I'm here as a member of the exciting new Convergency Services Think Tank, set up by secretary of state Ronald Weasley on the advice of his mum. Our brief is to 'examine the emerging issue of convergency and the possible impacts this may have on future policy opportunitisations'.
Q: what is convergency? A: it is convergence, but with more urgency. Now everything's on the internet, traditional barriers between entertainments are disappearing. We are hurtling towards a 'unified entertainment cultrastructure' in which everything is like everything else. The signs are already there. Television news is presented as reality drama. Novels are now all screenplays. Shopping is leisure. Sport is fashion and money and politics. The West End holds its auditions on telly. Architecture is now run by gamblers and pornographers.
'Great, isn't it?' squeaks Weasley. 'That was the problem with culture. Too many things were unique, which is another way of saying elitist. This way everything is accessible, so...' There's some discussion about how Lottery money should be distributed after the London Olympics consultants have had their whack. Weasley intervenes. 'Yeah, but right. It's not just a question of how the money's divided, it it? The real challenge is how we grow the cake...'
At this point I seem to hear the intricate machinery of civilisation grind to a halt. Then silence.
TUESDAY. Lunch with Johnny Boulange, the avant-garde French composer. He wants an experimental holiday home, with lots of sudden flourishes.
'It must reflect...' he breaks off to scan the horizon of his own brilliant mind. 'It must reflect and express the perverse polymath who is me...' No surprise there then. In my experience the only people more narcissistic than avant-garde French composers are London estate agents.
Johnny wants everything about his residence secondaire to be 'challenging, surprising, a little...irritating'. I recommend locating it in Morecambe, which has a classic Modernist hotel and is impossible to reach by public transport at weekends. He's sold. But what does he want the place to look like? 'A late Beethoven quartet, played as if through trees by the wind...' Idiot.
WEDNESDAY. Cocktails at The Haemorrhoid, where Loaf is at last coming to terms with the difficulties of being Mayor of London. He wants to halt tall building development but has been pre-empted by recession. Now he's realised time is already running out to reshape London transport. 'Eheu...' he mopes. 'Omnibus longa, vita brevis...'
THURSDAY. Upgrade my eco-town, High Purberley, by redefining 'zero carbon'. I factor in off-site renewables, i.e residents, by setting tough new vegetarian standards and restricting children - one each.
FRIDAY. Finish concept proposals for Johnny's Morecambe pad. To be honest, I knock it all out before lunch with this fantastic new software, Eclectic Sheep. You just type in little shreds of ideas and the names of a few architects you like and its special tropesonomic algorithms do the rest.
I've given it the brief, 'Holiday Home for a Music Lover NB not Mackintosh'. Keywords: modern, pretentious, Johnny Boulange, seaside. I set Ponce Quotient to 'extreme', then let it run. An hour later the house has its own website with an image gallery. Not renderings of how it might look, obviously, that's too vulgar. Just aspirational glimpses, like you get in those brochures for luxury apartments. An expensive coffee maker slightly out of focus. A close-up of twigs in a vase.
For this project, Eclectic Sheep has cleverly generated a series of building details - Corb, Erich Mendelsohn, Oliver Hill - and animated them with architectural/musical notation. 'Allegro modernato' swims in and out of focus over enigmatic white concrete. A bit of belltower is captioned 'andante campanile'. Deliriously, what looks like a blurry section of sedum roof carries the nonsensical legend 'piano...forte...con eco...' There's not a single original drawing anywhere. It looks hugely desirable.
SATURDAY. Johnny loves it, but has followed the hyperlink to 'Morecambe' and is now thinking Croatia.
SUNDAY. Media research in the recliner. The price of bread's up again. And the papers are full of ministers talking about growing the cake.