Ian Martin cooks up some tasty architectural tapas
MONDAY Redesign Brunei. I’m conserving its traditional Sultanate character; retaining the ancient misogyny, the patinated homophobia. But I’m giving it a new, lovely, human-scale, architecturally sustainable ‘zing’ by reminding everyone that the Prince of Wales is its most loyal friend.
TUESDAY Number Ten has asked for guidance notes on the privatisation of the Land Registry. They’re worried people will think land rights control will inevitably be handed to party donors or - perish the thought - certain developer acquaintances.
It is vitally important to stifle the impression that venal tax-dodging arsepipes might corrupt the system to their own advantage. I’m therefore recommending three safeguards to reassure the tiny minority of the public who give a toss:
- Make sure the rebadged registry is called something soothing, like Downland or Earthquilt.
- Introduce a two-tier approach to land management modelled on recent education reforms, including new independent ‘free lands’ offering the smart brainchildren of aspirational developers a top class private development at the expense of the taxpayer.
- All land to remain geographically exactly where it is, whatever happens on top of it, relax.
WEDNESDAY Exciting times in the world of equity studies. Historians have identified the earliest ‘encouraging rise in house prices’ in Britain, which occurred at the Knap of Howar in Scotland about 4,000 years BC.
According to primitive marks found inside the turf and stone studio flat (affording panoramic views of the whale-road, yea, and of the stars painted upon the sky) its market value soared by two piglets in the three years before this once obscure area underwent the First Great Scandinavian Renovation. The new earliest house price rise is about 500 years earlier than previously thought, again. The earlierisation of everything is expected to continue at its current stabilised rate until reserves of history are finally depleted in approximately 500 years time, or near offer.
THURSDAY Working breakfast with my fixer Rock Steady Eddie, ‘down the East End’. This was once merely a general location, Mile End’s gash bleeding into Essex. Nowadays the East End is more a state of mind.
We’re in one of those enchained arterial pubs that used be proper boozers in the age of smoking. Built like a brick shithouse, Tudorbethan from the waist up. In the old days you could have crewed a pirate ship from the public bar.
Now it’s all gull-grey and brass, called The You What and seems to have a half-heartedly ironic take on its own customers. Have a pint with your fry-up, nobody’s looking, it’s cool ‘mate’. The place has all the life-affirming power of an abandoned pet shop.
Eddie is upbeat as usual. Let’s face it, optimism and cocaine is a powerful combination. It’s what built Canary Wharf and kept post-Modernism going for so long. Today, he’s excited about a new Greek client.
Oh God I say, not another sun-dried fascist with his bag of loot, swanning into London’s global game of Monopoly, looking for a quick deal on half a dozen Battersea ghost pads…
‘Racist!’ says Eddie, triumphantly. ‘Money’s going the other way this time, son, so I hope you’re ashamed of your bloody self, you done with that toast? Yeah, Mr Hippopotamus or whatever he’s called, got it written down somewhere, has a way into this whole deregulation of the Greek coast lark. All good. Hundreds of miles of pristine coastline begging for a good seeing-to. Course, rent-a-mob’s giving it all that, the lesbian lefty mermaid brigade…’
Enough. Firstly there’s no such thing as a ‘lesbian lefty mermaid brigade’, not only is that offensive, ‘…so yeah he’s got six grand, cash, if we can turn round some prime coastal concept schemes by close of play tomorrow, your round I PHINK.’
FRIDAY Long day cooking up some tasty architectural tapas for Mr Papadopoulos and his entrepreneurial junta of Greek economic patriots.
There’s a mega-casino, partially blended into the unspoiled landscape. An eco-beach enclosed in its own glazed microclimate, fully accessible by registered members. An actual offshore tax haven in the form of a floating castle. Lines of burnished boutique beach huts disguised as Trojan warriors. Mixed retail and office space thrown like giant seaweed across a business marina. All top-quality design, world class architecture, etc.
SATURDAY Eddie and I share out the cash. ‘Squid pro quo, son,’ he cackles, needlessly. ‘Plus my 15 per cent, yeah?’
SUNDAY Mental coasting in the recliner.