Ian Martin hears some controversial evidence
MONDAY This super-rich client – the Jaded Emperor, I call him – is driving me mad.
I’ve tried putting in everything I can think of to make him feel sufficiently god-like in his lofted estate high above the remains of Battersea. Screening room, billiards room, transparent pool cantilevered into the London sky, spa, miniature arboretum, rare animals zoo. Nothing but boredom and yawning.
TUESDAY Finally cracked it. I’ve added a sleek, marble-finished spitting balcony. He loves it. Once again, architecture triumphs. Let the user spit!
WEDNESDAY To Wiltshire, for lunch in one of those historic pubs restored and frequented by local painstakers.
I’m here to meet old friend Dusty Penhaligon the conservactionist, who is campaigning to have Stonehenge demolished. I can’t tell if he’s in a massive sulk because he failed to get Stonehenge ‘finished’ with all the missing stones, or if he’s just gone full mental tweed jacket.
He claims new evidence – enigmatic scratch marks on a limestone tablet – prove conclusively that Stonehenge should never have been built. He wants it removed, so that the site may return to nature’s bosom.
‘Just looking at those marks,’ he says confidently, ‘it’s obvious. Around 2500 BC, Salisbury Residents Association was presented with plans for a new landmark development by the tribal estate manager. He would have shown them an “artist’s impression” of something called Bluestone West or some such shit and pitched its “offer”. Integrated worship space. Spiritual wellness hub. Astronomical centre of excellence. World-class tourist destination, vibrant expression of community aspiration, enduring symbol of cultural heritage, blah blah…’
Here Dusty pauses for a deep draught of Pargeter’s Phlegm or whatever disgusting ale has been painstakingly pumped into a flagon by mine unsmiling host. ‘Then, from the back, a Common Man would have objected to Bluestone West. Whaaar, er’m just a big poile o’ stones in a whatever, “enge!”’ Oh good, Dusty’s doing him in a voice. ‘…urr, an’ them lintels ern’t even load-bearin.’ Burr, this stupid whatever, skoy church? Er’m an eyesore. Er’m’ll ruin countrysoide. Be able to see erm for bloody MOILES. Then the estate manager would have said oh shut up, Bluestone West is an ICON and our Common Man would have said er’m be costin’ a fortune, why can’t us have sommun useful? Affordable “ousin” withum new smoke-out-er-roof things?’
Dusty’s definitely lost it. ‘Then the estate manager, cruel look on his face, would have stood up and said…’ – oh shit, Dusty’s standing up and shouting now – ‘the prevailing forces of wealth and power have commissioned a huge, enigmatic masterpiece! So you can all SHUT YOUR SCABBY BEARDHOLES, SANDRA HAVE THIS INSURRECTIONIST PILLOCK FED TO THE DRAGONS OH AND WHERE ARE WE WITH THE INVOICING?’
As part of a complicated tax deal, Stonehenge is now suddenly owned by Google
THURSDAY Turns out that was the only Wiltshire pub Dusty hadn’t been barred from. He now plans to ‘raise a militia and march on London’. I think Stonehenge is safe for a bit yet.
FRIDAY Visit Dusty in the rehab centre. He seems much calmer. ‘I’m Googling!’ he says, indicating a laptop. Bless him.
SATURDAY Hold on. As part of a complicated tax deal, Stonehenge is now suddenly owned by Google. They’ve issued a Statement of Intent to ‘right an ancient wrong’ by moving Stonehenge to China. The terms of the proposed deal are undisclosed, but they confirm that ‘historians are now convinced that indigenous pillocks were fed to dragons as part of enabling works at Stonehenge, a human rights violation that we here at Google take very seriously…’
SUNDAY To the Gherkin and Firkin, to say farewell to the editor of the Creative on Sunday, Hamish McErdogan.
Tall, classically proportioned, in his customary tartan polo neck and Brutalist fez, McErdogan is already wankered. He’s regaling Millicent Darling of the Architectural Society for the Preservation of Interesting Churches and Bertie Herring, editor of the RIPBA’s in-house magazine Pop-Up! with some thoughts on epic space.
‘See architectural criticism?’ he says from his lateralised position on the carpet. ‘Parlour game’. He tries sitting up and fails. ‘Parlour game,’ he clarifies. ‘Parlour game’. This feels like the end of an era. McErdogan will be replaced by something called a cross-platformed content deliverer. Yeah, who knows? I imagine an algorithm in a dirty vest shovelling data into some kind of digital furnace, forever. Watch this space, while you can.