Monday, 28 February 2011

The Shock Doctrine

Is it just me, or are the politics of the Libyan situation given rather conspicuously different coverage from the Egyptian situation? The Egyptian stuff was 'peaceful' , but the Libyan one is not, and that is clearly giving the west more than pause for thought, in fact it's ready to send in the jets any moment now, is that because we do not know 'who' these particular liberating forces are? It is so obvious lots of duplicity is at work, lots of historical baggage, and loads of opportunity for western corporations to milk the the fucking place dry if they can find the right excuse.
Read 'The Shock Doctrine'.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Despair in the Trench

The Trench was particularly dispiriting today. It's pub on it's knee's, the old men who drink there on their knees. I began to develop a pain in the neck. If only they could be nicer about it, the old men I mean. For instance, an innocent family of tourists accidently came in with their bum bags and funny hats and European dispositions and even before they'd realized they'd made a BIG mistake walking into such a barn of misery the barmade had tried her best and failed to comprehend them and the old men had shouted at their little seven year old kid that 'if she got on the stage SHE HAD TO SING A SONG!' and if 'she went near the bar SHE HAD TO BUY A ROUND' and sadly the family had meekly tried to play along but I felt my heart sink to new lows. Sadly the old men, long lost in hilarious dialogue that might include such lines as 'I can speak Italian..... PIZZA!' saw the child's horror as deeply funny. So, let the place die, for to sustain it, you'd need a decent collection of old men to keep quiet have a good soak, for certain you don't want them taking charge; they tend to get nasty.
The problem is, there are no other pubs left that are not entirely populated by under twenty five year olds in 'new media' with their computers under the candles and ex-members of 'Big in Japan' playing on Saturday night.
So, it was home via the Old Maid Pharmacy. Now the Old Maid is run by an old gentleman who seems to cook up most of his own remedies. I'm contemplating asking him for something special for the afternoons.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Royal Mail.

Sometimes it's just rubbish, that's what this country is. It's amazing how rubbish it is, amazing to see the politicians squirm faced with their love of democracy and their love of selling tear gas (Arms, Drugs, Porn - you could add Fraud, our key new industries of course!) but even that is nothing compared to 'waiting for a package to be (re) delivered by the Royal fucking Mail'. You get the card through your letter box if you are lucky, you go online to arrange a new day and rearrange everything to sit there on the appointed day waiting in expectation. Of course nothing happens. You shlep down to the depot the next morning and they've sent the fucking thing back. I think the solution is very simple; much bigger letter boxes. You can't tell me this is beyond the wit of man, that and 'phone the customer to authenticate' that would help. Thousands, perhaps millions of man hours would be saved in waiting for the postman who never comes (but sales of Bukowski poetry to read while you're waiting would decrease). God it's depressing. Don't even try to contact Royal Mail customer services, they've given up long ago, and the website asks you to ask your question to a virtual smiling 'Sarah' who cuts you short just as you are about to describe just how fucking bla bla much you want to stuff the package up her virtual arse.

Monday, 21 February 2011

John Le Mesurier

Depressed with whatever it is and almost everything on TV, I turn to a biography of John Le Mesurier ('Do you Think That's Wise?' -good title- only thing good about it). Now how the author made this book a disappointment is beyond me. A man who marries first a hopelessly drunk socialite, then Hattie Jaques who not so much runs off with the chauffeur and moves him in and has John switching bedrooms (with John bringing them tea in bed) and then finally has his last wife run off with Tony Hancock when he was at his worst must be the tops of harrowing. That lot along with hanging out with Jeffrey Bernard in Soho and all the other reprobates I admired for their cat racing antics in my twenties, well it should be the most emotional of tales, but it is not, for it is written by a FILM BUFF. So is the one about Hattie Jaques (Julie says). I'll have to turn to other biographies, or preferably, autobiographies to help me escape from Master Chef Down Under, I think Casanova's- ten fucking volumes ladies and gentlemen, might be a good one.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Back in pajamas at least..

