This (see http://www.manx.net/isle-of-man-news/72952/alley-art-springs-up ) gave me a cheap laugh, and not just because ex-public schoolboys pretending to have any kind of street cred is hilarious.
It was also because I remember a local lecture back in the late 1980’s by Gavin Stamp, the acerbic architectural critic who continued the re-assessment of Victorian architecture started by John Betjeman. Under the pen-name ‘Piloti’, Stamp also writes most of Private Eye‘s ‘Nooks and Corners’ column, which waspishly records the desecration of UK historic buildings without once descending into the inane burblings favoured by, say, Manx heritage queens.
What I remember about it most was his slide-show about new and naff Douglas buildings during which the phrase ‘Kentucky Fried Georgian’ was used to mock the designs of one architect much favoured by government and the finance sector at the time. That architect was Ian Brown, and his KFG monstrosities not only wrecked the island’s capital but paid for these plonkers to go to school. Current fees at KWC are about £10K a year, I believe. Judge from this tosh if they are worth it.
Incidentally their dad certainly could not claim to have designed the Villa Marina. He merely presided over the destruction of the original building, along with the arcade next door. During that awful project the island’s last art deco masterpieces (and only classic examples of all that was right about early 20th century seaside urban planning) lost all their distinguishing features, and around a million quid’s worth of period fittings must have vanished in the process. Some (such as top quality hand-crafted doors, staircases, wall fittings, and statuary) vanished off-island in white vans and was sold to restoration buffs. Much more of it (e.g. the bronze lampshades from the arcade) was simply melted down and sold for scrap.
Some blame underpaid building workers. Others think management were in on the scams too. But the suggestion made when government overseers were questioned about it that nobody recognised the value of such items is simply not conceivable. And with Douglas Degeneration Partnership dictating current changes, I doubt things will get better during this generation.