Friday, 28 October 2011

Learning to Walk

OK so now I'm learning to walk again amongst other things, almost every other thing actually. Did I mention I had a blood transfusion? Only in my imagination could it become Keith Richards in Geneva rather that yours truly in Whitechapel. However new blood went in, and now I'm wondering, not about the worst things that might be in blood, and I'm sure they test for all of that stuff, and they even showed me the sell by date 'Look.. fresh!' said my nurse, a if demonstrating a menu. No I'm worried I've been donated stinky person blood, that incredibly unfortunate affliction. I've never thought I've smelt of anything but scotch, but now I really worry about my armpits.

Monday, 24 October 2011


Enough uuughrrrrs, enough Aaaaah's, enough yelps when julie nudges my foot by mistake. Every ten minutes now i have remind myself I'm not going anywhere right now. Reckon I could do one of my classes entirely virtually this week, I sit in my room here, they sit in their room there and we blog away live. It would at least get us started, but the media would bring out it's own strengths and how could I resist the chance to ask, just once, 'what are you wearing?' followed by 'I'm naked wearing a fun viking helmet' on the basis of our all mutually understood invisibility and the lack of visual stimuli. Thats seems much for fun to me than skype. Thank you very much Marshall McLuhan. Students walk around again clutching McLuhan and far away eyes. But I think he's better on the 'simple' things in life, like wearing sunglassses to be cool than whenever he even goes near Finnnigans Wake. His best line is on the attitudes of topless dancers in NY, He explains to his colleagues over lunch; 'Well of course, they are wearing us'.

Sunday, 23 October 2011


laid up on the sofa i get to watch all sorts of tv. most of it appears indelibly worse than on previous occasions i've been laid up to do precisely that, i have to keep reminding myself this is our own flat for instance, and we are not removed from our natural habitat to study anything else somewhere else, we have only ourselves, over long sleepless hours, to ponder. which means i think the presenters of autumnwatch become, on the coming of the revolution, the first up against the garden wall, followed by the unfunny hopeless jonathon ross, who would be a lot better if he just reconciled himself to being hopeless and dropped away with dignity like oliver reed. instead you get the feeling these people might ride on forever, like roman sentors of schmaltz, whilst we all get progressively pissed off with of them and their simpering worlds which become bit by bit, all pervasive. soon dc might be heard from some instrument or another installed in your kitchen congratulating you for getting up and joining in.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

pain is not bureaucratic

the thing about pain-and note i no longer possess the dexterity for capitals-and your image of me doing this should be that of an elderly chimp stabbing a single digit at the keyboard- is that pain is not bureaucratic, it is not running a railway system on time or collecting taxes -neither of course is education even though it is so keen to embrace this model- but lying in hospital bed just begging for an extra paracetamol under a bureaucracy of superstructure over use value turns into a hopeless case of form filling, box ticking, and questions you've already answered about a million times- after four days, these all came at me from nurses i hadn't seen before, i didn't see the same nurse twice over the four days of my incarceration - and my file was already as thick as a novel, and i was in total despair.

boody pills

so now I'm at least trapped here at home, in a kind of heaven, but since I can't actually do anything because everything hurts it is still hopelessly miserable. My body appears to have seized up at all the joints which I suppose were being soothed by the little bastard pills which were ruining my stomach.
Here I can also attention, wearing julie out with plaintive requests, which explains why hospital nurses behave like concentration camp guards in their dirty spaceship beep beep beep AAAAaaaaaagh, beep beep beeepertybeep Uuuuuugh..thats the noise of a hospital all day and all night for ever and ever.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011


And puke is exactly what I did, astonished, delirious and scared to death as tee shirts soaked up blood. So that's why saturday through yesterday lasted about a century. in hospital, time stands still, the seconds tick past, you become gradually incapacitated, and then you die, especially if you find yourself in ward of crazy people shouting until the early hours while you crouch fearful under that mantle of death.
However after a great deal of effort by others to fix you, even if you no idea what they are doing, even if it is explained in great detail; you feel considerably tiny, frail and in agony as you attempt that great escape home again, that's after you've been lectured to the point of despair by a whole stream of enthusiastic professionals , and contemplate hobbling in to some new kind of future you didn't really want at all.

