Ian Martin lands his first nimby-pamby gig
MONDAY Wow, I think my fixer Rock Steady Eddie has found the nichest of all niches. ‘Nimby-pambyism’.
‘Basically, your clients are the sort of people who don’t want something in their backyard AND they’re minted, so of course they’ll fork out for a masterplan showing that whatever it is would be much better off somewhere else, example, that brandy of yours…’ Here he snatches up my glass and drains it. ‘There. Nimby-Pambyism in action, bosh’.
I point out that my brandy hasn’t been relocated, it’s been obliterated. ‘Not if you get another round in, son. We can move to another table if you like…’
TUESDAY Bingo. Just landed my first nimby-pamby gig with a campaign group, the Thames Televisual Preservation Society.
They are strongly against a proposed Enchanted Forest Bridge across the river, even though it has been designed by ultra-hip edificeur Henry Giggleswick AND Joanna Lumley likes it. Opponents say it’s stupid to block views of London with a suspended forest, regardless of any carbon rebalancing, monkeys, or Gruffalo-themed retail opportunities.
It’s in the wrong place, is their point. Which is why they’ve commissioned me to praise then notionally relocate the Enchanted Forest Bridge. After several hours of professional thinking I report that the bridge is a) brilliant and b) would be much better somewhere else. I’m suggesting several sites for the project.
Epping Forest, where it would be ‘super-contextual’ and might even qualify for the Turner Prize.
Spanning the river Tees in Middlesbrough, where the tourism argument could be even more persuasive than in the most expensive square mile on Earth.
Or - still crossing the Thames from Temple Station to the South Bank, but 150m up in the air on inhabitable pilotis with an enclosed travelated staircase either side, so it doesn’t interfere with anything too much.
WEDNESDAY News of my nimby-pamby expertise has ignited the tinder-dry social networks of the internet like cruel celebrity gossip. Everybody wants a piece of the ‘oh, it would be so much better THERE’ action.
Already, the Royal Institute for the Pop-Uption of British Architects has announced a competition to ‘solve Israel-Palestine using nimby-pamby methodology and scrupulous attention to both sides of the debate. NB in the absence of one side of the debate the other side may give a brief summary of their opponents’ argument, remember it is vitally important to keep the momentum going…’
By close of business I’ve sketched out a solution which - while acknowledging the right of Palestine to exist, and applauding the tenacity of generations of farmers in cultivating their notional ‘Palestinian’ identity - relocates Palestine to a less contentious area of the Middle East or Germany or wherever, ask the UN, they’re always going on about all this.
This nimby-pambification would then leave Israel free at last to develop the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, thereby creating billions of pounds worth of ethical contracts for architects, philosophers, artists and other consultants thinking outside the…wait! Dismantle the Wall and reassemble it around wherever the new Palestine is! Cultural continuity!
THURSDAY ‘Dancing the nimbo-pambo’ to a very familiar tune today. My colleagues in Space Avengers, the urban guerilla group sworn to lop London’s skyline down to Gherkin level, are keener than ever to sabotage the Shard. Already, softening agents have been smeared over the top few storeys and a ‘droop’ should be detectable early next year.
Meanwhile, the demented team that designed and developed it proposes a smaller clone close by. A 26-storey mini-Shard, in the likeness of the original ‘vertical city but without parks, hospitals, schools or anywhere to ride a bike’. This residential offshoot would be a ‘vertical town but without any state school types’.
Of course I’m happy to oblige and by teatime I’ve banged out a masterplan a) commending the design of the Ickle Shard but also b) recommending it be shoved up the arse of the larger one, so that nobody can actually see it.
FRIDAY Suggest devolving Manchester even further by relocating it between Glasgow and Edinburgh. Nimby-pamby an egregious slab of contemporary Nordic built noir away from Cheltenham to a more appreciative context near the Old Street roundabout. Moot the transfer of all social housing to G4S.
SATURDAY Five-a-zeitgeist theoretical football. Nimby Pamby ‘A’ 3, Nimby Pamby ‘B’ 4, after a last-minute transfer.
SUNDAY Nimby-pamby self to recliner.