Well now. Here’s a pleasing, solid slice of modernism. It looks in fine fettle, and deservedly so. Bounds Green is another valuable emissary from that otherwise value-strapped decade, the 1930s. If ever you need a tangible reminder of why the second world war was worth fighting, take a trip up the north end of the Piccadilly line.
But while Bounds Green station is an uplifting sensory dispatch from a distinctly downbeat era, and is all the greater for being so, the present day has not been kind. And here’s my problem. Should I be at all bothered about what is taking place at the fringes of this and so many other stunning outposts of the Underground? You’ll see what I mean if I repeat the shot above, but widen the view a little.
Gaaaah! It’s not just seeing the word “bits” in the name of shop that depresses me (though only up to a point; the smutty part of me will always associate the word with Kenneth Connor in Carry on Behind who, in response to Elke Sommer announcing “When I love a man, I give him everything, I give it all”, sighs: “But I don’t want it all. I just want a bit!“).
No, it’s also the font. What a horrible, horrible font. I despair at the inelegant, unimaginative lettering. I bridle at the use of blue on red. And I recoil at the way the ampersand flops and flails about.
To be fair, I’d feel this way on seeing such a font adorning any building. But at the foot of such a gold standard of 20th century style and design is heartbreaking.
Or is it? Should I not treat it as part of the station at all? Or somehow see it yet “not” see it, in a kind of doublethink, as satirised by George Orwell (another valuable emissary from the 1930s)?
The Underground portions of Bounds Green, both inside and out, are splendid. I say that without reservation.
I just can’t quite get that other font out of my mind, like a bit of grit in my eye. It needles me.
What chance us clubbing together and buying the lease, purely in order to replace that weeping sore of a sign?