Here are the diaries of L’Obscurier– the hugely influential artist, architect, sculptor, painter and social engineer who revolutionised the way we think about the built environment and then drowned in the Mediterranean
Translated by danvers couchmere from the original haughty French
December 19, 1954. Christ-mas-time in London. Alas, I could not feel less gay.
I have eschewed all tawdry amusements to preside over this year’s iteration of the Congrès Internationaux d’Espaces Epiques (CIEE).
We had hired the huge exhibition centre at Olympia in Kensington, which proved ample. Of the original 1,752 CIEE delegates assembled during that heady inceptual summer aboard the SS Quislingus, only 0,003* remain. Disagreements within CIEE have included: the correct deployment of the working-class, ventilated versus un-ventilated hats, the status of women and draft-animals in a Motorised Age and cetera.
A new epoch is upon us. It will not build itself. There is much to do if we are to create a functionally segregated world of monitored concrete. I cannot tolerate in a CIEE symposium any view not in accordance with my own. It slows every-thing down unnecessarily.
*CORRECTION: 0,002.I have to-day resigned from CIEE, outraged that my fellow delegates should prefer to conduct proceedings in English (which all 0,003 of us speak) rather than in French, the native tongue of L’Obscurier! Adieu, CIEE. Adieu, London, grisly metropolis slathered in criminal Christ-mas decoration.
It is a great relief to return to France and to my beloved Maison L’Obscurier. I arrive in the early hours, exhausted but triumphant. At last, a citadel of rationalism in this demented Christ-mas dystopia, where logical thought is usurped by strands of electrical ‘fairy-lights’ and – what in the name of the Infant Jesus’ spurting arse is THIS! Entirely clogging the atrium of Maison L’Obscurier: an enormous Christ-mas tree! Festooned with garish baubles and gewgaws, dripping with cheap lametta and tinsel…no, no and again – NO!
I am about to drag the entire disgusting mess from the house when my racing heart freezes suddenly in a moment of compassion. An entire season of goodwill seems socially ambitious, but might an interlude of compromise be achievable? I chuckle to myself. Perhaps the old man is softening with age. While the house-hold sleeps, I make my judicious amendments.
I am awoken later by a shrieking from downstairs. Mme. L’Obscurier her usual, hysterical self. Wearily I make my way downstairs to administer yet another necessary ad-hoc lecture. ‘Calm yourself, my dear!’ I bark, kindly. ‘Did not Bakunin say the urge to destroy is also a creative urge? Does Modern Thinking not require us to create a more geometrical Christ-mas by destroying it? The organic world must surrender to the secateurs of rationalism! I have as you see removed all irrelevant branches, reducing the tree to a single, short straight line. It is, your cater‑wauling not-with-standing, the perfect…’
Mme L’Obscurier seems unwilling to support the notion, slaps me hard in the face, grabs the secateurs and, outrageously, tells me to ‘get out of this house NOW you desiccated buffoon or I’ll trim YOUR fucking baubles, such as they are!’
POST SCRIPTUM.Christ-mas Day. I quit the hotel, with its nauseating bonhomie, and head for the sea. The water is horribly cold today, an excellent tonic for this irrationally galloping heart. Bah.
Ian Martin is away