UPDATE: A note: before you start reading, acquaint yourself with the difference between the word conservation and the word conversation. This really is key to understanding what I’ve written here. It’s apparently proven that human beings (and I know this includes myself) get similar looking words mixed up because when reading we look at the first and last letters of a word and guess the rest…
Dartmouth Park has a bit of a reputation for its chattering class credentials. With residents including Ed Miliband and enough writers and performers for a strong programme at the We Love Highgate Library day, you wouldn’t be surprised that the chatter would be something the local dartmouthparkarati would want to preserve.
So step forward local estate agents Buchanan Rae Wilson, who seem to have come up with a world first.
Move over Conservation Area – here’s the Dartmouth Park Conversation Area!
You can just imagine it…
“Darling! We’ve run out of olives!”
“You’re not being serious! Quick, we must go down to Yildiz in Archway at once! We’ll soon fix this!”
“But… we can’t! I wanted to tell you all about Freedom by Jonathan Franzen and…. and Archway’s not in the Conversation Area!”
“Oh, darling. You’re right. But York Rise is in the Conversation Area!”
“Thank God our house is so ideally located!”
Moreover, it is implied that a society will be established to police the chatter in the neighbourhood, and crack down on anything unsavoury. It is currently planned, I am told, for a posse of Conversation Enforcement Officers to patrol the Highgate Road / Croftdown Road junction to issue written reprimands if slang, swearing or references to the Sun newspaper are uttered by students of the three schools in that quarter.
A second team will stand at the nearby entrance to Hampstead Heath, distributing copies of books by writers such as Monica Ali, Hilary Mantel and Howard Jacobson, subsidised by the subs paid by Conversation Society members.
Meanwhile, the a renegade faction of the Society plans to recruit a team of expert canvassers (the idea to recruit primarily among Jehovah’s Witnesses has been mooted) to go door-to-door on the Islington (yes, Islington!) side of Dartmouth Park Hill to investigate the feasibility of them being admitted to the Conversation Area. That, the Society’s moderate faction is keen to stress, would of course be subject to a referendum within the current bounds.
And I’d guess the result would be a ‘no’ vote. The dartmouthparkarati just wouldn’t take the possible degradation of the area’s reputation in Conversation.