Thursday, 3 July 2014

Field of the Cloth of Gold

On last week’s Culture Show, Tom Dyckhoff decided to fly the flag for that ancient construction, the tent, actually the oldest structure of mankind. Originally, “we” draped animal skins over (mammoth?) bones. These structures later developed into the elegant yurt and the majestic tepee. With Glastonbury approaching, Dyckhoff punched the air for eco-friendliness and portability in matters of accommodation. The plus points of the tent are myriad. In less developed societies, tents are made of the detritus of everyday life; wooden poles, animal skins and pieces of felt. Tents can be erected and dismantled with the minimum of disruption to the environment. Tent dwellers own the minimum of possessions and are less likely to be the carbon guzzlers of this earth...the pluses just go on and on. During the course of the broadcast, Dyckhoff became so excited, that he seemed to be positing the tent as the answer to all of our housing ills. For a brief moment in time, I almost agreed with him. Then, I remembered those intractable human habits of having to wash and use the loo, of needing gas and electricity for eating, heating and lighting and of simply and stubbornly wanting to settle down and in one place – and how dare we. But even if we could get over all of this, it is my guess that it would not make a darned bit of difference to the shortage of affordable housing. If tent chic caught on, this form of accommodation would become every bit as exclusive and expensive as the house, the flat and the garden shed. Just imagine what the billboards might say: - exclusive new tent development - Field of the Cloth of Gold – view our show tent today – from £1,000,000 for a two-compartment tent...what do you think?

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