I have taken a few walks around Dundee since I arrived. Nothing serious—I was normally looking for something specific. And in those walks, I have noticed how dingy and shabby many of the older building look. Even the churches, which in the States I am accustomed to seeing much cleaner, look tired, old, warn, and weary.
When I think ‘industrial,’ I think worn and shabby. Not really sure why, but the shabbiness of some of Dundee’s buildings is what I see as its past life as an industry hub. But the shabbiness only goes so far.
The further I wander from downtown, the less shabby the buildings are. Head down past the Unicorn towards the water front, and there are some nice, shiny, modern buildings. The Discovery point is clean and crisp, even if the penguins out front are a bit weathered. And even in the middle of town, next to the three-churches-became-one is a very sleek and modern mall.
The shabbiness is still there, but it doesn’t seem to bring the entire experience down. There are some streets that feel old and dank, but around the corner might be a sleek modern storefront.
The one place that really epitomizes the relationship between the shabby industrial city and the new reforming of Dundee is the store where I purchased my replacement mixed board. After a brilliantly, spectacularly stupid mistake—not reading the directions or UL rating—I let all of the magic blue smoke out of my previous mixer board. I sought a replacement, and was sent down one of those rather shabby streets. I was a little worried that the store might not have what I needed or that it might be old or questionable. Then I got there. It has an ugly storefront, but its two floors contain top-of-the line modern recording and studio equipment. And the employees knew what they were doing. That is the post industrial to me—a shabby, dingy, rat-hole-looking place with roughly 1 million £ of top-of-the line, studio quality, awe-inspiring audio visual equipment.