Archive for June, 2004

Great truths

Wednesday, June 30th, 2004

1. The first drink is always the best.

2. Shit always happens sooner or later.

3. Birds don’t sit round worrying – they just get on with it.

4. The music you enjoyed in your youth holds a unique place in your heart.

5. Life is a process.

6. People who drive recklessly don’t know the meaning of death.

7. Plants are insect food – thus gardeners help insects to live – gardeners get upset when insects eat plants.

8. Humans are no more important than trees.

9. Everyone farts.

10. Most British people live in boxes made of baked rock and dead plants – we obsess about these boxes a lot.

11 ?

Thought for the evening

Worried about looking old?

You’ll never again look as good as you do now.

[ Botox and major surgery excepted ]

Enuff already

If you’ve come here looking for ‘Tosser Henman’ links then – at the risk of repeating myself – this may interest you.


Monday, June 28th, 2004

Hot news from Mogadonmart:

Just back from a brief excursion to stock up on salted cashews. [ I think I’m deficient in something present in cashews as I have an inexplicable craving for them and I’m not pregnant ] Alec was in front of me at Checkout 0 – he was obviously stocking up on a few essentials himself; Extra Strength Belgian Bottled Lager – [ Chest hair insurance optional ], Three packets of Jaffa Cake Bars – [ they’re on special ], various chocolate bars, a nylon hairbrush and a copy of FHM. Looks like he’s in for an exciting evening. I don’t want to speculate what the hairbrush is for as he’s recently shaved his head. Like the rest of him though [ well, I speak only about the publicly visible bits ] there is 3 days growth. Alec is not the best groomed of the Mogadonmart executive.

Personing – [ Note politically correct terminology – I learned this one from a Lesbian Deputy Headmistress Headteacher ] – Checkout 0 tonight was Lizzy. Lizzy knows and loves everyone. Everyone is Lizzy’s love.

I approach clutching my foil wrapped medication. The clapped out barcode scanner is not cooperating. Lizzy resorts to manual input of the handy fifty digit code. She gets it wrong and up pops, ‘HUGGIES® Pull-Ups Extra Large’ on the VDU.

I have a mental picture of Gerbils implementing the barcode classification system at Mogadonmart HQ as Lizzy interrupts with, ‘Sorry m’love – I’ll just call Alec to sort this out’. I’m getting twitchy – I NEED CASHEWS – a cold sweat breaks out on my forehead – I toy with running for it but Calvin the horizontally chilled out security guard is blocking my path by leaning against the wall of discount Huanyu fridges near the entrance/exit way. Stimulated by Lizzy’s frantic intercom action, Alec emerges from The Mirrored Box, brushing Jaffa Cake Bar crumbs from his polyester ensemble. Lizzy is apologetic, ‘Sorry Alec m’love – this scanner is knackered’. Alec voids my Huggies and scans my nuts. I pay and leave, ripping open the packet in the carpark to devour their crunchy salty goodness. I can hear Lizzy in the background, her butch voice carrying over the Great Wall of Huanyu, ‘Sorry to keep you waiting m’love – me scanner’s knackered, have you got a Mogadoncard m’love? Do you want cashback?’

Cash ? – who needs it?

I float off in a cloud of cashewphoria.


Sunday, June 27th, 2004

Tim Henman.

Big Brother.

David Beckham.

Victoria Beckham.

Washing up.

Traffic jams.

Bloody football.

Bloody Will Young.

Camera phones.

Bloody Sue Barker.

I thankyew

What have we learnt this week?

Saturday, June 26th, 2004

In Tibet, buying animals from the butcher, thereby saving their lives,and setting them free was a common practice. via Anna

Brown Y fronts are big downunder courtesy of Simon

Real men don’t wear vests. But Shrublet does.

Real men don’t resign . . . we’ll see

Prince Charles feels the pain of school teachers – yeah right.

Pigeons can find renaissance frescos

You drive a cream car? Watch out I may crash into you.

Chest hair insurance may be available should you need it.

Not content with your wallet and mind Microsoft now wants your body too. Soul XP anyone?

London has a new landmark

Who lives in a house like this?

Friday, June 25th, 2004

It’s architecture week [ but not for much longer you’ll be glad to hear if the comment famine is anything to go by ]. On Wednesday I wrote about a pioneering modernist building. Most of us experience architecture of a far more mundane variety every day. In fact you could argue that it is not architecture at all. Britain’s housing stock is generally, in my view, appallingly designed.

No matter what era of building you choose – it’s the same; poky dark spaces, knicker chillingly draughty / damp or hermetically sealed and dessicating. Weird shaped rooms, poor construction, strange windows, crap insulation – the list goes on. With the exception of the Georgians who knew that light within buildings was actually not to be feared, you might think that we lived in a country awash with bright unrelenting sunlight. Judging by the average size of most domestic windows an alien might think that our country is inhabited by photosensitive midgets. I can understand why windows were small when the window tax prevailed but that was one hundred and fifty years ago – time to move on. Glass is cheap – holes in walls are easy to make – lets get real.

Drive around any British town and you are likely to see some or all of:

crumbling victorian terraces lovingly patched up

crumbling victorian terraces unlovingly divided up into crumbling shoebox apartments flats

ex council houses lovingly ‘enhanced’ with the addition of UPVC/Satellite dish/St Georges flag, gnomes, conifers, all of the above + water feature

barely detached execbunkers with overpriced kitchen appliances and vinyl coated interior doors

twee cottages lovingly preserved in faux pseudoruralistic style

‘Purpose built’ –[ for what? ] flats with cardboard walls and the obligatory bolted on ‘period’ features [ choose from: pointy things glued to roof / weird tiles glued to outside / ultra pointy roofs / UPVC applique / tudorstylee beamettes glued to something random

‘Modern’ houses = two ‘Purpose built’ flats glued together with extra bolt ons [ see list above ]

Very rarely will you see anything that looks remotely ‘of today’. No we reserve that for ‘freak shows’ on Channel 4.

