Friday, 29 July 2011

Paul Shepheard

Paul is a superb writer on architecture, the best of his generation I think. Three lovely books: 'What is Architecture?', 'The Cultivated Wilderness', and 'Artificial Love' prove it, they are an inspiration. So we went along to see him talk last night at the 'Longplayer' festival in docklands, which means a festival you can't find even with sat-nav in your taxi because the road system seems designed to throw you all over the place other than where you want to go via flyover and in circles around HSBC headquarters. Anyway, there we were on some wharf or another, with planes screaming overhead periodically.
He doesn't disappoint. When you eventually get there, there is certainly poetry. My problem is, am I in the mood for poetry? I first met Paul on a flight to Munster and we agreed a trickiness in flying over Germany, especially if you imagined your plane a Lancaster, but that's about it, he was very funny, and I buggered up a launch of his by talking about my own work rather than his by mistake, but I follow from a distance and via my students response to his texts.
Clearly something has happened to me, while I can seep into that silky world I started to get irritated. So I chirped up. Julie likes me to chirp up, she usually nudges me to do so as if thwacking a horse with a whip. The sort of thing I chirp up with these days is; 'Neoliberalist bullshit!'
Or words to the effect. I say:
'You can't ignore the 700,000 kids who died at Stalingrad on the the Russian side alone, people who died in ideological struggle - and say that no matter what happens to us hornbills will still roost dangerously on some island of Scotland!'..... 'We are not birds!!' I exclaim... 'If we are not here, the world no longer exists to us!'
It was the return of that Ian Sinclair moment. I am clearly troubled.

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