Losing Character

I’ve ranted so often about shitty architecture on these pages that one might be forgiven for thinking that I’d be sick of it by now.

Silly rabbit.

Here’s the latest example of foulness:

Residents living next to one of the most expensive houses in Britain have blasted the home as a ‘monstrosity’.
The newbuild, in the exclusive London suburb of Chelsea, has been nicknamed ‘Gucci House’ by appalled neighbours because of its ‘gaudy’ appearance.
The ‘ugly’ mansion occupies land that was formerly a school playground and has a dark grey exterior and imposing metal gates outside.

The exclusive street is the oldest in Chelsea, dating back to at least 1566.

I know, it looks like a wart on a pretty girl’s face — not, mind you, that London residential architecture is anything like a pretty girl’s face:  it’s dated, and occasionally quite horrible — but whatever, it’s what gives London its character.

As to why some rich fuck and his equally-fucky architect would want to lessen or destroy that character, I leave it to you to decide.  But speaking of that architect, here’s a quote which describes the process perfectly:

Original architects, Gumuchdjian, describe the property as surrounding a garden courtyard with an entrance that echoes the Parisian Hotel Particular.

Okay, let’s just nip this little turd-piece in the bud.

There’s no such thing as the Parisian Hotel Particular — it’s not a specific building, so it shouldn’t be capitalized.  The hotel particulier  is a style of building, and denotes a grand townhouse.  Here’s a typical example of said style, in Paris:

To even suggest that this London carbuncle resembles the above is mendacity in the Clinton Class.

And here’s the final word on this catastrophe, from a neighbor:

‘My house has survived The Blitz, it was built in the 1780s, they’re not building to match the heritage of the area. It’s like vandalism. How can the council approve this when it doesn’t match the other ones?’

Here’s a clue:

The house changed hands just last year and according to data from the Land Registry, the price tag of £73.2million was 209 times the average house price last year which was £350,396.

When a house costs about $100 million, a hundred thou or so to the right councilor or planning authority is small change.

Just sayin’.

No Solo Effort

Here’s one which set my teeth on edge:

MSNBC host Joy Reid lamented that black Americans have not received sufficient reparations for “literally, physically” building this country.

Ignoring for the moment all the Chinese workers who built the railroads and the (largely) White guys who built the skyscrapers… wait, skyscrapers?

You see, without the eeevil Whitey and his supremacist designs and engineering and stuff, we’d have ended up with, shall we say more modest structures:

Oh, I know:  this silly woman was talking about political “reparations” (I just couldn’t resist the opportunity for a cheap shot, shoot me).  Here’s the full excerpt, then:

MSNBC host Joy Reid lamented that black Americans have not received sufficient reparations for “literally, physically” building this country, believing that former President Barack Obama’s eight-year tenure is the best they will get.

Yeah I know, the jokes write themselves.  “Eight?  You mean twelve  and “If Obama was the best deal Blacks could get for themselves, y’all are in deep shit”, etc.

I would never have believed it, but I’m getting sicker of the race bullshit in the U.S. than I was of the race bullshit back in the old Racist Republic.

See, what people like Joy Reid need to do is to go and live in somewhere like South Africa forever for a couple of years, just to see how that “political reparations” thing is likely to work out.

Stupid bitch.

Shit Houses

…is the (bowdlerized) title of this badly-edited video, wherein some mouthy Brit shouts about crap architecture in an annoying whine, but whose script could have been written by me except I would have inserted more swear words.

And there’s a genuinely-terrifying moment at about 3:25 which will make you want to commit murders.

Right after that horror, there’s an annoying advertorial (hey, the guy has to pay the bills somehow), but you can fast-forward a couple-three minutes if you want.

Here’s another example of the kind of thing he’s talking about, and that I hate with a passion.

Never an errant hijacked airliner when you need one.

