What do Reggie Perrin, Punk band The Members and the end of cheap oil have in common? The Suburbs, that’s what. Find out more at Exeter’s Global Centre on Tuesday, May 15 at 7pm, in a talk entitled The Sound of the Suburbs.
Dr Jo Gill from Exeter University is part of an international research group looking at the culture of suburbs around the world. In this talk she will begin by defining suburbs (in Exeter’s case, drawing on centuries old maps and surveys) and then highlight some local, national and global examples.
After that she will move on to show how art, music, and literature have helped to illustrate the special features of suburban experience as seen, for example, in Hanif Kureishi’s novel The Buddha of Suburbia, or Miranda Sawyer’s memoir, Park And Ride: Adventures in Suburbia. “I’m also interested in learning a great deal from the audience’s own perceptions and experience of suburbia,” said Dr Gill.
If you live in Heavitree, Topsham or Alphington, you’re welcome to come along. And if you live anywhere else, you’re also welcome.
“Do we have suburbs in Exeter?” asks Global Centre events co-ordinator Ghee Bowman.
“If a suburb is a characterless place where people sleep but don’t work, then Exeter isn’t like that. And what about the banlieues in Paris, or the shanty towns in Nairobi? Do they count as suburbs?”
With the recent increases in fuel prices, some people are questioning whether suburbs are a viable place to live. According to a recent American documentary called The End of Suburbia, commuting by car will shortly become unsustainable. “We’re literally stuck up a cul-de-sac in a cement 4 by 4 without a fill-up,” says one of the contributors to the film. Is that prospect coming to Devon too?
This session is free and open to all. The Global Centre can be found at Berkeley House on Dix’s Field, opposite the tourist Information Centre, next to the Southernhay United Reformed Church.
(from a press release)