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It is really quite an interesting place and that story somehow catches the mood perfectly.
my mum has to go there all the time to visit kids who are too mental to go to school. descriptions of the inside of some flats are reaaaaaaally horrific.
there's an interesting chapter in the book Captive State by George Monbiot about the corporate takeover of southampton city centre, in which basically the powers that own West Quay paid the wages of certain council members and thus were able to completely transform the city centre, destroy the st marys community and shove flats on top of it just so all shopping interest would be concentrated on west quay and west quay only.
if the joiners wasn't there, i don't think i'd ever go there again. i remember when there were some good comic and record shops down there...early to mid 90s. all gone now.
is probably the most bizarre episode in the recent history of Southampton. To be honest I'd never spent much time there before last summer. The Joiners and occasional choral concerts in the Church were about the only cause I ever had to go there.
That said, working there introduces you to some good things - e.g. a top-notch Indian sweet shop on St Mary's Road...