Ian Martin redesigns Victorian England for television
MONDAY To a conference, Where Next For The Branded Townscape? Some amazing civic plans in the pipeline…
‘Live, Work and Breathe Matlock’. An integrated 10-year plan for the Derbyshire county town includes more housing approvals, a new business park, and all air molecules to be Wi-Fi-imprinted with the word ‘Matlock’.
‘Hashtag Biggleswade’. A proposed development to the west of the town. Four long residential terraces arranged as an italicised noughts and crosses grid, creating a smart aerial branding presence.
‘Brandford’. A multi-agency cross-stakeholder rebranding of Bradford to create a world-class centre of branding excellence. Every citizen of Brandford will be free to develop his or her personal brand, in the context of a growing urban superbrand. NB: no ‘Russell Brands’ or other timewasters.
TUESDAY Oh my God, I thought it was someone falling down the stairs. Just a voice on the radio saying ‘STARCHITECTS TEAM UP FOR OLYMPICOPOLIS BIDS’.
WEDNESDAY I’m redesigning Victorian England for television. Actually it’s an adaptation of the Victorian England I redesigned for radio.
This time round there’ll be high production values and actors with multisyllabic names.
The human element’s easy enough - gritty but well-tailored, full of existential doubt about Empire and God. But it’s vital to get the built environment spot-on or you get a torrent of abuse from influential Telegraph readers.
My note for the location manager could not be clearer. I want all churches to be Gothic and evil-looking. All municipal buildings to be neo-Classical, foreshadowing perhaps the rise of totalitarianism.
You never know, if this goes well we could be up to World War One by the third series.
All working class housing to be slummy but plucky; we’re looking for gorgeous squalor. Railway stations - stick to interiors, everyone loves a steam train. General note for all locations: lashings of industrial hurly-burly, must look great with a knowing contemporary soundtrack gushing underneath. NB - follies!
THURSDAY Sketch out initial ideas for a radical feminist ideas hub and meeting space. Can’t seem to get any further. Realise I’ve made it self-exclusionary. Go to pub.
FRIDAY My old friend Darcy, the well-dressed controversialist, has written a piece for a new online magazine called, appropriately, The Well-Dressed Controversialist. It’s the usual swooning mix of rehashed press releases, copyright images used with the permission of whoever’s being written approvingly about and clickbait. I wish this horrible aggregated sinkhole WAS actually ‘full’ of mischievously counterintuitive bullshit, but the sad fact is websites can never be full. Gone are the days when you could look at the print version of the Daily Mail and think oh well, at least there it is - ‘finite’.
I’m disappointed in Darcy. Times are tough, but this is a new low. A cursory glance at the latest additions to The Well-Dressed Controversialist gives you a pretty good idea of their editorial ethos. ‘Let’s Have More Shards’. ‘Shut Up, The North - Nobody Cares’. ‘Georgian Architecture Is Shit’. Some Brussels-based visual artist has Photoshopped graffiti onto photos of Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye. Why? To ‘question its primacy in Modernist historiography’, you Brussels-based doughnut?
Darcy’s own contribution is equally shameless: ‘Three Cheers For The Dalek Clusterfuck’. This is how journalism works now. Because Darcy’s pretending to like that appalling Dalí-does-a-Rolex-ad ‘high street’ at poor old Battersea Power Station, they let the Controversialist use the pictures. Darcy then imagines what he MIGHT say if he didn’t like it, eg the unaffordable investment housing looks like a Dalek clusterfuck, the whole thing’s an affront to the idea of a high street, it’ll be full of wankers etc and then offers his own counter-argument.
Apparently he likes the boldness of the ideas, and the vision. And the money. ‘The critics can carp and parp as much as they like - it’ll still cost EIGHT BILLION POUNDS, so excuse me if I don’t fawn over your frankly irrelevant little social housing refurb struggling to make it into seven figures. London is all about glamour, and what could be more glamorous than an icon being forced into humiliating submission by anonymous international shareholders?’ Hang on, maybe Darcy’s being sarcastic. If he is, and The Well-Dressed Controversialist hasn’t noticed, he may have pushed forward the boundaries of online journalism another inch.
SATURDAY Reimagine Venice. No idea why.
SUNDAY Invent opposition to the idea of recliners, write piece In Defence Of The Recliner, in the recliner.