I went back to the Greenway yesterday to check whether my view of the Olympic Stadium was permanently obscured. And it was. The metal mesh in the towering new electric perimeter fence is far too tightly spaced to allow the snapping of any decent photos, dammit, but that's overbearing security for you. Additional temporary fences are also in place, blocking off a long strip of newly-laid concrete as the Greenway continues to be transformed from a bramble-edged footpath into a landscaped multi-modal thoroughfare. It's ugly as hell at the moment, with the last vestiges of pre-Olympic undergrowth now stripped from the surface. Where once was a perfect always-open viewing platform, the whole area now feels like an unwelcoming building site within an unwelcoming building site. Who'd ever want to come up here now?
But a new panoramic opportunity is taking shape a little further south, alongside the railway. A collection of bright lime-green containers, some for shelter, another upturned like a tower, now fill a previous Greenway dead end. There's no access for the public yet, and the opening's already running at least a month later than scheduled. But smile, because this is the View Tube, and it's here to give taxpayers their line of sight back.
The View Tube is a project from Leaside Regeneration, a "community-based social enterprise" mildly obsessed with the use of metal containers. Sometimes they stick offices inside, at other times artist's studios, but here the containers form an unlikely new collective facility. It's planned to be a "community café" (despite the fact there's not really any community nearby) (unless the target market is Olympic site workers wandering by, of which there are plenty). It's planned to provide "inclusive cycle hire" facilities (for anyone who fancies a bike ride along the Greenway) (I can think of much nicer spots, and several more worthwhile journeys). It's planned to provide an "education facility for key stages 1-5" (so that'll be lots of worksheets about ecology and engineering for local schools, no doubt). And it's planned to put on various "new art installations" (because a near-Olympic gallery is obviously what East London's been crying out for) (I don't know how I've survived for so long without). All the place needs now is a manager.
A job ad was posted this week for the role of View Tube Manager. The successful candidate will be expected to "establish the View Tube as a major resource for local communities, social enterprises and visitors to the Greenway", to "co-ordinate staff and services within the View Tube to maximum effect" and also to manage the site's day to day operation. Obviously the facility has to be "customer focused" and "sustainable" long-term, with the postholder required to ensure that "additional programmes in and around the View Tube are fully exploited". In other words, for a salary of £28K, they're looking for someone to turn a pile of metal boxes in the middle of nowhere into somewhere welcoming, prosperous and special.
I just wondered whether any of you might possibly be interested in the job. It's a four year fixed-term contract, with the opportunity to work on a windswept sewertop in the middle of a construction site, Should the View Tube ever evolve into a stakeholder-attracting success story then it'd be wholly your doing. More to the point, you'd be the custodian of the only remaining decentview of the Olympic Stadium along the entire Greenway, and therefore somebody well worth knowing. If I'm going kick off another series of decent 2012 site photographs then I'll need to be trotting up these part-time stairs on a regular basis, so being on speaking terms with the site owner would be damned useful. Plus, you never know, you might even want to give me a freebie backhander hot chocolate in the café as thanks for me pointing out the job in the first place. Closing date's in a fortnight's time. Let me know how you get on. And hurry up and get the place open.