Talking buildings, synchronised panic, and a newer gender
Meeting of the Olympic Rebadging Task Force. We begin as usual with prayers and a Mexican Wave, followed by synchronised panic
MONDAY. Meet my mate Beansy the nano-futurologist for a celebratory drink. Our suite of conceptual towers has finally been realised as a high-definition jpeg on the internet.
For a laugh, we entered a competition to create a new urban vision for Blingnang, the most culturally active of all the new Chinese cities. The site’s currently clogged with largely non-cultural housing but has been declared a taxonomic development zone by the local authority.
Beansy’s got some great beta-version speech-to-text design software. You just say things like ‘OK, now make it look more like a giant brandy snap… move it a bit to the right so it’s half on that hillock… yeah, brilliant, angled giant brandy snap, save that… now can you do us like a… tightly rolled newspaper next to it? And a sort of, I don’t know, half-peeled mango?’
It took us an afternoon to ‘talk up’ our vision, but it was worth it for the immortality. Ars brevis, as they say, jpeg on internet longa.
TUESDAY. Meeting of the Olympic Rebadging Task Force, Ms Suzi Towel in the chair. We begin as usual with prayers and a Mexican Wave, followed by synchronised panic.
Item 1. Gender Equality Delivery. ‘Women’s sport has come on in leaps and bounds, especially in things like the triple jump,’ Suzi solemnly tells us. ‘It’s high time there was equal opportunity at the Olympics – yay!’ We’ve now been set Gender Fairness Targets for the appointment of everyone, including architects, with a 7 per cent margin of tolerance for ‘those on a transsexual journey, regardless of what stage they’re at’. Architects, with their famously ambiguous trousers, have been handed a lifeline here.
Item 2. The British Jobs Problem. Back in the days when London’s confidence was soaring into the air like a tumescent gherkin, Suzi rashly promised ‘British Olympic Jobs for British Olympic People’. OK, it was a hectic photo-op. Suzi in a hard hat and running shorts on some Stratford allotment, gurning for the cameras and inexpertly holding a starting pistol. Nobody could shut her up. Not only would the jobs be British, they’d be Local. It would be like a legacy, she said. But as it would happen before the event, a ‘pregacy’.
Someone, possibly her hatha yoga master, told her that by 2012 every single person claiming benefits in Newham, Greenwich, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest and Hackney would have an Olympics job. Now of course we discover that many of the skilled workers we need live outside those boroughs. Indeed, beyond these shores.
We decide to rebadge transient skilled workers as ‘local people’ as long as they’re sleeping in the right borough, and rebadge local people as ‘Lead Olympic Beneficiaries’. Sorted.
Item 3. We agree to buy the dismantled ‘B of the Bang’ for cash and have it rearranged into ‘Y of the YAY!’ at the entrance to a stadium, the big one maybe.
WEDNESDAY. Ethical dilemma. I know several blokey architects in with a shout for Olympic design work of the highest quality. Should I tip off them off about the transsexual journey thing? Even a pashmina might be considered the first step of a journey. It’s not like they’re going to be medically examined. Probably.
I decide against telling them. Why shouldn’t half the Olympic architects be women? If a creative liberal profession is incapable of producing equal numbers of male and female practitioners, we’ll tweak things on the demand side. Come on, sisters!
THURSDAY. Menacing email from ‘Olympics 2012 Yay HQ’. It has been brought to their attention that the Rebadging Task Force has seven men on it and only three women. They’re looking for voluntary redundancies to balance things up. I email back, volunteering Community Outreach Ben and Simon from the Treasury for redundancy. Both wear suits all the time, which almost certainly means they’re sexist.
FRIDAY. Notice Simon’s updated his Facebook picture. He’s peeping over a pashmina.
SATURDAY. Lunch with Dusty Penhaligon the conservactionist. Operation Scythe – blow up Finsbury Health Centre – is on the back burner. Word of our planned direct action leaked out, don’t ask me how. Giddy with success we are now drawing up a blow-up threat list. Dusty wants to destroy the Scottish Parliament building UNLESS they sell it off to the private sector, but I tell him we have to be consistent.
SUNDAY. Reposition self in the recliner by getting into insulation.