Dylan Jones: 'London is the great cultural melting pot to end them all, the fulcrum of all that is seismic and cool

Talk of the town
Click to follow
The Independent Online

Perhaps unsurprisingly, my higher education was determined by my libido. Back in 1977, at the age of 17, I was on a Foundation Course at Chelsea School of Art, in a street called Bagley's Lane, where Chelsea Harbour is now. The girl I lusted after was studying at St Martins, and so it seemed natural that I should apply there rather than anywhere else. Which is what I did.

Of course it may also have been because St Martins was situated in Charing Cross Road – which, at the time, was the most happening place in the world, a mere spit from the Roxy, the Marquee, the Vortex and the 100 Club. St Martins was also considered to be the best art school in the world, formerly the home of Richard Hamilton, Frank Auerbach, Peter Blake, Gilbert and George and ... the Sex Pistols!

Last week I visited the site of the new St Martins (or CSM as it's now called), due to open in three years' time, in a vast warehouse just behind St Pancras station, and a couple of hundred yards from something called The Guardian newspaper (no, new one on me too). The building is simply vast, and – if the college has its way – it will become the centrepiece of the new King's Cross development, providing a cultural, artistic heart to a huge pedestrianised area leading down to the Regent's Canal.

I gather from those involved that ambitions for the building have met with resistance from the council – especially as regards the large hoardings that should go up during the three-year build – which feels the college should downplay its arrival. But the council is wrong: what they need is something huge, something monolithic, something that tells Eurostar passengers coming in from Paris – who will see the CSM building before they see anything else – that London is the most exciting city in Europe, that London is the great cultural melting pot to end them all, the fulcrum of all that is seismic and zeitgeist-y and cool.

And if anyone needs convincing, all they need do is travel to Milan and see the huge Emporio Armani signage that sits atop the airport's largest hangar. Who owns Milan? Giorgio Armani, stupid. It says so, in extremely large letters.

Dylan Jones is the editor of 'GQ'

Comments