Friday, June 01, 2007

Municipal Decor

You've probably already clicked off somewhere else because Municipal Decor is such a drab title.

I work quite often in hospitals throughout Yorkshire and hence I spend quite a bit of time observing Municipal Decor. Here's a corridor where I had the joy of spending half an hour or so earlier this week:

Even the sunshine streaming in couldn't cheer it up much. Lots of old pipes, a fire extinguisher, woodwork and a carpet in used-to-be Beige and walls in used-to-be Magnolia.

I don't even have a problem with Magnolia - I know it's become a bit of a joke but if you're going to put pictures on the walls - which I usually am - then Magnolia is generally a half-decent background.

But this corridor had no pictures. It was entirely functional. That part of the hospital seems to be used mostly for educational purposes and this really wasn't the decor to stimulate creative thought.

The only thing I liked were the windows, which were Victorian originals and no doubt very draughty but well-proportioned and pleasing to the eye.

This building is quite an interesting old building and could be restored to look good as well as to be useful.

"Ah," the argument goes, "but the building works, doesn't it? It's warm enough and the rooms are large enough and how can we possibly justify spending money on decor when we haven't enough intensive care beds?"

That kind of argument is always wrong because the two things being compared always come from different budgets and it's a false comparison. We always seem able to afford things Those In Charge want to be able to afford.

But, as a nation, we don't care enough about hospitals - we prefer not to think about them until we have to, because of illness or pregnancy - and then we're often shocked. But, once we're better, we carry on preferring not to think about them. And that's why we end up putting up with places that look like this.


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