You know what…and I have to admit this is probably not how things are going to continue. I thought I’d start of by writing something nice. Something in Praise of Stratford. I thought I’d start of by saying how much I am enjoying Bell-Court (or whatever it’s called now).
Me and some remnants of my family went for a meal at the Steakhouse (Bell-Court) the other evening and I have to say I really enjoyed myself, and I’m not just referring to the meal.
Having lived through all the incarnations of Bell-Court, it looks like they (whoever ‘they’ are) have at last, GOT IT RIGHT.
OK, so it needs a nice warm evening to truly appreciate the European feel of a 5 minute stroll through its entirety but everything about it feels good. From the twinkly lights in the pavement, to the soft colours of the buildings and advertising. My first thought was to hope fervently that it would survive a Stratford-upon-Avon winter with its low footfall and rushed Japanese tourists. Hopefully, that has been thought through. There is however, a greater threat.
Yes indeed, Bell-Court is a real if tiny taste of Europe. For one brief moment there, I thought I was in Barcelona.
Which is a shame considering in a few weeks’ time anything vaguely ‘foreign’ is due to be banished from these shores.
Thanks to a bunch of unimaginative ‘little Englanders’, dining outside will be banned. And for those who must eat, they will find themselves dining from my Aunty Doris’ discarded 1950’s dining table and four chairs, ladling soggy pale green vegetables on to chipped china plates covered in a thin layer of watery gravy. Gruel Britannia.
Places like Bell-Court will fall into disrepair. The cinema in an effort to survive will start showing ‘Carry On’ films and anything with Kenneth More in but it won’t work. After a few weeks without an audience it will become a homeless shelter. While Bell-Court itself will become the favourite haunt of drunks and drug addicts.
Screwed up copies of last week’s Sun will roll like tumbleweed riding on the cold breeze that will cut through what was once an attractive walk-way. ‘Blue Nun’ will make a return as our most exotic drink of choice. And the smell of fried food will fight with traffic fumes to win the ‘Stratford aroma of the Year’ award.
The fact is, Bell-Court is a minor triumph. Unfortunately, we don’t deserve it.