(a) Do you remember the showering naked couple sculpture in the Arndale Centre in the 1970s and (b) what did you think about it as a young un?
Here, Demian is referring to the huge, gold coloured “Adam and Eve” statue-cum-water-feature that was situated in the middle of the main concourse of Doncaster’s Arndale shopping centre (now the Frenchgate centre), when it first opened at the end of the 1960s. (Indeed, not having properly visited Doncaster since 1986, I had only recently learnt, with some mild dismay, that the statue had been removed.)
I suppose that, with hindsight, shoving a gigantic sculpture of two naked people having a shower together into the middle of a shopping centre was quite a racy gesture for its day – though a lot less racy than the soft pr0n film titles (Naughty Knickers; She Lost Her You Know What) which regularly adorned the front of the Odeon cinema on the High Street. But I was too young to snigger. As far as I was concerned, this was simply a depiction of Mr. Adam & Mrs. Eve, innocently pleasuring themselves in the Garden of Eden.
And oh, what a garden of delights was to be found in our gleaming new Arndale Centre! Along with the new tower blocks at the edge of town, this was the clearest sign yet that Doncaster, like every other progressive, forward-thinking city, was busily transforming itself into the Space Age Metropolis of my dreams. For me, in thrall to everything that was smart, sleek and systematised, this transformation couldn’t come quickly enough. Tear down the Ancient; make way for the Modern. Chairman Mao would have been proud.
So, while more seasoned eyes saw only tawdry tat, which would date faster than the “unisex” fashions in the newly opened C&A, I viewed the Arndale Adam & Eve as a thrilling symbol of the unstoppable march of modernity, heralding an endless series of ever-brighter new tomorrows.
We weren’t to know.