So, I am back in pajamas at least, and out of the nightmares of fever. The air is fresh once again, you wash the sweat off with fine soaps of laurel and you put off checking your e-mail for a bit longer, and I won't plug in the mobile phone. I love Bukowski's maxim to 'draw the blinds, stuff the door bell with rags, and put the phone in the refrigerator'. You can hardly do it now with so much communication, it almost takes guts to do it, it is almost a revolutionary act.
So with a clear head and some whisky left I settle down to Alain Badiou's The Century. It will tell me where we are heading, it will explain where we've been, it will provide an intellectual road map. We all need a road map, we all need to get back to work after delirium.

Thursday, 17 February 2011


And then of course I collapsed, well not in a spectacular way, I just felt the need to go to bed before nine pm. The excitement of the sunshine, The Stones and the nostalgia was clearly too much for me, and my own mortality sent me peacefully into a raging temperature. 'Damn you!' a bit of me thought, 'Acquiesce' said another part. The second part won, it's a more useful word right now.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011


I was trying to put together Friday's lecture to third year, but I put on The Stones 'Ladies and Gentlemen' ( Texas 1972) and I just started to dance. I couldn't help it, it's just that fucking fantastic. You see Keef playing (mostly to Charlie Watts) and the timing is immaculate, I don't care how much MERC it took, it is a very beautiful thing.
Maybe it was the sunshine today, but I got nostalgic. For some reason I'm just walking down the Shoreditch High St and I'm thinking back to well over a decade ago when I was in LA with Tim Pyne. We were kings of the world and everything at our feet, at least that's how it felt. We've even got it on camera - a vegetarian christian was press ganged into following our adventures throughout ( we thought it would make TV ). I smiled, remembering tumbling out of a Strip club in Las Vegas at 7 in the morning with a porn star and somebody who said he was Lawrence of Arabia's nephew, and many hotel room moments besides; stockings and blur. Tim came back green and went straight to a meeting of the Millenium Commission for the Dome. It was the best job I ever had. Back then, our architecture really was rock n roll.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Good day

Woke up full of the joys of spring ready to review Third Year design 303. It was not as bad an experience as I had expected. Of course there were the usual idiocies to discuss in depth; floating cemeteries, emporiums for the consumption of illegal meats, places of great yoga healing ('maybe you should draw it standing on your head') and all of that, but what softened the blow was that my colleagues, sometimes and somewhat suspiciously, knew more about me than even I had remembered. They also seemed very reasonable types who'd probably spent the night kipping in the odd cemetery themselves. Most heart warmed I jumped on the bus to the White Horse and stared at last night's game. I have to say watching it, Chelsea were much better than I had thought, David something in particular, Torres in prospect. I became even more heartened, and even predicted a positive rennaisance in our fortunes. Meanwhile 'Lilly' took a liking to my beard and started babbling on about the state of the planet which is not unusual for those in the dancing profession. This sort of stuff I find soothing. Next I trooped in to the Rocket Gallery around the corner, a real emporium of Designer Stuff (who seem to like me a great deal) to ask how to change a lightbulb on my designer lamp, suddenly playing up. Walked out with a book on sex in comics (in German - even better) and a plastic dish of some sort. Excellent, but I'm short of a few quid for sure.
Got home contemplating lunch (which in my opinion should always be taken in Soho hours- around 4-4.30pm) only to receive a knock at the door for the delivery of our new kitchen waste bin. It's the best waste bin money can buy, and I'm not being John Pawson about it. Waste bins are a pain in the arse, and a good one a rarity. Julie and I had agreed we needed to upgrade after ten years of marriage since the last was a wedding present- we move on! Meanwhile, how cool is it that I was actually in for the delivery, otherwise it would end up in the arse end of West Ham.
Wow! what a day. Something's bound to go wrong when I open my e-mails.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Idiot John Pawson (architect)

From Private Eye last week in Pseuds Corner, headlining with:

' A recent find is Blanc Sacre tea from the Mariage Frieres in Paris. The pickers harvest the buds using golden scissors.'

All you need to know.

