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Parabolics to the lot of them

Ian Martin’s iconic tower gets a new nickname

MONDAY I despair, I really do, again. Why can’t people and stakeholders and consumers of the delivered environment just get along? The key to civic harmony has always been about maintaining ‘good neighbourliness’ between buildings. When basic politeness goes out of the window, well - urbanism may as well just pack its bags and migrate to a country where they DO appreciate architectural genius and public order. Kazhakstan, say.

Admittedly the construction of my landmark London office tower wasn’t without incident. I acknowledge there were several maimings, some casual racism in the scaffolders’ shouted conversations, permanent traffic chaos and occasional rubble bouncing around. But that doesn’t excuse the latest bout of sheer bloody-mindedness from certain local businesses. Encouraged by the gutter press, they have RE-NICKNAMED my iconic tower. It’s completely unacceptable. The building was officially entitled the Fenestrated Parabola at a very early sketch stage, to reflect its curved facade of polished steel and glass. ‘Oh, it certainly reflects all right,’ said the manager of a nearby bespoke umbrella boutique, sarcastically, to online blog hub Qubble. ‘I would say it positively dazzles. By late lunchtime there’s like this fat laser beam penetrating the shop and, you know, melting everything. We had this brilliant window display. An autumn scene with all different umbrellas and that, dancing through piles of artfully arranged crispy golden leaves. It took me and Darren ages. It was, to be fair to myself, both “classic” and “classy” at the same time. Then the whole scenario got totally fried by THAT monstrosity.’

Cue synthetically outraged Umbrella Man pointing at the Fenestrated Parabola in a very poor picture, clearly taken without enthusiasm by the Qubble correspondent on his stupid phone. First a meme did the rounds: Umbrella Man frying an egg on the pavement. Frying an egg on the bonnet of a Ford Focus. Frying an egg amid the macabre, blackened aftermath of the autumn umbrella inferno. Now, in an act of sheer malice, the Fenestrated Parabola has been ‘dubbed’ the Melty Fucklump by Qubble’s editorial team.

TUESDAY I consult my lawyers, who agree there’s a prima facie case for disruption of intellectual purchase, application of false nickname with intent to wound emotionally, and calumny with aggravated disparagement via named third parties, to wit: Umbrella Man and his bloody business owner mates in the shadow of the Fenestrated Parabola.

WEDNESDAY Settle out of court. Luckily the Parabola’s owners - Qatari Space Invaders Corporation - haven’t been unduly upset by all this unpleasantness and have generously undertaken not to flounce out of the London buy-to-let market, a move which might have triggered an acute shortage of affordable homes.

Meanwhile, the ‘offending’ elevation has been covered by temporary sheeting bearing the message ‘We would love to be able to show you our amazing facade for the Fenestrated Parabola that everyone’s talking about but apparently certain people simply don’t like sunshine! We hope you’re happy now!’ It’ll only be up for a fortnight, after which the trajectory of the Sun (the real culprit here, let’s not forget) will render things non-controversial again.

THURSDAY Unbelieveable. Qubble has a follow-up piece,illustrated by a photo of Umbrella Man pointing at the temporary sheeting and laughing at the ‘clumsy passive-aggressive tone’ of our public apology. I call Hisham from Qatari Space Invaders. Once I explain exactly how Qubble and Umbrella Guy are disrespecting his honour, the honour of his kingdom and of his financial subsidiary, he too hits the roof. ‘This will not stand,’ he rasps. I can hear something snapping in the background.

FRIDAY I consult my lawyers, who agree there’s a prima facie case for besmirchment of standing, articulated ridicule and vexatious libel (inferred, occasioning actual psychological harm). Plus, Qatari Space Invaders have now announced they’re mounting a hostile takeover bid for Qubble, with a view to moving operations overseas. The settlement fee is waived in lieu of Qubble’s mental capital.

Umbrella Man’s been given his marching orders, too. QSI are buying up the whole street as part of a ruthless and ingenious plan to excavate and then build an underground Dickens World.

Obviously I’ll be pitching some initial ideas, including a Fagin’s Cellar silk handkerchieferie and an online merch cluster provisionally called The New Curiosity Shop.

SATURDAY Five-a-side theoretical football. Steroidal Parabolicism 5, Calibrated Hystericism 0 after extra legal advice.

SUNDAY Achieve inverted parabolic status in the recliner.

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