If you enjoy people whingeing and whining about how things were much better in the old days than they are now, then why not join one of those ‘then and now’ photo groups about the town or city where you live? I joined our local one and it literally could not be anymore depressing.

The usual modus operandi of users of our local group is this: post a picture of somewhere well known in the city and post an unflattering picture of how it looks today. Then just wait for the legions of gloomsters and doomsters to pile in saying that nowadays everything is shit. But is it really?

I saw some pictures last week of Bristol’s city centre, one from donkey’s years ago and one from today and within minutes they were out in force. ‘They’ve ruined the centre’, ‘it was so much better in the old days’, ‘I blame (insert convenient scapegoat)’ and so on. Yet – and here I am going to be highly controversial – the city centre, along with the wonderfully restored and reinvented harbourside is actually lovely.

Yes, it’s more concrete and less flowerbeds but you don’t need to go far to see flowerbeds. Now, you get a clear, unhindered view of the old docks area, you have places to sit, you often have a variety of food stalls, as well as a pop up bar on a weekend and the best atmosphere you get anytime, anywhere. In my opinion.

It’s like everything new is terrible and everything old is great. The good old days were when no one got burgled, though people always left their doors open, perhaps even to go on holiday! Those shitty, filthy buildings which we always looked at and thought, “Look at those shitty, filthy buildings!” were actually very lovely, even though they weren’t, especially compared to the ‘brutalist’ buildings of today.

It’s true that many of the buildings constructed in any era were quite ugly, particularly those built in the 1960s and 1970s. Every time Prince Charles looked at one, he burst a blood vessel. “These modern architects should be taken to the tower,” he mumbled, although only after doing their civic duty by picking some fruit. But so were a lot of the older buildings.

Bristol has it’s good buildings and its bad ones but the reality is that there’s always been good and bad and just because something’s old, it doesn’t mean it’s easier on the eye. In my view, the city centre and many, though not all, of the surrounding areas is better than ever.