Tesco versus Unesco. Who will win the battle to take Stonehenge?
TUESDAY. Quarterly meeting of the Stonehenge Thinktank. We were going to hold it on site, in a big fancy marquee with Thai catering and patio heaters. But you can't hear yourself think there these days with the traffic, so we're in some Tudor banqueting hall off the M5 instead.
After 20-odd years we're a bit thought-out, to be honest. We've suggested all sorts of solutions to conserve Britain's favourite Giant Jenga set. Bury the A303 in a tunnel. Enclose Stonehenge in a massive artificial hill, with the A303 running over it. Move it - preferably by mysterious, ancient means - to Dubai, where it could be re-erected as an architectural feature on a golf course.
Every scheme has run into the sand. Now the government has said there's no money to do anything anyway. Bullshit. Even the most expensive of our civil engineering projects would be a fraction of what The Fat Controller spent baling out a Geordie building society. But then Northern Rock's located in England's only remaining Soviet republic; Labour voters are at a pretty low density in the Salisbury Plain area.
As usual, Peggy from the National Trust and 'English Heritage Dave' sit sulkily at opposite ends of the thinktank tabletop. I'm in the middle, with the Druids and the civil servants and the wildlife campaigners and Dick from Tourism with his corrosive optimism. 'You never know. As the Olympics get nearer, we might be able to siphon off some of that enthusiasm for a Great British Bronze Age...' Idiot. Wonky Sean brings apologies for absence from his boss, architecture minister Dorothy Bungham. She wants to remind us that these days it is possible to 'digitise anything you like, so not to worry too much as everyone with a laptop can enjoy Stonehenge if it does disappear'.
After a gloomy session, we reach unanimity at last. Surrender. Let's accept the offer from Tesco to succeed Unesco as protector of Stonehenge. They can part-sponsor a new, bigger road running right next to the site. In return, they can have a huge supermarket there too. At least this way more people get to see it, it creates local regeneration, enables sustainability, saves the yellow wagtail and traps carbon probably. Whatever the planners want.
And there'll be scope for a Ralph Erskine-style circular wall of mixed tenure housing surrounding the henge. Defensible space. A national monument cared for by a local community. Everyone's knackered. Only Sean and I stay on for happy hour at the Bawdy Wench carvery.
WEDNESDAY. My friend Azzy Bifter, the secretary of state for entertainment, rings. What's this Fourth Grace everyone keeps banging on about? He can't ask his advisers because he's actually from LIVERPOOL, so ought to know everything about the Culture of Capital. Oh, and while he's on, what are the other Three Graces? I wait until he's found a pen, then 'tell' him.
• The Cavern Club, on the corner of Penny Lane and Carla Lane. Designed in 1962 by Epstein Associates.
• The Royal Scouser Building, Beerhead. 1903, by Albert Dock and Partners.
• Museum of Observational Humour (formerly the Slave Exchange), Port Tarby. 1744, by Sir Matthew Busby RA.
Liverpool's Fourth Grace, of course, is the M62 Eastbound.
THURSDAY. Morning: finish interim design for a floating indoor North Pole, just south of the real one. Afternoon: sketch out proposed polar bear sanctuary in Surrey.
FRIDAY. Good session at AA. I've brought along some architectural porn. Proudly, I show everyone my copies of Green and Hot, Uninhibited Minimalist, Asian Big Ones, Penthouse, etc. Still unopened in their plastic mail sheaths. Lots of hugs from fellow archiholics, which is very encouraging and rousing.
SATURDAY. Conference. '21st Century architecture: demotic, democratic?' Summary: if 300 families are living there, it's demotic. If one architect and his family are living in it, it's democratic.
SUNDAY. Ecumenical Mass with Lenten offset. The sermon is on the Seven Social Sins recently ratified by the Vatican. Oh dear. Environmental pollution, excessive wealth and widening the gap between rich and poor are aspects of almost every client brief. Luckily, architects channel nearly all their mortal souls into their work, so should only be marginally affected.