This is what happens when architecture operates in a moral vacuum. I blame society
MONDAY. Phone call from Holly Boxwood, minister for communities and bins. Could she run something by me?
Her Social Futures think tank has come up with a scheme brilliantly entwining the two great ‘Issues Around Citizenship’: how to criminalise carbon and how to generate new revenue streams from on-the-spot fines.
‘So, the idea is that buildings would have to have registration plates. Like cars. But fixed on the roof so they can be, you know, Googled or whatever by the carbon wardens. They’ll be checking – not just on our behalf but on behalf of our children’s children – for heat loss, illegal garden heaters, frequency of car use, da-da dee-da. It’s all GPS, like you have in your sat-nav or your… Wii Fit. For all I know. Oh, and a really fun thing they came up with. For a few hundred pounds you can buy a personalised building registration plate. Online!’
They’re idiots, I tell her. If I ever need anything tank-thought, her Social Futures wonkbin is the last place I’ll go. They’re all so sulky and etiolated and intense and overdressed. And what do they do? Flop about writing adjectives on a whiteboard all day, talking bollocks to each other on Twitter. Half of them are still waiting for their wisdom teeth…
She’s not listening. ‘Brilliant. I’ve made a note of your comments. Thanks so much. I’m going to factor that in, really. What I’m doing is, I’m working my way through a spectrum of opinion. You’re indigo, say. Ooh, got to go. Robert Peston on the other line. He’s a possible green. Bye.’
TUESDAY. Happy hour drinks in the Celtic Influence with Dusty Penhaligon, the roll-up-smoking conservactionist. As usual, he’s incensed.
Something called the Heritage Protection Bill has been ‘dropped’ by the government, though I have to say it sounds more like it got tidied away in the Whips’ jumble cupboard along with eco-towns, ‘design quality at the heart of the procurement process’ and a written constitution.
Dusty’s posh friends at English Heritage Experience had hoped to take over listing from the department of entertainment. Dusty was promised a role as a snap-lister. ‘Basically, anything you see that’s older than you, snap it. Not that this government understands. Its whole approach to heritage is pathetic… and antithetic and…’ He splutters to a halt. ‘Anaesthetic?’ I offer. ‘Don’t mind if I do,’ he says, cheering up. I order another round of Whack Fol Palladios.
WEDNESDAY. Lunch with secretary of state for entertainment Azzy Bifter and his Mam. I tell him how upset Dusty and his Grade 1 friends are. Azzy’s eyes moisten at the thought of people being nasty about him; Mrs Bifter bristles, her little fists whitening.
Azzy blubbers: ‘Me and this government, we’re 110 per cent committed to the historic environment, all them listed assets, eh old buildings, I said historic environment didn’eh…’
Mrs Bifter stands up, a metre and a half of Scouse fury, pointing at us in turn.
‘You! You tell dhem mincing heritage nancy boys dhere are new priorities. Folk are worried about dheir mortgage repayments, not where Charles Bloody Dickens lived. You tell ‘em to leave Are Az alone, or…’ She retrieves a can of mace from her handbag. ‘…I’ll Facebook ‘em. And you! Eat dhem bloody vegetables or dhere’s no afters!’
THURSDAY. The Commission for Architecture and Real Places have overstepped the mark this time. They describe as ‘pure evil’ my proposed casino, lap dancing and assisted suicide outlet centre on protected parkland near Winchester.
Who do these people think they are? They’re design coppers, not sodding theologians. This is what happens when architecture operates in a moral vacuum. I blame society.
FRIDAY. Redesign Bethlehem, achieving a poised equilibrium of old and new. The dense, vibrant feel of a modern city is retained with a traditional 1.5km2 refugee camp, housing 12,500 people in 2,480 nano-dwellings. A Church of the Nativity International Plaza expresses the timeless theme of peace and goodwill with enigmatic street furniture and jolly mosaics.
SATURDAY. Amy Blackwater the climate change activist rings to cancel lunch. She and her friends are staging an introspective demo, by occupying themselves with a jumbo crossword.
SUNDAY. Mentally prepare for Thriftmas in the recliner, then have pub lunch. The rest of Sunday is sponsored by ADVENT, the UK’s premier ventilation service provider.