Ian Martin enters the fractal laboratory
MONDAY. To Leeds, for a meeting with Rock Steady Eddie the fixer. He’s very animated: ‘Council’s lost the bleedin’ paperwork for everything! Planning system’s got more loopholes than Pembroke Bloody Castle!’ Eddie has certain clients who are keen to act quickly, while there are still opportunities to ‘…not launder money exactly, but definitely give it a quick rinse, yeah?’
TUESDAY. Secure planning permission in Leeds for a PFI lapdancing club (the Bada Bing Bucky Ball), the quietest Turkish baths in the world, and an interactive Museum of Irony.
WEDNESDAY. On a roll. Redesign the whole of Leeds, giving it a ‘lost look’.
THURSDAY. Drinks with Beansy the nano-futurologist. He’s emerged from his home laboratory after a year of original research and walked straight into a series on More4.
Beansy has been busy ‘standing the geo-engineering game on its head’ with a series of experiments exploring how we might solve the hot weather thing. His conclusion? ‘I believe it’s possible to have total dominion over the non-living world and compel it to do our bidding. Another pint?’
Yeah, never mind all that nonsense about plastic trees sucking the shit out of the atmosphere, or sending an armada of tiny mirrors into space. Beansy thinks he’s found a way to ‘reprogram inert matter’. Something to do with a new theology of chemistry and physics. Recognising and empowering the global Umma of rock and mud and gas. Getting stuff to ‘go sulphate’ or capture methane, depending on the Earth’s mood at the time. Encouraging aspirational charcoal to gentrify itself into ‘terra preta’ etc.
I’m much more interested in his telly gig. The premise: six eminent and mentally fragile futurologists are sequestered together for three months in the same ‘fractal laboratory’. The group is set a weekly task, which may range in scope from emptying the bins to reversing cancer. It depends on the ratings.
If they fail to collaborate successfully they’re punished in some way. That, too, is being kept open at the moment.
They each have to choose a nickname, an outfit and an amusing song to sing for their ‘profile vodcast’. Beansy plans to go hardcore eccentric. He’s calling himself ‘The Rock Whisperer’, dressing like Dr Doolittle and singing If I Could Talk To The Minerals.
I get another round in. Personally, I’d rather have a bottle in front of me than a fractal laboratory.
FRIDAY. Sketch out an architectural mash-up of Offa’s Dyke and Hadrian’s Wall running across the Midlands, to keep the Tories out of the North.
SATURDAY. To Buckingham Palace for a dreary weekend of a) recriminations and b) pitching for work.
I trudge into the Green Living Room for a). Charles, the pompous interfering pillock, has appointed himself arbitrator in an ongoing row between me, the insufferable architecture critic Darcy Farquear’say and his preposterous dachshund Bauhau. The three of us stare at different bits of the carpet.
According to HRH, the ‘very fabric of epic space has been rent in twain’ by the ongoing feud. Well, it’s true the salons of London and Tamworth are all a-Twitter, but beyond our little mentholated world, who cares? Apparently there’s an unspecified ‘knock-on effect’.
Nobody wants to be here. We all shake hands and pretend to be friends again.
I mouth an obscenity at Bauhau as I shake his paw. He’s barely visible inside an ‘orange pod designed by one of the UK’s leading architects’.
SUNDAY. Back to the Palace for b), a tour of the Royal Vegetable Patch. I’m joined by HRH’s mum Betty Windsor and my business partner Isis de Cambray, the celebrated magic arborealist.
The Queen has asked us to sketch out a new masterplan for the garden. The brief: to ‘rethink the unrethinkable’. Within limits, of course. Isis started to rethink the palace grounds as a public open space and was smartly steered away from that rethought. One possible snag. Her Nibs is having what doctors call ‘an extended turn’. She thinks it’s 1956. We have to tread carefully as she’s after a bit of national optimism.
Initial thoughts: creosoted fencing, concrete furniture, Sputnik planters, a Brutalist bas-relief depicting the loyalty of Commonwealth nations. Plus, Isis promises ‘crazy paving, and I do mean proper bonkers’. Hey, maybe we could get Beansy to do some kind of ‘smart rockery’.
Reverse-engineer my thoughts in the recliner.