Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while will know that I am a net-curtain twitcher, a spying spinster extraordinaire. The Tate Modern saga and net-curtain-gate therefore piqued my interest immediately and I had to see the performance drama for myself.
Although I am not at home much during the day, from my balcony window I can see the comings and goings of all my neighbours in my block of flats.
I know, for example, that my neighbour at number 13 goes to the gym quite regularly but always drives his car there despite the gym being a mere 200 metres down the road.
I know that the upstairs family have a dog (which is contravenes the conditions of their lease) and that the father takes said dog for a walk at around 20:45 every evening. He is out for about 20 minutes and, more often than not, he is on his phone. I haven’t yet worked out who he speaks to, but I will.
I know that my downstairs neighbour leaves her flat with her wheelie suitcase at about 16:40 and returns just before 21:00. I am intrigued and baffled by what is in her wheelie suitcase and have spent many hours fantasising about the salacious or criminal enterprises that the wheelie suitcase may disguise. In fact I have spent so many hours fantasising about the contents of the wheelie suitcase that I have even written a blog post about it.
Tate Modern’s net-curtain gate is right up my street. A bit of background for those of you who don’t know the story: Tate Modern, near Waterloo station in London has built an extension, an awesome and commandeering architectural feat of sharp angles on the outside, housing smooth curves and importantly large hanging spaces for modern art on the inside. Most importantly for this story though is the 360 degree viewing gallery on the 10th floor.
Since the extension has opened hundreds of thousands of visitors have bypassed the art heading straight for the elevators and up to the 10th floor. The viewing gallery rivals the Shard, the London Eye and Monument for spectacular images of London.
In my view, however, the Tate Modern wins hands down because of this:
You can see right into these flats. You can see the swanky sofas, the artwork, the books on shelves.
You can see the inhabitants drinking coffee, reading the paper, trying hard to look cool. You can see their Filipino maids hoovering the rug and polishing the glass coffee table.
The viewing gallery is open in the evenings and you can see the cross words, the arguments, the TV dinners and amorous embraces.
This, my friends, is pure performance drama.
Now it won’t surprise you to hear that the inhabitants of these £4.5million flats have complained to the head of the Tate, Nicolas Serota, who offered a curt and cutting retort:
“they should buy net curtains”.
Thus net-curtain-gate began. Net curtains? Insult of insults!
I feel little sympathy with the inhabitants of these flats. Anyone who buys a flat by a modernist architect knows that it will have no privacy. Modernist architects don’t do walls. They do glass. Duh!
The plans for the Tate Modern were available when the flats were sold. Any sensible buyer would have checked the plans.
My message to the inhabitants of these flats: Embrace the drama, live the saga, play to your audience, outwit them with your humour.