin in 'Little Shop of Horrors.' As a frightened child, this psycho was second only to Portsmouth's Dr. Long, DDS
Steve Martin in ‘Little Shop of Horrors.’ As a frightened child, this psycho was second only to Portsmouth’s Dr. Long, DDS

I guess after thirty-three years without a filling and around twenty without anything being pulled out of my jaw I’d grown complacent in the face of tooth decay – arrogant even. Then early last week I took my last bite as a complete human – the tooth fairy had found me, and we had some catching up to do. The pain started slight and became an agony that spread around my face like a burning hedgehog that existed partially in another dimension but flickered in and out of it as it rolled through me, pausing only to kick my tooth in the balls when it got tired of this pan-dimensional torment. Continue reading “Failed toothache remedies and this brave soldier’s first filling”

Giving blood for the first time

An experiment was carried out to illustrate the effects of blood loss on the efficacy of prescription opioids and Tennessee sour mash whiskey.

Bloody, innit.
The first time I’ve put blood in a bag instead of on the street.

I’ve been terrified of needles since as far back as I can remember – one of my earliest memories is being wheeled screaming down a dimly lit corridor into theatre to have my adenoids pulled out by what I understood at the time to be a drunken bear with a pair of knitting needles and a claw hammer. Although I seem now to be slightly less of a sissy than I was then – helped along by knee surgery and medical trials – I still feel incredibly nervous at the prospect of metal piercing my skin.

But, well, sometimes you’ve just got to quit whining and do something nice for a change. Continue reading “Giving blood for the first time”

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