An ambitious plan to twin Tamworth and Los Angeles is put to the test
Ian Martin Road-tests the beta version of the iPad 5
MONDAY. As one of the founding members of the activist group Enemies Of The Shard, my mate Scalesy the urban trespasser has led some pretty high-profile derision.
He famously sneaked up to the top of the Shard in his bobble hat and took a picture of himself pulling a face. Since then he’s been outspoken in his bobble hat about corporate gigantism and the hypocrisy of ‘the design industry’.
Recently Scalesy mocked the architect’s claim that this grim, over-sized capitalist silo will in fact be an ‘actual town of 8,000 people’.
Oh really, he sneered in his bobble hat. Will there be a primary school there? Dentists? Housing association flats and a parish church and a cottage hospital? Idiots.
Now they’ve asked him to become Mayor of The Shard, on quite a generous stipend. I don’t want to speculate, but I can definitely sense some moral flexibility bobbling about.
TUESDAY. Under cover of the night I hurry to an emergency meeting of the Tamworth League.
Aye, I hurry as people have hurried since the eighth century, when Oversight of England was cruelly plucked from the socket of ancient Mercia by the treacherous and incestuous barbarians of the South.
We have assembled in solemn accordance with the Old Ways to discuss a branding opportunity. A mighty power from across the Great Sea has pitched an exciting cross-vectored media partnership. The terms seem quite reasonable. It would however have an impact on our masterplan to revive the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy, to wit, a kingdom of London enclosed by a Great Wall and the rest of England led by a saucy, slightly pissed Mercia. Imagine a densely-packed salad bar sequestered within a realm of pies.
The partnership deal would require us to rebadge the region ‘New Mercia brought to you by HBO’s Game of Thrones’. Now the Tamworth League already receives certain considerations for having inspired the blood-sluiced porn version of our early history, but the new arrangement effectively transfers governance of the region to a cabal of producers based in Los Angeles.
Ancient rights to be transferred from the Tamworth Council of Elders to ‘Todd Spielman, Show Runner’ include pannage, judicial beheadment, charcoal burning, human pruning, estover, turbary, tribal slaughter and all town and country planning regulations.
It’s not ideal, but these are bleak times. And our geopolitical restoration programme desperately needs major sponsorship, now the deal to sell off most of Cheshire to a Saudi consortium has fallen through.
WEDNESDAY. I have been asked by an epic space collective to rethink their business model.
What a terrible state it’s in. I don’t think anyone’s looked at it properly since savage Modernist dinosaurs ruled the earth. Everything’s very ‘boom and bust’. Mountainous terrain.
Lots of uphill struggles, sunlit uplands, then jagged, treacherous cliffs. Of course I can’t redesign economics – that’s a closed shop and membership costs a fortune – but I can psychologically re-landscape the business model at least. Out goes the old-fashioned notion of ‘up and down’. In comes the new model of ‘round and round’.
We need to rethink how we travel through the economic landscape, too. It is unacceptable in the current climate to have a 4x4 in second gear roaring through verdant peaks and barren troughs. Better to imagine us all on a gentle bicycle ride through woodland, embracing the cyclical nature of the economy.
THURSDAY. Meeting of the Tamworth League. We have now read HBO’s small print and decide with much regret to decline their offer of media stewardship.
Although the contract acknowledges the importance of preserving the essential characteristics of Mercia, an insistence that the entire kingdom ‘be stopped at regular intervals for adverts and trailers for next week’s Mercia’ is a deal-breaker.
We resolve to approach the BBC to explore their alternative offer of a ‘low-budget reality soap opera’.
FRIDAY. Road-testing the beta version of the iPad 5. Some glitches, but I’m very impressed with the smooth ‘mode-switch’ facility, which will make it an indispensable tool for the underemployed architect. ‘Portrait mode’ for looking at pictures of tall buildings, ‘landscape’ for watching Antiques Roadshow or whatever.
SATURDAY. Five-a-zeitgeist apathy dodgeball. Hypothetical Attitude 0, Apolitical Turpitude 0.
SUNDAY. Check emails in the recliner. There’s an ominous one from Scalesy, who’s gone up the Shard again. Only this time he’s wearing not a bobble hat but a black-feathered tricorn.