Ian Martin destination enhancements the shit out of Loch Ness
MONDAY The world of epic space has gathered at the Jargonautical Club in Mayfair to honour IM Pei with its prestigious Architectural Shibboleth Award. This is for landmark figures who make everyone in the world of design feel ‘that little bit special’.
Pei, or ‘IM’ as he’s exotically known by insiders, has got the award for his Difficult Punning Name. A sub-editor at the Daily Mail, for instance, might headline a story about how Britain’s apparently not good enough for his buildings with ‘Who’s Had All The Peis?’ Whereas the Creative On Sunday, with its commitment to the plastic arts, might celebrate his thoughts on visual composition with a feature titled ‘Pei And Display’.
Only a select few know his name is actually pronounced ‘pear’. We joke constantly about it, although in our more pretentious moments we think: what could be more appropriate for an architect than to ‘rhyme with air’? Then we laugh and have another cocktail or something.
TUESDAY. To Loch Ness, where I’ve been asked to devise a ‘destination enhancement program’. I arrive to find a panel of young regional-tourism representatives lolling about on the squashy sofas of a local hotel, looking like the cast of Hollyoaks.
They’re all horribly vain and shallow, with a very short attention span. This makes them ideally placed to understand their target tourist audience these days – young childless professionals with fractal haircuts. ‘We need to boost the numbers,’ says one sulky-looking, punchable wanker. Apparently the problem for potential visitors is that the breathtaking scenery of Loch Ness can’t compete with edgy BBC3 comedy on their iPlayers, even if the silly bastards are watching it on a PHONE.
Why am I being consulted? I don’t pretend to understand them, or their atomised, post-matter 21st century. Well, says some shifty-looking cow in bamboo spectacles, we’ve come to the conclusion that our target audience might actually not be [here she graciously indicates her colleagues] US at all. It might be people like [here she makes brief eye contact with a shiver of disgust] YOU.
Oh ha ha ha. The Hot Chip crowd are chasing the Baked Potato demographic! Right, I tell them, for a start we need to get the Loch Ness Monster back on track. That’s what I CALL biodiversity, not insects and bloody frogs. Team Hollyoaks look at each other in that slightly baffled way people have when someone mentions God. Oh yeah, the Loch Ness Monster, nutty types used to believe in that, didn’t they? Mm, I say, it IS like religious belief: nobody can conclusively prove the non-existence of the monster.
They look blank. Luckily I’ve seen The Wire on boxset. ‘Yo, listen up tourism peeps. The destination game ain’t changed, it just got more fierce. Now we got to be ALL UP IN THEY SHIT.’ They nod. I undertake to get them a Monster-themed action plan for Loch Ness by the end of the week. Idiots.
WEDNESDAY. Finalise plans for the world’s first zero-gravity golf course in space, avoiding pastiche and black holes.
THURSDAY. Sketch out some thoughts for a new River Severn crossing: human catapult, molecular data transfer, don’t bother, there’s not much on the other side of the Severn.
FRIDAY. I’m about to email my Loch Ness masterplan over to the Tourism Kids when I realise it isn’t modern or pointless enough. So I convert everything to an mp4 file, upload it to iTunes, then run it through a special Spotify-compliant app that ghost-renders the text as CAD software on Android, translating it back to text using predictive memory reconstruction. I post it up on a back channel using TwitPic, with the caption ‘LOL’.
SATURDAY. A swooning email from the Tourism Muppet Babies, who love my ideas. Which is good. Unfortunately my complicated sending process has scrambled them into one completely different multiple idea, which is – actually, who cares:
‘Underwater harbour, Yellow Submarine World with Beatles-themed bubbular breathing pods, children’s area with LOL Ness Monster, aquatic fried food, log flume ride to bottom of loch to collect decomposing gases that carry log back to surface for a few seconds where it vaguely resembles a plesiosaur then back to bottom again, fireworks, on-demand background music and Scotch-tasting.’
The email ends ‘#win!’ Resolve to price myself out of the gig.
SUNDAY. Upload self to recliner. Detect ‘serious error’. Consult my Systems Architecture Troubleshooting Guide. Hm. Apparently I’m ‘faulty’ and should never have been installed in the recliner in the first place. I do a ‘system restore’ by leaving the recliner, going to the pub, then reloading myself into the recliner. Success. Switch to energy-saving Hibernation Mode.