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The Great British Draught-Off

Ian Martin
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Ian Martin witnesses the birth of an architectural TV double-legend

MONDAY My fixer Rock Steady Eddie’s in a philosophical mood, in the Gherkin and Firkin.

‘Them Keynesians or whatever want to update their demonstration models – all right if I do in these cashews?’ He nods at the TV, which is soundlessly showing coverage of air strikes on Syria.

‘All that old toffee about getting one geezer to dig a hole and another geezer to fill it in to keep the economy going, bollocks now innit, all machinery. They want to have one geezer in the arms business and the other geezer in construction yeah? Bomb, rebuild, bomb, rebuild, bomb, rebuild. Keeps everything ticking over, cushty, your round chev.’

I go to the bar with a heavy heart, reflecting on the cruelty of top-down economics. ‘And order some chips, yeah?’

TUESDAY Feeling theatrical. Design a contemporary kitchen in the style of a Radio 4 afternoon drama: long, polished, with here and there a clownish attempt at an American accent.

WEDNESDAY To Clarence House for an emergency meeting with Charles. He’s furious, as usual.

HRH was all set to do his standard ‘candid interview’ ie he sits in a chair looking like he’s just accidentally swallowed raw liver, then solemnly warns us that we’re ruining the environment with our ghastly starter homes and our hatchbacks and our agrarian War On Bees.

Charles’s demands include a ‘proprietary vocal burnish to ensure HRH is sufficiently husky

Impertinently, Channel 4 pulled out at the last minute, claiming that Charles’s contractual demands were ‘dragoonian’. These included approval of all questions, complete control of editing, lighting, sound mix and a ‘proprietary vocal burnish to ensure HRH is sufficiently husky, with notes of tweed and heather’.

By the time I arrive C’s worked himself into a furious sulk and has refused lunch. ‘Don’t these bloody idiots realise that by silencing my voice they are suppressing common sense. Common, do you see? Doing this for everyone. The … the pastry chefs as well as the Lords Lieutenant…’

‘Oh don’t be silly darling,’ says Snorty, putting her head round the door. ‘Nobody’s listening to a word you’re saying. They’re tuning in for a few seconds so they can say to one another how old you’re looking. How thin your hair is, how your face now looks like…’ She enters the room and places a fond kiss on his forehead. ‘…a lovely ballsack.’ He softens; agrees to a little asparagus quiche.

Later he’s keen to discuss how one might set up one’s own television channel – ‘all above board, licensed, by appointment to Mummy and whatnot’ – provisionally called A Television of Britain. In the meantime, unshameable Sky will sign any contract Clarence House puts before them. Which is ironic, given how much Murdoch hates the royals.

My dear friend the magic arborealist Isis de Cambray, who’s masterplanning a complete do-over at Highgrove – levitated hedgerows, singing grasses, the lot – has had to change her name. Tabloid haterag The Sun found out what it was and went fully mental. Charles oblivious as a garden gnome, as ever.

THURSDAY Feeling ‘laddish’ today. Drop a massive bulging skyscraper next to Damien Hirst’s gallery, drink six pints, burp and fall asleep with the snooker on.

FRIDAY Lunch with my old mate Darcy Farquear’say, epic space correspondent for The Creative on Sunday and his fuckwit dachshund Bauhau. Unusually we are joined by their rivals Sloane Bagshawe, architecture correspondent for Builty Pleasures, and her assistance pony Dennis.

Everyone’s even more jittery than usual. A double meteorite has crashed into the exquisite world of willowy feature writers and their pet muses. A double meteorite in the shape of brilliant Canadian arts writer Rose Quartz and her scampish meerkat Serenity.

Quartz was on her way home from an architectural nail extensions expo in Dubai a few weeks ago when she was spotted during a three-hour layover at Heathrow by BBC 2 procurer-general Damish Mumser. He’d signed up an adorable but unpurposed meerkat and there was yet another pizzicato strings-and-celeste-Bakey-Spin-Off to bang out.

Darcy and Sloane have seen the preview and are now looking at their respective muses with not contempt exactly but scepticism certainly.

SATURDAY The Great British Draught-Off. This week contestants have to design a contemporary iPad sheath while Rose Quartz prowls among them being stern and glamorous. Serenity the meerkat looks at everything quizzically and performs a high, chuckling, possibly dubbed, laugh.

SUNDAY Downtime in the recliner, unaccompanied by animals.

@ianmartin

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