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Why architecture on the internet is for ‘Men Only’…

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Ian Martin joins the latest online sensation: Charrette Roulette

Monday. I’ve been diagnosed with ‘zeitgeist vertigo’. It’s quite common for men of my age, apparently. There’s simply too much new stuff happening for me to keep up with it all. That’s why I rely increasingly on the critics. They are the luminous intellectual beacons in my cultural landscape.
Everyone’s talking about the new internet sensation Charrette Roulette, in which ‘single architects come together worldwide to express themselves’. Must find time later in the week for THAT. Memo to self: find out why it’s ‘Men Only’.

Tuesday. Lunch with my old friend Loaf, the Mayor of London. As usual we converse in Latin.
‘Ego monumentum…’ he begins, acutely aware these days of his own importance. We’re discussing that massive skein of ludicrous scribbled bullshit he’s about to inflict on east London.
Loaf’s very upset at all the criticism, which covers a wide spectrum. ‘As art, it’s shit,’ some people are saying. ‘As public spectacle, it’s bathos.’ ‘The sponsor’s a billionaire bastard building a tribute to himself.’ ‘Wherever the 1,400 tonnes of steel are coming from to BUILD this shitpipe, it won’t be the Redcar plant. Because that closed earlier this year with the loss of 1,600 jobs.’

‘Well, I think it’s bloody rude, considering how generous our benefactor has been,’ says Loaf in Latin. ‘I think I’ve secured for the 2012 Games an AMAZING value-for-money-whatever-the-Latin-for-icon-is.’ Ah, beneficium accipere, I remind him, libertatem est vendere. The thing’s named after the donor, not after the location or the event. ‘Eheu…’ sighs Loaf from inside the Cadbury’s Creme Egg sponsorship costume he’s contractually obliged to wear in public for the next two years.

Sulkily, he tells me his plan to get the thing nicknamed something harmless like the ‘Jolly Trombone’. Good luck with that, I tell him. There are some very nasty suggestions pinging around the internet at the moment. Including the ‘Extruded Anus’, the ‘Helical Pisstastrophe’ and my personal favourite: the ‘Martyred British Steelworkers’ Entrails’.

Unamused, Loaf huffily calls for the bill in blank verse. I can sense him seething as he wobbles off on his bike, a giant Creme Ego on wheels.

Wednesday. The preposterous architecture critic Darcy Farquear’say has written a blog piece about Charrette Roulette. ‘I have probed some pretty dark crevices of the internet in my time, but I have never come across anything as terrifying and morally bankrupt as Charrette Roulette…’ Ha ha ha, silly bastard. Get with the zeitgeist, daddio! I stop reading his blog and resolve to ‘do Charrette Roulette’ ASAP.

Thursday. Complete my design for the British Pavilion at this year’s Blingnang Expo. The brief was to reflect the British character. I rejected notions of ‘innovation’, ‘love of nature’ and ‘tradition of tolerance’ as too abstract and mimsy and difficult to get sponsorship for.
In the end I decided to reflect Britons’ love of DIY. The result is Homebase 3000, a futuristic ‘bodgeball’ covered in 60,000 waving filaments and set in the hyper-enigmatic ‘B&Q Gardens’. At the end of each filament is a tiny screw or carpet tack or washer demonstrating the sheer breadth of materials available to the 21st-century home improver.
The vast, cathedral-like space exudes a powerful, enforced calm with its public address system playing old Britney Spears songs and randomly namechecking Great Britons. ‘Isambard Kingdom Brunel to Customer Service, that’s Isambard Kingdom Brunel, thank you…’

Friday. I’ve been told it’s best to go on Charrette Roulette after midnight, as there’s a more relaxed atmosphere then. I prepare for my induction into what several commentators have described as a ‘seminal forum’ by having quite a long nap in the afternoon.

Saturday. Here I am then, in the early hours of Saturday, venturing into what appears to be little more than a sort of random video conference. It all seems VERY poorly lit, considering everyone’s an architect.

I wait with my reference books and my carefully scripted off-the-cuff remarks, ready to engage with the global male architectural community on the issues of… whoa!Someone called ‘engorged_george’ is ‘making a point’ all right. Oh GOD. Now ‘DickRogers’ is showing me his ‘towering masterpiece’. Paralysed by horror, I see a flurry of ‘Gherkins’ and ‘biodomes’ with some extremely aggressive and hurtful personal remarks about my ‘non-appearance’.

Sunday. Spend the day staring blankly into space from the recliner, with the internet switched off.


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