When in 1978 punk quartet Crime recorded the tracks that would make up their San Francisco’s Doomed LP, I wonder if they could smell the city burning. For over thirty years on, its soul is on fire.
As Crime foretold, the elegies for the city have been coming in thick and fast for a few years now. There’s been mourning of the ‘yuppification’ of a longstanding subcultural haven for the marginalised or progressive of thought, a sense that a city that fostered powerful civil rights movements will never do so again. This is, of course, a familiar pattern of gentrification and redevelopment that is familiar in so many other Western cities, including London. Just as California has Silicon Valley, Shoreditch – a former artist’s mecca on account of its cheap rent – has Silicon Roundabout.