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Vulgarchitecture Today

Ian Martin reflects on the lottery of life

MONDAY Call from Rock Steady Eddie, my fixer. ‘Congratulations son, we’ve hit the jackpot. Euromillions mansion here we come, bosh!’
It’s a mixed blessing. Sure, who wouldn’t want to knock out a dream home for a lottery winner who’s clueless about fee levels?
But the prospect of whoring my genius out to a tabloid client who wouldn’t recognise a Classical proportion if it bit him in the arse is hugely depressing.

TUESDAY Lunch with Eddie, who gives me a motivational speech in the style of a football manager, or serial killer.

‘Get out there, give it some, have it, bring it back, whack it on the table, chop it up, dish it out. All them months of putting it about that you’re the go-to designer ponce for posh cribbage, boom, finally paid off.

‘Give him the spiel, suck him in, get the thinking money upfront, you know the drill, you having that sausage?’

And there it is. Twenty per cent of my lunch gone. Eddie’s some kind of metaphor, and my sausage is like a simile or something.

WEDNESDAY Initial client meeting at the Savoy with ‘Gobi’, a startled 25 year-old with the body shape and selflessness of a toddler. Incredibly, his name rhymes with ‘lobby’ and has nothing to do with the Asian desert.

I’m used to crafting epic space for those who appreciate it. Captains of financial industry, hereditary philanthropists, ecological pop stars, etc. Not some ghastly toerag with a fresh neck tattoo (his winning Euromillions numbers in Gothic) and little piggy eyes, deadened by pornography.

I do a quick conceptual sketch in my mind: ‘Gobi’s head, interior’. I give it a vulgar, comically tasteless look, defined by a psychopathic greed and heedlessness of Art. I grit my teeth, screen out all the irritating stuff. Concentrate. I need to extract as much money from this mouth-breathing lump as possible for my outline design.

His suite is littered with the detritus of sudden wealth. Bottles of booze, their former contents described in cursive script. Expensive, elasticated leisurewear, tags still attached. Eighteenth century French looking-glass, muddled with powder and banknotes.

This is hopeless, I’m never going to intimidate him here. I explain that my specialism is the creation of ‘fuxury living’ - so far beyond luxury living that even Tony Blair can’t afford it. Gobi likes the idea of having it larger, and we arrange to meet in my fuxury studio.

THURSDAY Good old Eddie’s booked the Natural History Museum for an hour, and hired in a troupe of RSC moonlighters for cash. Got a good feeling about the Gobi Hypergaff.

FRIDAY ‘Fucking hell, that your dinosaur?’ says Gobi between burps. Meanwhile in Alfred Waterhouse’s vast, magical, vaulted hall RSC ‘interns’ shuttle to and fro in their boho costumes and understated spectacles.

While Eddie fetches Jägerbombs from the pop-up bar, I outline my initial thoughts to the client, who inevitably is now accompanied by a team of people dressed like contestants on The Apprentice.

Gobi Haitch Q includes the usual features. Twelve bedrooms, each modelled on a different scene from the Bourne movie canon. Swimming pools shaped in plan like a penis and testicles. Snooker room. Microplex cinema. Quad bike jousting area. Dog-fighting hub. Sex pantry.

What’s really expensive, and therefore really desirable, is the exterior ‘perpetual waterfall and lock screen’. This allows everything to be cloaked at any time in one of several Great Buildings Of The World overthrows. At the languid wiggle of a Wii remote, Gobi Haitch Q can transform in a second from Southfork, say, to Legoland, using complicated fractal harmonics and ‘angle management’.

I’ve even got the perfect site. A laddish leafy retreat but close to town: a small beleaguered council estate in south London.

My plan is to snap it up for a bargain price, then convert it into demonstrably affordable housing. Admittedly for just one lottery winner, but I’m sure it could be a landmark, or at least a benchmark…

Oh no. Bugger. Gobi’s stropped off, with Team Jägerbomb in tow. W T actual F?

SATURDAY Apparently Gobi misheard ‘angle management’ and thought I was winding him up about his temper. He’s getting Zaha to do it now.

SUNDAY Sulking in the recliner. Reflect on the lottery of life, and how unfair it is for the rest of us to be supporting the undeserving rich.

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