A St Pancras launch

<p>Opening ceremonies are, without exception, terrible. Crushing, tedious hours of speeches, soul destroying dance routines, and two of the worst words in the English language. Children's choir. If you're lucky you get some fireworks. The second unveiling of <a href="http://www.stpancras.com/" target="_blank">St Pancras</a> this week, after Her Majesty did the honours on Tuesday, featured no fireworks and was, surprise surprise, terrible. So lets focus on the positives first.</p>
<p>St Pancras is as awe inspiring a piece of architecture as the countless news articles and advertisements have threatened. It will be open on Tuesday and anyone within central London needs to go and have a walk around it. It is astonishingly impressive. It's a completely bonkers marriage of a Hogwarts' style boarding school building at its front and the glorious Barlow glass shed at the back, form where the trains will arrive and depart.</p>
<p><img width="280" height="183" align="right" src="/documents/UserContributed/image/Bookseller%20Images/stpancrasarch.jpg" alt="" />Precisely why the building was once viewed as a London eyesore is baffling. I cannot see someone looking at London's decrepit Centrepoint in 50 years time and going &quot;Wow, what a fantastic piece of English architecture. We must restore it to its former glory.&quot; Among the retailers which will trade from St Pancras is Foyles, whose store should open around Christmas. It's a great coup for the indie and if it performs even slightly as well as WH Smith's wing of lucrative travel stores (one of which will also be in St Pancras), it will be a tremendous investment. It is housed in the Arcade area, which features other quintessential London retailers such as Hamleys.</p>
<p>St Pancras is so impressive that it's surprising that the management needed to make such a needless song and dance about it. They should have just turned on all the lights and invited us to explore the building. But no.</p>
<p>Instead, invitees sat on a raised tier of seats, looking down into the platforms that were hidden in murk. And so we sat, freezing cold, seemingly forever. It was so gloomy inside the shed that at one point it appeared almost nightmarish, like the lights were going to come on and you would be confronted with something unspeakable. Which in a sense is what happened. A conductor, looking uncannily like the chef Marco Pierre White, came on stage and struck up the orchestra. His mugging face was broadcast on 30ft high screens. Following the orchestra, the actor Timothy West appeared as William Henry Barlow, the architect of the original shed. He told us the story of the station, his tale interspersed with several speeches by the management involved in the restoration of the station. At one point West completely lost the plot and had to be reminded which line he was meant to be reading by his Victorian assistant. Or line prompter to be more precise. Eventually the shed got lit up and it looked as amazing as I had hoped. Unfortunately one of the Eurostar trains then rolled into the station, which was completely filthy. Although it could have been late, so small mercies.</p>
<p>And then, the musical climax. On Tuesday attendees watched Lemar and Katherine Jenkins. We got singers so talented that they were their understudies. And along with the kids they sang a horrific medley of Ticket to Ride and Hello, Goodbye by the Beatles, two songs I will never hear again without breaking into a cold sweat.</p>
<p>Finally it ended and we were allowed to explore the arcade. Which was tremendously fun and again just underlined what a fantastic building St Pancras is. It was just a shame we had to go through a song and dance to get there.</p>