Thursday, December 13, 2007

Prince Albert and the Gherkin

I am feeling a little Prince Albert this morning - dead but gilded. Last night's orgy of forgotten names was held in the tip of The Gherkin. I spent my time pretending to be Dr Eldon Tyrell in Blade Runner - a chess board in mid-game, the sinister, illuminated city at my feet and a dying replicant in the lift, about to kill me by sticking his thumbs in my eyes. Cinema can be such a consolation. I don't know what to feel about the building. Brilliantly, ingeniously done, it thrills but coldly. Everything was hard and shone and there was no colour. It felt too good for humans. Everybody talked about it, but not in recognition. The glass of the tip provided an eerie reflection of the party crowds below. I imagined the place empty and just the memory of a party preserved as an image in the glass. We seem to be building as yet incomprehensible monuments to our transhuman future. Albert would have done something uglier but more amiable. 

17 comments:

  1. My first time in the gerkhin, too. Odd feeling at the top there. The view is extraordinary, but the building itself reminds me not of the future, but of how people thought about the future in the past. It seems more like a cartoon space shuttle the closer you are to it. And, you're right, something cold and Thatcherite about the click click click of heels across the shiny floor on the top levels (perhaps that was just the company...)

    Anyway, the best thing happened when I left. A taxi was meant to be picking me up, and I received a phone call when I was outside from the driver saying 'sorry, mate, can't find it.' I asked him where he was and he said St Mary Axe. I said, I was outside THE GERKHIN - the most recognisable building in London. "Sorry mate, can't see it." I said it's really tall. Eventually, he got out of the car, and phoned me again. "Oh," he said. "I've been parked right outside for ten minutes."

    It was hard to make small talk in the taxi after that...

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  2. 'tis no wonder that you remember little of the evening, never mind their names. You may as well have sent someone else, your mind being so engaged elsewhere. Was it a reflection, the replicant.;)
    On the building, it has a certain something iconic -to misuse the word- but something the P/O tower has in spades. Why did they not use a icon of the P/O tower with the olympic rings. That is something which says London, similar to Fraser and Seattle. People just know it Worldwide.

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  3. Is it just me, or does the juxtaposition of the words "Albert" and "tip" make me feel slightly nauseous this early in the morning?

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  4. Looking at the Gherkin, I always expect to see people whizzing round outside it with little jet packs on, like Whizz For Atoms or Futurama. If a building's futuristic it's best not to build it - that's what Albert would have said (and Sophie it's not true about the ring, as I've had occasion to point out before).

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  5. There is something soothing about violent death. i used to imagine being clubbed to death by a chav horde whenever i needed a little boost. It probably releases some sort of endorphin-type substance.

    It's interesting that my fantasies are usually of brutal melee combat, knives, clubs, boots, etc., but yours are of a science fiction style death, clearly our reading matter determines our preferred mode of death; or is it the other way around?

    i'd also quite like to be killed by a lion, not by an Appleyardian allergic reaction, i'm talking a good down-to-earth mauling and having my head half-bitten off.

    Nige, how would you like to be killed?

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  6. Well after I abseiled in from the tip and landed at your feet I'd at least expect some compliments on my witty repartee! Did the darkly reflected party seem three times the size or was it my vari-focals since I didn't have much to drink.

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  7. Well Elberry since you ask, I like the idea of a hail of bullets, attracted in the course of an act of insane heroism against a particularly vile enemy. Since no decent wars are available, perhaps I could die rescuing a lady - remarkable alike for her beauty, wit and capacity for gratitude - from an unpleasant experience at the hands of one of your favourite chav hordes. I'm an old-fashioned sort of chap.

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  8. That's an excellent death, Nige, an Englishman's death if ever i heard one.

    When i was working at the Halifax Bank, doing the most tedious data entry, i would daily fantasise about being mown down as i ran at a machine gun post. If you're bored enough, physical pain and destruction becomes pleasurable.

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  9. Susan B., channeling AlbertDecember 13, 2007 4:04 pm

    If Prince Albert were to design a building, it would look like Alexandrina -- er, Victoria. Not tall, but wide. A horizontal, curving building with plump loins and inviting entrances with twining ivy growing around them.

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  10. This is really starting to get to me. Why am I so often the last commenter? Did I say something gauche? Explique moi.

    Paranoia the Destroyah!

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  11. Gauche! Good grief, considering our bunch of lunatics and social incompetents, we're not going to pick up on any gaucheness, Susan. I think it's timing if it keeps happening but hard to tellNot you, anyway.

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  12. The time difference, Susan - you need to be a serious insomniac to keep up with this blog from the other side of the pond. Discussions - if that's what they are - tend to peak quite early in the (GMT) day. By the way, I'm hoping to file one of your favourite reports from the great outdoors (or even the suburban outdoors) before too long. At present totally embuggered by work, etc, etc.

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