When the dust settles from Simon Rattle’s blitz on British media – the latest roseate sample can be read here – will London get a new concert hall?
Let’s face the realities.
1 London needs a concert hall with good acoustics. No question.
2 No politician will promise one in an election year – there is no surer way to lose an election than by pledging a concert hall at the expense of public libraries, public health and public safety.
3 No elected politician will offer one after an election, either. The money isn’t there.
4 That leaves private money. An Emirates concert hall? An HSBC tax-dodgers hall? More questions here than answers. There is no moral solution.
5 London has the highest per–square-inch real estate value in Europe. There is no more expensive place to build a concert hall.
6 If by some miracle a clean-handed dotcom billionaire offered £500 million for a new hall, where would it be built?
7 Rattle’s allies – and the Mayor of London – are eyeing Olympopolis, the former 2012 Olympic village, far to the east of the city. But there’s no likely audience living anywhere near the site at present, and there won’t be one for the next 20 years.
8 So a new hall remains hot air, a Rattle-fuelled balloon that cannot get off the ground.
9 But London needs a new hall, every music lover knows that.
10 It will take more than a Rattle-dazzle to get one.