Ian Martin browses some affordable perimeter solutions
MONDAY I’ve been commissioned to remodel an Anglican cemetery as a ‘vibrant and diverse sort of remembery thinking place’.
Harder than it looks, livening up a cemetery. In the end I go for mixed-media landscaping, some artificial trees, scattered wooden sofas and, here and there, bronze Gormleyesque hands reaching up from the earth.
TUESDAY Once again I have declined the generous offer of an honorary fellowship from the Royal Institute for the Pop-Uption of British Architects.
In these times of moral ambiguity it behoves eminent practitioners of the plasmic arts to maintain a dignified froideur. A certain … distance. After all, we are role models for a new, keening, impressionable generation of plasmitists. We must lead by example.
I shall of course continue to act as freelance consultant to this august body. Just, you know, not at mate’s rates.
WEDNESDAY My Berlin Walk, an eco-promenade following the route of the old Wall, has been a huge success. Northern European Cold War Nostalgia – inevitably, I’m calling it ‘neuralgia’ – is creating exciting new markets to annexe and occupy.
Now working up a ‘Follies of War’ sequence. A chain of grotesquely iconic hotels, a sort of Icon Curtain, marking the former GDR’s western border.
THURSDAY Ironic that, as we cast a patronising look over our shoulders at the brutal divisions of the Cold War, Fortress Europe now has as many security fences and border walls between countries as it did in 1961.
‘Yeah all right keep your knickers on, David Dimbleby’ says my fixer Rock Steady Eddie. ‘The fact remains. We’re all living through the whatever, Age of Fear. Now you can either give in to fear, like them Daily Mail readers you think you’re so much better than. Or you can cash in on fear, which is what I thought we agreed. You GOT any cash on you, by the way? I seem to be temporarily embarrassed, oh nothing bigger than a tenner, I suppose?’
We’re at a grim business park in ‘Greater Heathrow, City of the Future’ for a bleak expo called ‘Space’s Final Frontier’. On the posters a knock-off Star Trek font has been slapped over a range of ‘affordable perimeter solutions’. Fences, they were called, in those faraway days before affordable perimeter problems.
Space’s Final Frontier is cashing in on the current global paranoia about migrants masquerading as refugees with acts of subterfuge that include risking death, or actually dying. The expo’s also cashing in on the fetishisation of defensible space, which is fashionable again in a BBC4 sort of way.
At macro level, governments are attempting to cauterise entire borders. At micro level, the rich are demanding their soft-earned right to privacy. For what, they argue, is the point of property bubbles if you can’t actually inhabit one and put electric wires and taser fields around it? Eddie suggests we ‘have a butcher’s, nick some ideas like the whatever, mature poets we are, back to the ranch, knock out some high-end border designs, bosh-diddly-umptious let’s have a knees-up, lend us your phone, mine’s out of juice’.
There are some spectacular perimeter solutions on display. The Schengen Larchlap for instance, a variation on the much-loved garden fencing but made of sharpened steel and essentially a massive bacon-slicer. There’s a Paprika and Chili Spicy Chicken Surprise, a defensive sensor array that repels intruders with the very worst in weaponised culinary fusion.
There’s even a Retro section. The Hadrian’s Wall knock-off isn’t very convincing, but I’m impressed with the Checkpoint Charlie Watchtowers. Lovely brutal concrete. Shaped a bit like WW2 stick grenades. They’d look great outside my iconic hotels. Eddie agrees. ‘Nice drop of branding there, son. Hotel name on it, lit up by a searchlight, classy. Pave round it with whatever, some Stasi red flags, bosh, cor fancy a lager and one of them big sausages now.’
FRIDAY I’m withdrawing my plans for The Stubs, a 50-storey twin tower scheme in Queensland, Australia, to avoid further insult.
Planners harshly criticised the scheme – imagine two massive bookie’s pencils jabbed into a flat landscape – on the grounds it is irredeemably shit, despite the aquarium. No point arguing with these philistines. I’ll find another flat landscape to penetrate.
SATURDAY Five-a-zeitgeist economical football. Rickety Brexity LOLOLOL 4, Higgledy Picketty YOLO 3.
SUNDAY Suspend disbelief by reading The Creative on Sunday in the recliner.