Ian Martin designs a ‘funagogue’
MONDAY. To London for a demo - Justice for Environmental Auteurs. It’s disgraceful that clients are seeking to link our fee increases to rises in global temperature. We all chant: ‘Inflation should be the yardstick for both remuneration and self-regard!’ and feel 3.5 per cent better.
TUESDAY. I’m designing a big scallopy thing in Singapore, full of trees. It has an immensely collaborative feel, various radical and technical examinations, experimental aspects and exciting lines of enquiry, converging in a coveted award.
WEDNESDAY. Lunch with my old ‘friend’ Darcy Farquear’say, who has pissed me right off. His latest act of cultural treachery: ghosting an important weekly feature on ‘metarchitecture’ for the Creative on Sunday. In a fairer world that would be MY gig.
Please don’t ask me what metarchitecture is. I thought I’d made that perfectly clear. Metarchitecture is an internalised Q&A about future epic space and how we should be thinking around the corner. Simply start a sentence with ‘What links…’ Then do a list of stuff. Then categorise it.
What links the quiet symmetry of a Georgian building, Lady Gaga’s upper body strength, Skylon, tin mining, the psychogeography of New York delicatessens, a contrapunctus from The Art of Fugue, the geometry of tulips, an acid jazz pop-up disco, T S Eliot’s Homburg, the M62 westbound, migrating geese, an aerial view of Glastonbury and harvested rain? Metarchitecture.
See? It’s an easy two-step: mince up some random subjects, then shape into a meaningful chain of cultural sausages. Metarchitecture may be just extruded zeit-gristle but it is nevertheless part of our HUMAN DISCOURSE. However, the pretend ‘author’ of the new CoS column is Bauhau, Darcy’s dachshund and now apparently a cultural sausage in his own right.
Ever since the newspaper discovered that a querulous dog in a Marc Jacobs retro-grunge plaid wrap can connect with readers more effectively than a jaundiced architecture critic in a silly hat, Darcy has suffered the humiliation of being content provider for his own neurotic, brainless, yapping pet.
Except now Darcy’s lost that, too. Sinking his fourth Sarcastic Mary, he reveals that he has custody at weekends only. During the week Bauhau stays with his new agent, the fearsome Victoria Spong of Fusilli Spong Talent Agency. And Spong’s had Darcy sacked as ghost writer for the metarchitecture feature. Architecturally critical interns are much, much cheaper. Poor Darcy doesn’t know what to do, beyond a fifth Sarcastic Mary. I tell him he’s got to retaliate. Dump Bauhau entirely. Get another dog. One that looks good in Stella McCartney stuff. He gives me a hard look and a grim smile. We clink glasses.
THURSDAY. Freezing. Time to dig out the high-density polystyrene overcoat!
FRIDAY. Design a ‘funagogue’ for some lighthearted Jewish clients.
SATURDAY. To Battersea. I’m architectural dog shopping with Darcy. All he has written in his Moleskine is ‘BBC4-ish…FOUR LEGS…eclipse Bauhau’s intellect with fresh insights? THINK CANINE VERSION OF YOUNG ALAN YENTOB’! Which isn’t much, to be honest.
There’s quite a nice poodle, would definitely look good in something punky. But, as Darcy says, that might come across a bit ‘arch’. A Weimaraner missing most of an ear has a certain rugged appeal, but is too butch for this flimsy, skittish age. Then we spot a border collie, unpretentious and intelligent. The handler explains that the dog is very shortsighted and needs to wear glasses.
‘You know what would suit him?’ babbles a smitten Darcy. The dog looks at him, vaguely. ‘Round-framed. Black. No. Dark tortoiseshell…’ The handler laughs. ‘Never mind the spectacles, check the particulars, love. She’s a BITCH!’ Darcy does that rapid clapping thing and squeaks with delight. The collie strains to interpret the instruction and settles for sitting with an enigmatic, quizzical look. Perfect.
SUNDAY. To a special animal church for the new dog’s christening. She is to be called Bess of Hardwick. I’m a bit choked up actually; never been a dogfather before.
At the reception, Bess is already wearing her new Corb glasses, a fetching black velvet suit and an Elizabethan ruff. She looks ready to take on the male dachshund-dominated world of architecture. As soon as we can find her a theory.
We both imagine Bauhau quaking in his little boots; that’s his default setting. ‘Bring it on!’ hisses Darcy. Bess dashes off to herd a drinks waiter our way.