Saturday, 15 October 2011


Took delivery of the stuff I bought at Rocket last week, hauling myself out of bed far too early for my liking. There were negotiations to be made, stuff to bring up here, stuff to take to the university. To be honest, all such negotiations, every single one of them, make me nervous. However, it's all done now, and when Julie saw the very cheap but fabulous balcony chairs, she loved them, indeed, they gleam in the sunshine, their thin perforated structure so appropriate, so delicate, so decent, illustrating perhaps some Aalto style progression indoors to outdoors (even though our flat is a relatively tiny thing in what looks like a whole heap of shit) Still, I stare out at those chairs on the balcony, and I look at all the other chairs and lights and tables I've bought from Rocket, and I think, you know, this is all good design for everybody, it is not and has not been expensive, I'm hardly made of money, but these thoughts remind me of a purpose to the architectural endevour which, once digested, might positively make you puke at the next bit of Zaha.

Friday, 14 October 2011


Great day today; lectured on ancient Greece this morning and that ain't easy, but started with Jumpin' Jack Flash as a representation of Achilles. Flawed, I know. Later I found a student had actually done what I hoped he would do, it almost brought tears to my eyes. He went to the forests of Sweden and Finland and tracked about on foot with the scarcest of resources (no 4x4, no camper van) to find some little weekend residences of some of our great architects. He said 'I was in the forest, I saw a paw print bigger than my hand'. This is quite tremendous, and reminds me of my own adventurous youth, when, like an idiot, I set off round Europe on a Moto Guzzi in january. It was a really stupid thing to do, but I'm still here.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Get Yer Ya Yas Out

Git up this morning, actually found myself locked in. 'Honey it's not one of those days' came to mind since I'm lecturing at the AA on Dave Hickey (he's a Texan) this afternoon. So while I wait for release, what do I do, well I tell ya'all, I pour myself a large one and I read that Hickey fella over and over again, for he is the only critic who makes me swoon at almost every line, and you know what else, when he talks about Chet Baker, I decide that it's kinda the time to join in with him, so I put on this copy of the Stones live album 'Get Yer Ya Yas Out' (1969) a terrific thing, but this is an original vinyl copy bought for a tenner from the market stall, and I hadn't even put it on the turntable yet, so it's even better, like some kind of find in an archive, meanwhile less compression man, and my god does it sound fantastic. I'm sitting there doing my Jagger dancing and my Keef riffs and I'm time travelling big time, wish it didn't have to end.
You can be sure I'll enjoy my afternoon. Well awwlright!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Greek torpor

I believe I have caught the Greek torpor, a condition ranging from midnight sweats to general melancholy in the face of events, perhaps induced by continual addiction to 'Newsnight'. Then again, it could be just a common cold, induced by ridiculous fluctuating temperatures and an inability to guess dress. However it is true that I have become somewhat addicted to the Eurozone banking crisis, I eagerly observe each news item for it's conspicuous absence. Last night, neither the six o'clock news or Newsnight even mentioned the collapse of two 'Belgian' banks (in reality the condition of their money supply or lack of it would imply almost total internationalism) to the tune of unimaginable volumes of euro. As far as I was concerned, such 'news' being so managed for our consumption, this lack of information, was smeared with the ghostly hand of Josef Goebels just like the waterworks machine that is X Factor.
Paul Mason may of course have had a nervous breakdown, his valiant efforts to explain the crisis on Newsnight almost everynight for the last three weeks, flying around everywhere, trawling information which he attempts, and this is a very very big ask, to put in layman's terms, having finally given up himself.
I understand the Greek lethargy, but I was cheered by one of my students yesterday who said something like 'I know this sounds a bit naieve, but I think they should shoot them'. It was a remarkably Maoist statement for a twenty first century girl.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011


I am more and more convinced that contemporary conversations in architecture, indeed the very structure of the endeavour, are getting increasingly close to that of the derivatives market for banks. Top schools have to maintain their position by trading increasingly risky bonds on the back of their reputation, ordinary folks elsewhere are seduced in to thinking that's what they have to do too, so they copy them. In so doing the bundle of crap gets bigger and bigger. In fact, I think I may be verging on a kind of Maoist  conversion to an absolutely no bullshit, up against the wall if you dare contradict me response. I was extremely proud to hear from Dan, presently master planning some city in China (as a Pt1student), saying he had written a good old fashioned letter to Patrik Schumacher with the simple demand; 'Why are you such a tosser?' Dan has politics, and he's busy investigating a global calamity, I think we could all do with some of that, and I don't mean being complicit in the name of BIM, I mean something more agriculturally serious.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Nice chairs

Did a lecture on Mies today, then got pissed and bought £500 worth of designer furniture for my new office (when it finally happens). Jesus. Still, Mies himself would be proud and even the owner of Rocket Gallery was impressed I'm prepared to invest in my university accommodation. I say, well, the students have got to sit in nice chairs.