Building caught up with RSHP over a few Asahis to discuss rabbits, bad sandwiches and Olympic ceremonies
Tonight’s libations are taking place in a quiet corner of Fitzrovia just days after the Olympic opening ceremony and the group is keen to have its say. “Great,” ventures Mark to get the ball rolling, “some odd bits - the NHS sequence - but all in all pretty impressive.” Prior to Andy’s arrival, the quintet murmurs its agreement. Highlights emerge as Her Majesty’s impromptu acting debut, Mr Bean’s impresario turn and Beckham’s souped-up “consolation” speedboat.
Eager to steer the evening onto more contentious lines, the opinion of our two non-English guests is sought. “Very British” reflects Dirk, a German, “quirky and individualistic, very different to Beijing.” Amy, an Australian was also a big fan and invites the group’s recollections of the Sydney 2000 opening ceremony. (As this is taking place before Team GB’s trouncing of Australia in the medals table, we oblige.) “I remember Cathy Freeman carrying the torch” ponders Mark “and didn’t something break?” Antipodean sporting prowess? Different games. “The switch to light the cauldron” Amy reminds us.
Olympic banter continues with an acknowledgement of the melodic brilliance of the French national anthem
A previously pensive Simon utters a single, devastating word: “rabbits”. Then equally impenetrable “myxomatosis”. Simon is apparently a man of few words. Mercifully, Amy catches on first. “There was something about rabbits at the Sydney opening ceremony wasn’t there? And Australia introduced the myxomatosis virus in the fifties to control the rabbit population.” Satisfied, Simon nods, noiselessly.
The Olympic banter continues with a reluctant acknowledgement of the melodic brilliance of the French national anthem, discussion on who would win a judo bout between Putin and Cameron (Nick Clegg) and furtive speculation on the curious genetic alignment that presumably endowed Claire Balding with intimate knowledge of every sport. A brief note of conflict is ignited by disagreement over the identity of Britain’s Greatest Ever Olympian; Mark’s deployment of Google Mobile assures us that it isn’t Peter Kay.
Andy’s arrival and the advancing hours move the conversation onto to more raucous topics. “Do you remember that office trip to Seville?” Collective merriment ensues, although Mark becomes strangely subdued. “And Mark’s club sandwich incident?” Guffaws of laughter. Apparently, upon requesting a club sandwich from hotel reception at a particularly late hour, Mark was presented with what he claims was a deficient article. He then stalked indignantly back to a stunned front desk where he deposited the offending victuals and parted with the stinging admonishment “that is not a club sandwich, that is a ham sandwich sprinkled with crisps.”
Why this level of gastronomic specification? Apparently, a penitent Mark informs us, it was all down to a friend at university. “He always said the sign of a quality hotel was you ringing down to reception at any hour, asking if it was still possible to get some food and then being reassured that ‘sir, it’s never too late for a club sandwich’ “.
Chosen watering hole: Jetlag Sports Bar, Fitzrovia, London
Topics: Olympics, rabbits, sandwiches
Drinks drunk: Asahi, crisps
Who was there:
Mark Gorton architect
Dirk Krolikowski associate
Amy Learmonth assistant architect
Simon Tonks architect
Andy Young associate partner
Ike Ijeh architecture editor, Building