Cue The Dynamite

Here we go again, with some egotistical asshole disfiguring the world with his “art”:

Vincent Van Gogh loved the light in Provence so much that he moved to the southern French city of Arles in 1888 for one of the key years of his short life. So how fitting that a new building, which dazzlingly reflects that light, has made Arles a major centre of contemporary art. Called Luma, it is designed by Frank Gehry, famous for his Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, who took inspiration from Van Gogh’s famous painting The Starry Night.

Given that Bilbao’s Guggenheim looks like a giant burst carbuncle, we all know where this one’s going:

Even worse than this, of course, is that a group of Bilbao’s city “planners” looked at the drawings and model of this disgusting excresence and said (in Spanish):  “Oh wow!  This is just what we need to make our city look more artistic!”  and signed off on the hideous thing.

But returning to our story, here’s Arles, as seen by Van Gogh:

And this maniac’s vision for Arles?

And it’s quite a sight: a ten-storey tower made of 11,000 twisted stainless steel panels, glass and concrete dominating a huge £150 million ‘creative campus’ on the site of a former railway yard.

They should have kept the railway yard.  From the genius himself:

Gehry says his Luma design was influenced not only by Van Gogh’s The Starry Night but by Arles’ Unesco-listed Roman heritage as well.

Yeah, nothing says “Roman” like twisted steel and glass.

If this distorted dildo had been around in Van Gogh’s time, we’d at least have one good reason why he cut his ear off.  In fact, he could have cut his eyes out, just to avoid looking at it.

And if Starry Night  makes you think of things like this, you need a psychiatrist more than Vincent ever did.

Unwanted Feature

Here’s another thing about this so-called “Modern Lifestyle” that is a stone in my soul’s shoe:

A SUPERYACHT owned by a Russian tycoon boasting an eye-watering £61million price tag is set to be auctioned off after being seized.
The stunning 240ft vessel – named The Axioma – has a catalogue of bougie features including six decks, a pool with a swim-up bar and even a cinema.

What is it with having an in-home movie room these days?  You can’t open a real estate listing without seeing a windowless room with a giant screen and a few overstuffed easy chairs in it, and if I ever bought a house with such a “feature”, all that crap would be tossed out and replaced with something of redeeming social value — like a tasteful, fully-stocked bar — before the ink was dry on the closing documents.

Here is where I could hang out with a few friends, enjoy good fellowship, conversation and companionable drunkenness, all in a friendly setting.  Maybe a TV screen in the corner so we could catch a decent game or a Grand Prix maybe, but live sporting events are different from movies, as a moment’s thought will prove:   they are definitely group entertainment.

Movie houses are, almost by definition, not a place for gathering and social interaction.  Oh sure, you enjoy the movie “experience” together (not that too many modern movies actually provide much of an experience, don’t get me started), but that’s it.

“Oh, but Kim,”  I hear the cry, “it’s really a place for your teenage kids to hang out with their friends.”

Yeah, I really want my teenage daughter hanging out in a dark room with her testosterone-laden boyfriend, with the sound turned up loud lest parents actually hear what’s really going on in there.  Or if there’s a whole group of them, to be greeted by a sea of thrusting pimply adolescent backsides when I walk in the room.

Okay, enough of that.  Or if not a bar, then a gun room.  Yeah, a wall full of cabinets such as below, inside a securely-locked door and suitably-impregnable walls:

Add a decent cleaning station / workbench, and I think you can all see where I’m going with this one.

Of course, someone might say that this would not be a place where I could entertain my friends — but clearly, you don’t know my friends.

Whatever alternative use you can dream up for that room, you can be sure that you’d get more enjoyment out of it than can be had from a screening of Fast & Furious 207  or whatever other childish comic-book action comes out of Hollyweird.


This is my current screen backdrop.  It’s the Scottish town of Inverary, with its castle in the foreground. (right-click to embiggen)

It will come as some surprise, perhaps, to learn that because of the whole hereditary thing, some childlessness and tangled family trees, the current (and next) Duke of Argyll is South African.