Grand Designs reached new depths last night as millions were shovelled into a hole in the ground. Soon the banker and his wife will notice a certain taint to the air (not shown on TV) and an irritating little puddle or two. Amazingly the laws of physics apply to the rich as much as the poor, and it is most unwise to turn your palatial basement in to a boat, for if you do, it will want to float, or sink.
I fear that Kevin McCloud may be becoming some doyen of the rich, since last week we had castles in the air with a property magnet. Grand Designs is perhaps suddenly de rigueur in certain circles for the most vulgar display of wealth. It does it of course without talking about the specifics of earning it, just the tease of spending it- our class found itself debating whether the water tower guys as opposed to the basement puddle people were spending £35,000 a week or a day, we weren't sure, does it matter?
The window these programs provided offered a vista of hubris of such gargantuan proportions you can only yearn for nemesis to strike back. Building Nero's palace in a bunker in Holland Park alongside the banker and his wife was one Sally Storey, lighting designer to the rich and famous, who used to sit alongside me in first year architecture at Bristol University. It's amazing what time does, and money too. I have to say she looked surprisingly fresh out of the box for somebody of fifty or so.
It's all part of the same thing, the rich are in the business, like Midas, of stemming tides, of stopping time, like Narcissus, of making and keeping everything perfect, and that is not possible. It would be better of some of these clients spent their money on some education- starting with their own.