I work in London's Fashionable Kings Cross area of London, where there are always new things popping up, or being rebuilt. For instance, my proper office is in the Granary Building, which used to be... well, a granary building, but is now the main site for Central St Martins.
It's all very funky and exciting, especially when something new opens that you can go and have a nosey around, and so it was last Friday when the Coal Drops Yard area opened up. It's right next door to the Granary Building and all the time I've been coming here - first for PhD stuff and latterly for Actual Job - it's been boarded up, so it was a bit of a shock to wander out at lunchtime and see a whole new ZONE ready for looking at.
Originally this was the coal yard for the industrial site that sat here next to the canal and near Kings Cross and St Pancras stations, but the whole thing has now been cleaned up and re-tooled as a SUPER CHI-CHI shopping destination. It looks GORGEOUS, especially the two roofs which scoop around and up at one end like two waves crashing into each other. Apart from that though it's weirdly pointless. I, and everyone I know who went to have a look, came back and said "It's all very nice, but I can't see why I'd ever go there again." The shops are SO chi-chi that it's hard to work out what they actually are - you walk past some and think, is it a cafe? is it a shop? or is it maybe an art gallery of some kind? There appear to be NICK NACKS available, but does anybody need quite that much tat? One of the shops seems to concentrate on chocolate, but my boss claims that he saw a bar of chocolate that cost FIFTY QUID, which surely can't be right can it?
Usually in places like this you can find a PUB at one end, but at Coal Drops Yard everywhere looked like it was a RESTAURANT, with staff congregating at the doors to show you to a table or - more likely for ROCK AND ROLL REBELS like me - keep you out. I walked around the whole area and honestly could not work out what the point of any of it was!
CONVERSELY they've just opened a new PUB in St Pancras station, right at the back where the HS1 trains go from. It's ALWAYS full, even after only being open for a week, and when myself and The Maths In My Retail Plan popped in last Tuesday it was clear that EVERYBODY knew EXACTLY what it was for, and were thoroughly enjoying it. I predict that the PUB will last a lot longer than most of the chi-chi nick nack shops down the way!