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Ian Martin. The Great Civil War of Epic Space is now a theoretical certainty

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Ian Martin enjoys the Jazz Architecture Awards aftermath


Work up my scheme to turn Tamworth into the UK’s first ‘Sentient City’. Smart pavements would heckle anything on wheels, for instance. Speeding cars would be jeered at by sarcastic traffic sensors. If you threw anything perishable in a litter bin it would take your picture and demand your name and address. The slogan ‘Tamworth – the city that never sleeps so you don’t have never to’ may need tightening, though.


I thought we’d managed to avoid civil war in epic space, but the uneasy ceasefire looks increasingly fragile.

Emboldened by his surprise victory in the Jazz Architecture Awards, Richard is planning a new challenge to the Prince of Wales, and feeling saucy. He’s going to ‘give that prattling philistine a taste of his own medicine’ and is determined to win back the right to tell everyone what things should look like.

Richard’s already suing his former clients for bumping him from the Chelsea Ballacks gig. HRH put the royal slipper in, calling Richard’s luxury apartments ‘a clattering jangle of metaphors that, frankly, I don’t really understand.’ The Qatari royal family will now profit from a more ‘traditional’ design that may discourage gay occupants.

The democratic struggle against Charles is about to get very personal for Richard. He’s bought a sixteenth home in the charming Somerset village of Whitestock St Rue. Why? So he can join a local campaign against the Duchy of Cornwall’s latest royal development plans to burp 2,000 decarbonated eco-pods all over a very nice view. Richard’s not looking forward to spending much time in Whitestock as the residents have dogs and facial hair and pipes and fleeces and a scowling demeanour and nobody looks like they might work for the BBC.


I hope Richard’s not going to poke his nose into what’s happening at his Mum’s place. 

The Queen is having a turn, thinks it’s the 1950s, and wants to remodel Buckingham Palace in a Space Age style. Charles has promised Waitrose an exclusive ‘organic sausage-based boutique’ in the grounds, but his Mum remains the client. Quite rightly, she wants a Brutalist Sausageum. My business partner, magic arborealist Isis de Cambray, has merely told Charles it will be ‘heritagey’.   


Lunch at Apoptosis, the hottest designer-designed brasserie in Clerkenwell, which is going some. The menu is very architectural, eg ‘aerodynamic blob of celeriac mash on extruded liver pilotis, gently collapsed into a PFI gravy with superfine, undercooked green bean scaffolding’.

I’m here to meet my mate Dusty the conservactionist, who’s in high dudgeon and on his fourth Zombie. He’s very upset that a leading architecture magazine has spelled his surname – Penhaligon - with two ls. ‘My main objection is aesthetic. Namelines, like skylines, are shaped by time. By culture. By gnostic meme’. I can tell he’s been on the internet again.

‘The name Penhaligon evolved over centuries. It has been carefully preserved, and enhanced. Printed on a page, “Penhaligon” resembles the skyline of an Italian hill town. Or perhaps a tumbling Cornish fishing village. The point is, whether the l is a campanile or a simple Anglican bell tower, there’s only bloody one of them…’

We order another round of same-again and some scribbling napkins. I have to say, Dusty’s really good at the whole ‘urban typology as alphabetised timewasting’ thing. For instance, the London skyline in 1959 would have looked like this: huom_i_aa_. Today, it is instantly recognisable throughout the world as: huolmmlniO. Poor Lower Manhattan looks like this now: bamim__iin. ‘My point exactly’ says Dusty, constructing a roll-up. ‘No twin towers. Not in Penhaligon, either’.


Oh brilliant. Richard’s expensive celebrity lawyers have taken out a ‘super-injunction’ to halt our Buckingham Palace makeover.

Apparently they’ve constructed a legal argument that hypothetically creates a nearby tower of luxury apartments designed by Richard, including a penthouse suite theoretically occupied by him. In these imaginary circumstances, alterations to the way the royal residence looks from above would constitute some sort of anti-social behaviour.

Now we must say nothing about the Queen’s dream of welcoming the 1960s with style and grace. Nor must we say anything about why we can’t say anything. Please ignore this sentence, too.


Successfully combine rationalism and art by lunchtime, so go down the pub.


Curse darkening evenings. Consider a globalised bioluminescent grunge solution but put the lights on for now.


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