Kitchen Equipment

I realize I have been rather depressed recently, I realize it because my American Express bill has gone through the roof on kitchen equipment. I suspect that buying good kitchen equipment is a defensive mechanism if you are depressed. You need to feel that, at least in your kitchen, that the garlic crusher is just the best and the stock pot sufficient for all eventualities, including the cooking of several cows feet, just in case something goes terribly wrong. Note also, the kitchen being small, there is no room for extravagance.
I was chatting to Scott about this, and he smiled and said, 'Well if you are in too deep in this world, if there is too much thinking going on, there are two things you should do; take a course in First Order Logic and learn to cook.' He's right, students by enlarge have difficulty navigating the design world because they do not apply logical processes and probably have little chance to cook well. So I'm sure they are by enlarge depressed also. So the advice holds: take a course in First Order Logic and learn to cook. My problem is I'll have to look up what First Order Logic is, for of course I am just as dilettante as all the rest. For a lesson in this difficulty, best view Fellini's La Dolce Vita.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011


I have acquired pajamas. They feel damn good, they make you feel like John Le Mesurier, even if you are listening to Alice Cooper on Planet Rock.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011


I find myself dipping in to the Keith Richards volume 'Life' a lot. It sits not unlike a bible next to my chair, and when I'm pissed off or even if I'm just passing the time watching 'Hitler's Henchmen', I read it and it cheers me up. It got a lousy review in the LRB, but that said more about the reviewer than the book, and of course, survival the KR way, via various of the upper classes drowning in their own ennui, is not for reviewers at the LRB. They have their own social networks to worry about, probably involving Julian Barnes and Jeanette Winterson (which personally, disgust me more) I like in particular expressions like 'drinking is like's just what you do'. That always raises a smile and encourages another refreshing visit to the kitchen, and on that point, 'Life' includes excellent nuances for the perfect Shepherds Pie and Sausage and Mash.
Today was a little tough, you see if you were teaching the KR way then you'd have to be pleased with my Theory One students who left the gigs high and smiley and in the mood to work (as demonstrated in their essays) but my later encounter with 3rd Year design studio left me feeling they have little road map, and feel themselves both useless and godlike at the same time - hardly an ideal combination - mostly because they think architecture can do more than architecture can, they instinctively want to make it into something else. You could endure this, but I have done that too long.

Sunday, 6 February 2011


Periodically people ask me 'What are you reading?' and sometimes I have to reply 'The Day of the Jackal'. This pleases me at least, the image of us sitting up in bed, Julie reading 'The Shock Doctrine', myself Freddy Forsyth, is a picture of middle age. It's our anniversary; eleven years. We celebrated at the Lobster Pot, an excellent restaurant in the unlikely locale of Elephant and Castle. It's an lovely venue particularly for the intimacy of the experience, and the tapes of seagulls and foghorns that accompany your jolly venture in to lobster flambe. I was brought up by the sea, and I like to have it simulated on special occasions. I have to say we had a wonderful, gentle, time, even with 'jazz' afterwards in the sister establishment next door. The whole day was fabulously melancholy in itself, for on such occasions, the past dominates, you can hardly help it.
Of course by the time we were home we were drunk and played our drunk records.
These are:
Supertramp: Even in the Quietest Moments
Peter Frampton: Do You Feel....
Bryan Adams: Run to You
Steely Dan: Josie
Genesis: Lamb lies down..
We play the same records every time. That I guess, is what happens in happiness.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Andy Gray

I will admit I have enjoyed myself in the last two days, I am back home in the lecture room, really at home. I did my first lecture on Marxist economic theory yesterday, and of course you have to do that without sexy projected images (defying notions of commodification) so it was just me and a marker pen. Now that's a first, especially since I know very little about Marxist economic theory. However, when discussing my adventures with Scott, he seemed to laugh himself to death at the fact I'd made Andy Gray's sexist jokes in to a question of Marxist theory. I said, the content of the joke (girls and off side rule) is funny, at least for blokes who like football, this is the 'use value' of the joke. At the same time, the world of Sky broadcasting decide it is unacceptable, so the 'exchange value' of that joke is that you lose your job. Bang on Scott said. I am determined not to be a grumpy Marxist, instead, happy Marxist, horrible world.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Fuck Blackboard

That's it, Fuck it, fuck it, fuck it fuck it, the world's gone mad. I have just tried to use the latest inter stella information software the university demands we use to find out where the fuck I'm supposed to be lecturing History 3 on Friday morning. Will it tell me? Course it fucking won't. Jeremy Paxman has apparently hit off at a similar situation at the BBC, his inter stella technology doesn't fucking work either. This typifies our absolute stupidity.