I can take a joke, as long as it's about someone else...
Darcy was done up in an art deco linen suit and Bauhau was a pepperoni-shaped approximation of Che Guevara
MONDAY. That’s it. I’m officially not speaking to my erstwhile acquaintance Darcy Farquear’say again, ever. Or his preposterous dachshund, Bauhau. I have been savagely betrayed. I am enraged.
Darcy - ‘epic space correspondent, Creative on Sunday; widely acknowledged as one of the world’s most influential cultural commentators’ according to a suspiciously benign Wikipedia entry - can tell the BBC what he likes. We both know he stabbed me in the back.
A while ago he and a few of his etiolated friends launched a quarterly digest of ‘arts, tropes and boomps-a-daisy’ called Salon Zero. The usual heady mix. Up-the-skirt shots of flimsy urban pavilions, mixed-font theory, experiential reviews, frozen faces in chunky glasses and neurotic essays. I agreed to sit on the editorial board, flattered actually that they valued my input. It really wasn’t very taxing.
Once a month I’d turn up for an afternoon of sneery drinking with the editors, laughing at comedic, dull or pretentious architecture. They’d invariably put it in the next issue anyway, with some Hitchcocky photos above or a wild pencil drawing underneath. It was all very convivial. I even dreamed up the controversial feature that secured massive publicity every year for Salon Zero. The ‘Darling, You’re Taking The Piss’ competition to find the worst architecture in Britain. Guess what happened. Exactly.
Last year saw the opening of my Lieutenant Wharf development, a cluster of luxury living spaces or office units, whatever’s worth more, overlooking an artificial marina near Birmingham. As I described it as an ‘ecommunity’, it got a lot of press. It was all over the Sunday life/style supplements. If it looked a bit boring that’s because the important stuff, sustainable accoutrements etc, were discreet. I crammed £150 million worth of top quality design thinking into 900 apartments. NB: INSIDE.
Our project team invested heavily in culturally enabling interior design. Chairs with extended chopsticks for legs, stylish black-and-white close-ups of cappuccino machines, twigs in vases made from glass with bits of spit in. Obviously there wasn’t much of a budget for the outside, which anyway - duh - is all about public perception. Of COURSE views across the ‘marina’ towards Solihull might be thought dull if viewed by just one person. But when you arrange the buildings so that 900 single people can view it at the same time, well. Then you’ve got an enhanced sense of community, substantial public realm improvements and a sort of connectivity but with permeability. And if you look out of the other window, maybe permeability with connectivity.
Imagine my shock upon opening the latest issue of Salon Zero. There, in this year’s shortlist for ‘Darling, You’re Taking The Piss’ was Lieutenant Wharf. ‘Execrable… an abomination… is there anything the designer would not do for money?… looks like a cross between Modi’in and 1970s East Berlin… ha ha ha…’ And so on and so forth.
The last time I saw Darcy and Bauhau they were on their way to a fancy dress party at the Cuban Embassy. Darcy was done up in an Art Deco linen suit and Bauhau was a pepperoni-shaped approximation of Che Guevara in army fatigues and a little motorcycle jacket. It’s about time someone dobbed Darcy in to the RSPCA.
But… but… to hold my work up to ridicule is to break the first rule of piss-taking: never among friends. Darcy has gone too far this time. Fuck him. And his little dog, too.
TUESDAY. Early morning call to Michelle O. Baby, sorry, I know it’s your bathroom me-time. Just that I’m dissolving Wap Biddly Pish, the envisioning consultancy I set up last year with two former acquaintances. I’m now freelance. So listen, this forthcoming White House makeover…
‘Oh I’m sorry too honey…’ She’s had a word with Barack, apparently, and hired an American. Bloody protectionism.
WEDNESDAY. Well well well. If ‘the American’ isn’t Tron Pitney. Ex-Wap Biddly Pish founder, Darcy’s boyfriend and now freelance bastard himself.
THURSDAY. Delete all Darcy’s voicemail messages, unheard.
FRIDAY. ‘Mr X’ the conservactionist calls. Operation Scythe is ‘on’. Now Finsbury Health Centre is to be handed to the private sector, we will proceed with our plan to
blow it up.
SATURDAY. Create sulky, ambient live/work space in pub.
SUNDAY. Paper review in the recliner. The New York Times lauds ‘the effortless auto-modernist cool of Tron Pitney’. Call me paranoid but I sense a worldwide American conspiracy here.