A ring road for aeroplanes and a farewell to the bees
Ian Martin floats the idea of a floating airport
MONDAY. My old friend Loaf, the mayor of London, has refloated the idea of an ‘international mudhub’ in the middle of the Thames Estuary.
That’s all very well but as conceptual director for the project, Muggins here has to work out the logistics. You can float the idea of a floating airport but at some point you have to work out how to float the airport itself. Apart from floating a #floattheairport hashtag.
It is not, as some have blithely suggested, just a matter of tethering a shitload of pontoons or industrial lilos or whatever to the riverbed, then waiting for the world’s long-haul traffic to arrive. That’s ridiculous. This is about civic ambition on a national scale. My new masterplan envisions a floating airport tethered to the ENTIRE COAST OF BRITAIN. Like a giant M25 for aeroplanes.
People will say it is mad, of course. They’re playing right into our hands. Because suddenly an airport that only stretches from the Isle of Grain to the Isle of Wight seems a lot less ridiculous. And after that, one that merely fits the Thames Estuary like a contraceptive diaphragm will seem just right.
TUESDAY. Dear Chinese media: my Blingnang skyscraper does NOT ‘look like big pants’. It looks like a pair of skinny-fit jeans. I would never design a building to look like underwear, apart from ‘The Loungerie’, my Leeds nightclub that looks like a stuffed bra and knickers. But in my defence that was for a bet.
WEDNESDAY. Sketch out proposals to double the size of Moscow. Putin’s queuing up to ‘lead the cranes’ dressed as a topless construction worker.
THURSDAY. To Westminster for the mournful departure of the Hon. Aeneas Upmother-Brown.
He steps down today as culture minister with special responsibility for architecture, bed and breakfast hotels, hospitality boxes at major sporting destinations, online ticketing systems and humane circuses. Over the past two years, despite this broad portfolio, Upmother-Brown has been a powerful presence in the world of epic space, in no small part due to the personal swarm of bees that accompanies him everywhere.
They’re here tonight, at this low-key drinks party on the newly-refurbished Aviva Members’ Terrace, in slow orbit around his head like little stripey, crestfallen moons. Occasionally he despatches them with a murmur to ‘mingle’ among us but to be honest their heart isn’t in it. Perhaps they will miss the ministerial perks - the official saloon car, the early morning hivemind sessions, the abundance of flowers everywhere - more than their master will.
It’s no secret that his departure was a little fraught. The Cabinet reshuffle was an excuse to move the prestigious bed and breakfast hotels sector to Business. Upmother-Brown felt slighted and bees are notoriously sensitive to mood swings. There were apparently ugly scenes in a Downing Street stairwell, with one junior civil servant ‘stung into inaction’ in several places.
What’s also becoming painfully clear is that there’s no love lost between the outgoing minister and his successor, Gavin ‘Gavvers’ Quinly-Spread, a smooth Tory bombshell lionised on Twitter as the Fashionable Face of Capitalism. ‘Oh don’t misunderstand us,’ says Upmother-Brown, his winged shroud of bee-blur suddenly rising in tone to a minor third. ‘I have always found Mr Quinly-Spread to be a most clubbable fellow [buzz]. Yes, a most clubbable fellow [BUZZ] indeed…’
FRIDAY. Back to the Members’ Terrace for a swish cocktail party. A big banner welcomes Mr G Q-Spread to the ministry. His amended portfolio now includes architecture, destination branding, spiritual renewal, fun run licensing, Bestival, television baking programme development, cultural equity management and ‘popster economics’.
It’s a much younger crowd than last night, hairier and thinner. In a breezy address, GQ signals a style change. ‘For too long, our listing process has been a bee-driven lottery…’ An obvious dig at his predecessor, who would commission balsa wood models of buildings nominated for preservation. If bees were happy to inhabit it: listed. That’s why Milton Keynes shopping centre (‘communal and busy’) got the nod.
‘So from now on listing will be sorted by my mate, bloody good bloke and former business partner Johnny. Johnny?’ Johnny responds with a casual wave to the crowd. Then he ‘gunfingers’ the minister, making a little ‘chk’ sound.
SATURDAY. Five-a-zeitgeist theoretical football. Incrementalism 1, Gurgling Metastasism 10.
SUNDAY. Float idea of self in recliner.