This is not architecture – it is a crime against humanity.

You could argue that we get what we deserve. That because people are prepared to pay for this stuff – and pay handsomely at current prices – then the situation will not improve.

There are signs that things are changing. Large scale developers are beginning to realise that they may have to start actually providing something of quality if they want to continue selling to more enlightened housebuyers.

Meanwhile this weekend I’ll be repointing my crumbling brickwork. sigh

The ultimate aim of all creative activity is a building!

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2004

Its Architecture Week – and in celebration I’ve decided to write about one of my favourite buildings. For some reason this building has come to represent for me something fundamental to my beliefs about design and my enthusiasm for modernist ideas.

Since 1982 I held an ambition to visit The Bauhaus in Dessau. At that time, pre – perestroika – Dessau was in communist East Germany and the prospect of a visit was fairly remote. All I knew about the building at that time was from my studies. It’s symbolic construction in 1925. The Bauhaus as the seat of a revolution in design, the ripples of which continue to spread across the world to this day. The dissolution of the Bauhaus under the Nazi regime in the 1930s and the spread of it’s ideas to the US underpinning the post war boom in American industrial design and architecture. A huge legacy for one building eh? Only this, I realised, was my personal myth of the Bauhaus. The building was a manifestation of the Idea and therefore came to symbolise it for me. My delight in the work of the Bauhaus masters, Kandinsky in particular, was a delight in the freshness and new thinking that the Bauhaus philosophy allowed in the design and production of objects. The unashamed use of modern materials, an embrace of machine methods, beauty in pure forms, a modern reinterpretation of classicism – a reconnection of the spiritual element in man with the mass produced objects that surround us.

In 1999 I finally walked through the doors of The Dessau Bauhaus and up those wide stairs iconically rendered in Schlemmers 1932 painting. It was one of the most thrilling days of my life. For so long anticipated and now finally to be here. It was also disappointing because I realised only then that what had drawn me to this place was a desire to more fully understand the ripples from here that had affected my own perceptions and ideas.

Gropius’s building which now looks not unlike every other modern office building was the first – there was nothing else quite like it at the time. It pioneered the use of glass curtain walling, prefabrication, steel framing. The aesthetic was revolutionary: steel framed furniture, colour blocked walls, machine made fittings – everywhere clean unadorned rationality and space.

Tons of space and light – everything for which we now strive in our modern buildings.

The building today although still in use as a Design Institute, is no longer home to what made it famous. My romance with the Bauhaus is a romance with the possibilities it opened up. Beautiful, well designed objects and environments of our time – embracing technology, not fearing it. Celebrating human creativity in our own era – pioneering new approaches. Making the world anew. For me this is what architecture and design is.


Still time to scoop some points on the Architecture Week Quiz – 4 questions left – answer as many as you like!

What's your favourite?

Monday, June 21st, 2004

Its architecture week and I thought I would share with you the 10 buildings that have had the most impact on my understanding of architecture over the years. They are all buildings that delighted me and confounded my expectations when I visited them. All of them ‘broke the mould’ in some way, all of them have exquisite detailing and most of them, for me, have some spiritual dimension. In compiling this list I articulated for the first time something I’d only previously had an instinct for. I realised that to have integrity a building has to embody something of what is great about humanity. It has to extend our view of what we can be. That’s what I think anyway – how about you?

Sydney Opera House

Coventry Cathedral

Story Hall

Carlsberg Brewery

Jewish Museum

Chrysler Building


Glasgow School of Art

Institut du monde arabe

World Trade Center

Architecture Week

Sunday, June 20th, 2004

Its architecture week – so time for an architecture quiz.

Max two answers each please – until Wednesday when you can come back and scoop remainders. Points will be awarded. Good luck.

1. Athens olympic stadium architect. BW
2. Large green tower W1.
3. Metro art nouveau designer.
4. New concert hall LA.
5. Spiral art gallery NYC. ew
6. Chep lap kok architect. BW
7. Memorial big man in chair DC. Douglas
8. Oz capital lake. Douglas
9. Le Corbusier Indian city. Harriet
10. Bird – London churches. Debster
11. Lady Di sad love temple. zed
12. King Kong’s last hangout. Debster
13. MVDR Chicago twin towers – who he? Anna<
14. Bilbao gallery architect. Harriet
15. Gustav – French engineer. Douglas
16. Walter – Bauhaus founder. Anna
17. Hitler’s architect. Graham
18. Jorn – SOH. Anna
19. 60’s Belgian balls. zed
20. Sacred heart on the hill. Anna<


At last, at last – the Points have been updated – [ drD calling ew for chariddee nomination please – I have no email address for u!

History is made: EU Constitution agreed

Saturday, June 19th, 2004

In brief
1. It’s all very complicated.
2. Nobody’s quite sure what it’s all about.
3. A lot of computers will be needed.
4. It’s going to cost quite a bit.
5. We’ll all have to learn to talk foreign.
In depth
1. Handy 30 page guide to the CONFERENCE OF THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE GOVERNMENTS OF THE MEMBER STATES [ Note: These documents contain modifications to the text of the Constitution in document CIG 50/03, its addendums and corrigendums and constitute the outcome of the Intergovernmental Conference. ]
2. Buy prozac online.
3. We won the war.
4. That Kilroy’s lovely isn’t he?


Thursday, June 17th, 2004

©The Scum 2004