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The diaries of L’Obscurier

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The hugely influential artist, architect, sculptor, painter and social engineer revolutionised the way we think about the built environment and then drowned in the Mediterranean

Translated by Danvers Couchmere from the original haughty French

January 14, 1954. Awoken early by an inspirational thought. I write it down hurriedly, structuring it into a vertical repetitive epiphanic tryptich, thus:

  • If an idea is worth nurturing, it is worth repeating.
  • If an idea is worth nurturing, it is worth repeating.
  • If an idea is worth nurturing, it is worth repeating.

Yes, the soothing rhythm of truth. My head is dizzy with the power of a new synaptical epoch in my head. I concentrate, close my eyes … bah! I stumble into the door-frame again. An accident very much NOT worth repeating.

Why then does it recur - because my eyes are closed while I walk here-and-there? No. It recurs because the door frame is an absurd sentimental remnant of the past and must be eradicated.

This morning, a dreary site-visit. Some clients are attempting to influence my design for their new house. They now want a garden - at ground level! So tiresome. [NB even their attire is provincial and arriviste - the sure sign of a closed mind!]

I explain that grass is damp, unhealthy & cetera and that the proper place for a garden is 3.5m above ground level, made of concrete, perhaps with a modern sculpture or two.

People must learn to live healthier lives, with plenty of 1) air; 2) sunlight; 3) motor cars. I let this lesson sink into their dull minds and inhale my 26th untipped Gauloise of the day.

After lunch (soup too hot, bread ridiculously misshapen, the cheese divided not as stipulated according to the Fibonacci series, but into cubes!) I visit my latest scheme, a Mass-Production Freehold Maisonette Block For The Man Of To-Day. It is extremely brilliant. Reactionaries will of course call it an ugly concrete kennel, admired only by neurotics.

They say that I despise ordinary people, a shocking lie. Consider this: I DESIGN THE LIVING-SPACES OF ORDINARY PEOPLE.

Where is the hatred in THIS, you cancerous reactionaries? Death would be too good for these vermin.

I arrive at the maisonette block to find the first tenants moving in. All seems to be in order - leasehold nominees have been screened for minimum levels of moral progressiveness - and I stand at the edge of this bustling scene like a proud father, urging them on: ‘Learn, learn how to live!’

But oh dear, what is this? Large vans arrive, bearing ghastly and unacceptable pieces of furniture. The Architect of Conviction must be thorough, diligent and certain.

I order the janitor to make a bonfire. Better to have no furniture at all than to suffer such atrocities in my living rooms. One day these people will thank me, but for now it is enough that they are restrained by the police.

POST SCRIPTUM. One of the few tangible rewards for a career dedicated to the improvement and education of the Common Man is my little villa on the Mediterranean. Another is my fleet of motor cars. Another is my yacht, The Paradox. Perhaps a little sailing, something heavy for lunch (low centre of gravity = good) and then a swim …

Ian Martin is away

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