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Slaughter of the Dissidents

Ian Martin
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Ian Martin conspires in the Imperial Dining Room

MONDAY Curse those plague gods of the Chinese Supreme State Planning Council. Their new guidance proscribes buildings which are ‘oversized, xenocentric, weird, or devoid of cultural tradition’.

What now for my Shanghai Fat-Fat Super Maxi-Tower? My Mini-Napoli Italianate Urban Retail Marina in Gongqing? My Wuhan Pulsating Scallop Stadium of Business? My Temporary Instagram Museum in Guangzhou?

I wish people would consider the consequences of their actions. This isn’t planning, it’s psychopathy.

TUESDAY Celebrate International Caryatid Day, remembering especially the inspirational women of the Erechtheion, with their noble faces and their archetypal load-bearing hips.

WEDNESDAY Inevitable Twitter backlash from whiney architectural men’s rights activists asking pointedly when International Persians Day is.

THURSDAY I’m thinking about a net-zero public commitment to set GHG emissions and renewable energy use targets consistent with holding the increase in global average temperatures to within 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to strive for a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals through sinks of greenhouse gases in the next 50 years but don’t want to feel too bloated so just have a sandwich down the pub.

FRIDAY To the Royal Intitute for the Pop-Uption of British Architects. I’ve been invited to ‘help frame a response to’ a survey which revealed that most popped-up architects think a) the institute should definitely still exist but b) it’s actually bollocks and c) all they want is to be able to put ‘RIPBA’ after their names, and pretend it’s an award from the Queen for cultural bravery.’

Inevitable Twitter backlash from whiney architectural men’s rights activists

I join president Jean Donught and her impressive new cabinet of ambassadors, who all sit around a rough wooden table in hide and fur cloaks, quaffing mead from jewelled goblets. President Donught is at the head of the table in a flowing ermine cloak, wearing the ancient Crown of Tears. Even with my freelance consultant’s hat on I feel a little underdressed.

She stands and smites the table with the Cudgel of Spatial Alchemy. ‘Ambassadors! The consensus is that we are not delivering! We must deliver and be SEEN to be delivering! Ideas, now! Barbara, come!’ A falcon sweeps down from the rafters and perches on her gauntlet. We head for the Imperial Dining Room, leaving the ambassadors to their whiteboard.

Over a working banquet, Donught and I agree that the sensible way forward is to purge as many malcontents from the institute as possible, possibly by tricking them into coming to a social event featuring a trad jazz band and then slaughtering them. This would instantly increase the percentage of satisfied members. Also, relocate the headquarters building to some repurposed shipping containers in Tilbury and sell the famous Portland Place building to those Korean hotel people.

We return to find the ambassadors insensible with mead. Pathetically, all they’ve come up with is something about how the RIPBA should concentrate on the things it does well. One of the things it does well, mumbles the Ambassador for Joined-Uption, is to periodically call for itself to focus on its membership. The other thing it does well is to call on the government to put design quality at the heart of the procurement process. With this dual approach the ambassadors hope to focus on the membership and to put design quality at the heart of the procurement process.

To her credit, Donught does smite the ambassadors quite a lot with the cudgel. Barbara the falcon looks on impassively, presumably having seen it all before.

SATURDAY To a transport logistics workshop. Two new tyres, suspension shot, worst MOT for years.

SUNDAY I read in the Creative on Sunday that my old adversary, the ‘artist’ and ‘sculptor’ Danesh Pew, has acquired exclusive rights to the world’s ‘most pretentious’ black pigment. Naturally the petulant, selfish bastard is making sure that nobody else can use it.

Well two can play that game, mate. I am, through the offices of my fixer Rock Steady Eddie’s brother-in-law Legal Brian, seeking exclusive rights to all ‘municipalised air’ in the world. This is precisely the environment in which Pew’s giant polished turds customarily appear. If I’m successful – and Legal Brian reckons we have a ‘pretty good shot, depending on how things pan out’ – I will of course allow all public art to be ‘free to air’. Except Pew’s. His rubbish will have to be shown indoors, out of sight. The insufferable pillock. 

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