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14th Apr 2015

Johnny Marr: ‘Most new houses I’ve seen look sh*t’

Johnny has an axe to grind...

Nooruddean Choudry

He’s better known for his guitar work than his views on architecture, but ex-Smith Johnny Marr has a thorn in his side about modern architecture and greedy property developers.

Speaking to Architects’ Journal, the 51-year-old Mancunian slammed modern housing and the current obsession with land grabbing without proper consideration for the quality of new builds:

‘[The song Little King is] inspired by a conversation I had with a property developer; an entrepreneur telling me about buying up land everywhere to throw up these new builds and car parks,’ said Marr.

‘I was appalled by the entitlement and sheer arrogance of it. I don’t believe all of the land should be for sale. I’ve been to a lot of cities in the UK and most of the new houses I’ve seen look sh*t.’

The musician had fonder words for the Modernist council housing estates of his youth:

‘There was poverty on the council estates, there’s no denying that. There was, however, a sense of community…Everybody living closely together created a shared experience that was actually quite nice even if everyone was skint,’ he recalled.

The world may not listen, Johnny. But we do, we do.