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Two pods are better than one, whether it's Stonehenge or a local 'hubbubble'

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Ian Martin worries about dwindling soot supplies and is shortlisted for the Jazz Architecture Prize

MONDAY. Finish my report for the education department called Sprinkling Schools for the Future. It urgently calls upon a future Conservative government to end years of PFI underinvestment by bringing fire-safety systems up to standard.

TUESDAY. Lunch with Dusty Penhaligon, conservactionist and hon. sec of the Soot Association. Bit of a panic on, as stocks of genuine 20th century soot are dwindling fast.

This is partly due to carelessness. Before the internet, huge amounts of the stuff simply got thrown away every year as part of our post-industrial obsession with ‘cleaning up after ourselves’. Then a slew of heritage museums opened and it suddenly became a seller’s market. What, after all, is the point of going to all the trouble of hiring ‘Mr Charles Dickens’ to show people around a hermetically sealed lump of Victorian England with CLEAN WALLS?

Now the association is lobbying the Department of Entertainment to issue an injunction, halting further soot exports. There’s been a run on carbon deposits since the fleshpots of the Middle East started building massive tourist attractions such as Sooty World, Smoke City and the new multi-billion dollar Sherlock Holmes-themed Smogadu, with its famous pea-soup fog and working steam railway system.

I sign his petition and we nip out for a fag. He’s really worried about the growing black market in soot. Everyone’s expecting a surge of demand in the run-up to Christmas, as Nigella Lawson’s recommending you ‘put a pinch of soot in your Snowball for that authentic 1960s taste’.

WEDNESDAY. Several of my schemes have been shortlisted for the Jazz Architecture Prize this year. On one of them – the mastercalming of a swathe of central Liverpool – I was merely the emanuensis of legendary jazz architect Herbie Dumplings.

This is the first time a mastercalming project has been on the shortlist. It is a tribute to Herbie’s theoretical skills that he transcended a pedestrian ‘jazz it up’ brief with what the judges called ‘a masterly exercise in post-Bebopulist riffing over a 7/5 urban backbeat’. I’m on the guest list for his sell-out gig on Friday at Gilbie Scott’s Jazz Architecture Club in Soho. As we say in the jazz architecture world: Palladio daddio, eight to the grid!

THURSDAY. Working on the conversion of a listed Tamworth church into a new community ‘hubbubble’. I’m proposing the removal of all pews (they’ll be recycled as original features in Dubai Heathen World) and the insertion of two pods either side of the original aisle. Some sort of community mission statement will be scribbled on the back of the existing building envelope.

FRIDAY. Great excitement at Gilbie Scott’s as Herbie Dumplings takes the stage for a freestyle exposition of his mellow groove mastercalm piece, ‘Liverpool 7/5’.
His backing band, Opus 106, is augmented tonight by Studs Venturi on flugelhorn and Bix Weidevecte on PowerPoint. And it goes a little something like THIS:

‘Ladies and gentlemen, bap bap. Tish widdly widdly Liverpool. Central Liverpool. That’s what I’m talking about. Visioned through the formulation of a wabbeda wabbeda pish bish ba-dap brief to jazz up the joint stakeholder overview. Break it down now. Vision: pow. Delivery of that vision: ka-tish bish bap de-wap bap pow.We applied the principles, man. The principles of Jazz Space Syntax. That’s also what I’m talking about. Bap de-bap de-bish bish wabbeda boom.

‘Yeah, Jazz Space Syntax. Syn-ka-tax bish wibbeda glap dap. Wubbedy bup bup. Regeneration catalyst. Yeah, cat-a-psst psst ga-dish pish pish ba-catalyst. Wider connectivity to the wabbeda wabbeda surrounding districts. Pish boom bap bap fiddly diddly: visioned delivery delivered. Focal point. Focal point. Focal point. Focal point. Focal point. PLAZA! Drrr-ap bap ga-bap bap wabbeda wubbeda wubbeda wibbeda boom. Quality spaces, quality environmental framework. That’s also what I’m talking about. Bap bap ka-babbedy babbedy wubbedy wubbedy babbeda
babbeda pish!

Man, he’s finger-clicking good. The crowd go mild. That’s the mellowing power of jazz mastercalming, right there. Cool.

SATURDAY. Submit my Stonehenge Experience, a perforated undulating canopy supported by a spinney of thin columns, ‘hovering bashfully above a pair of self-contained pods’ on a petrified limestone coulis. Sorted. You can’t go wrong with pods.

SUNDAY. Oh SHIT. The Stonehenge and ‘community hubbubble’ clients got each other’s scheme by mistake. Still, they’re both happy as they get TWO PODS EACH. Sketch out new generic ‘two pods’ pitch in
the recliner.


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