Tuesday, February 21, 2006


There comes a time when every anarcho-crustie has to settle down and get a proper job, like property developing.

The Levellers - remember them? - have just announced plans to start a two million quid flat conversion in Kemp Town, Brighton. That's right, the Levellers, who take their name from the movement which proclaimed the Earth as a common treasury for all, are setting about turning their recording studio into luxury flats. Drummer and project manager Charlie Heather protests:

"The roof is continually leaking, the upkeep is getting more and more expensive, the heating system should be in a museum and the space is inefficient. We are creating the flats to help pay for the upgrade of everything else. It's not about making lots of money, it's about improving the building and giving the Metway a long-term future, which at the moment it doesn't have."

Hmmm. Maybe there is a need to make the building pay for itself - but couldn't that be done with, perhaps, starter homes rather than penthouse flats?

[Thanks to Morag]


morag said...

he, i'm always ridiculously thrilled to be quoted in your ever excellent work, mr simon. cheers

m x

Billy said...

Sorry to be nitpicking, but I think it was the Diggers who proclaimed the earth a common treasury for all, not the Levellers.

Your point is still valid though, basically they've sold out to the yuppies...man!

Anonymous said...

the Diggers, they were certainly Nobody's Fool.

Anonymous said...

Weren't they named after the Level in Brighton, currently used by circus performers?
I'll never forget that place and, if you're reading this Rochelle, neither should you. ;)

Anonymous said...

I feel duty bound to duplicate the comments on the source article's page, to balance out the reactionary tone:

"Apart from the irrelevant nonsense about coke snorting, the article takes no account of the fact that the building costs a shit load to maintain and attracts high rates etc to pay and that money has to be found from somewhere. It also takes no account of the years and years that the building hosted the SchNEWS office or how the band have funded various really useful projects. Perhaps the Levelers aren't as flush for cash as they have been in the past. Is that a reason to slag them off now? What you want them to do, give the building over to a bunch of lay about squatters so that they can save their rent money for they own drug habits? Ha, we can all play at reactionary fools dishing out the stereotypes."

Agreed - and I can't stand the levellers music, but The Metway has done a considerable amount for the Brighton Music Scene, which very nearly makes up for the number of times I had to suffer "One Way" being clog-stomped around the indie discos of these lands...

Simon Hayes Budgen said...

Yes, Billy - you're quite right, I was confusing my Levellers with my Diggers.

Eyetie... it was a pun, see... The Level and The Levellers. That was their joke. My Grandma lived just round the corner on Albion Street (oh, how Pete Doherty would have jigged for joy) so I spent a lot of time falling off the non-hse-friendly swings there when I was little.

Anonymous - i take your point, but there is absolutely no reason why this property has to be converted into top-end, luxury flats. Penthouses? I ask you. In December, 468 kids were in temporary accomodation. Could the Levellers not have financed their studio while providing social housing of some sort, rather than simply pitching straight for the top of the market? They have elected to go for maximum cash value rather than embarking on a project which could have done a positive good. In effect, they've made a selfish decision.

Anonymous said...

Fair point Simon, conceded.

Although, as a jokey aside, I doubt how luxurious a bunch of flats that sit above a couple of recording studios and a pile of small music business offices are going to be without some at least some serious soundproofing ;)

Anonymous said...

where does it say these are going to be luxury flats? all i can see is that they're going to turn some of the medway into flats in order to pay for the rest these days. until i see otherwise i'm going to think that the whole luxury thing is a fabrication.

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