Forget the Heathrow hippies; I seem to have infiltrated a table full of hardcore revolutionaries. Well, kind of.
Ed once joined a Countryside Alliance protest and Kailas marched for the National Socialist party when he was 16.
“I joined because a nice man canvassed me outside the library,” says Kailas. “But my parents made me quit. They were pro-violence, anti-government. In fact, they were pretty much anti-everything.” He laughs into his beer, then throws me a side glance. “I wouldn’t do it again.”
Ed’s still proud of his activist antics, though. “I’ve got a lot of farmer friends and I don’t like it how the townies and the liberals try to tell country folk what to do.
“What made me most angry was that it’s such a small issue. It’s one fox getting killed in about a year. What about schools?”
That’s what I call passion. Pretty impressive for a commercial architecture firm. Then again, if you frequent the bohemian bars of Shoreditch, you are obliged to show you care about “the issues”.
And Ed’s not just into rural affairs. He leads an environmentalist group at the firm that wants to recycle buildings. They could probably show last week’s airport Swampies a thing or two. “Our aim is to recycle as much of the building as possible when it’s being demolished,” says Kailas.
Meanwhile, Louise is trying to do her bit on carbon emissions.
“I went to Corsica on holiday by train and boat this year. The emissions from a train are just a 10th of those from a plane.”
But what do they think about people trying to bully the nation into their way of thinking?
“The protesters mean well and they obviously have a passion for it,” says Louise. “But there’s always those who push it too far.”
“But what can we do about it?” Matthew rages. “When was the last time I got on a plane? Five years ago.”
“Why’s that? You can’t afford it?” someone interjects.
“No, it’s because I’m always working here,” he retorts.
The revolutionaries are locking horns. I buy another round and Ed tries to move on the conversation. “Most people think on a selfish basis,” he says. “We’ve got to have laws to make them do things.”
Kailas disagrees: “We’ll do it anyway because saving the environment is selfish – it’s for our kids.”
“Inheritance tax will leave them with nothing,” groans Matthew. “All they’ll have left is the house and that’ll float away when the sea levels rise.”
It’s all getting too much.
Matthew and I step outside for a smoke. Both of us are relieved. It was enough revolutionising for one day.
Kailas Moorthy associate architect
Ed Hoskin project architect
Louise Halpern project architect
Matthew Shepherd architectural assistant
Eleanor Harding Building magazine
Chosen watering hole: Cafe Kick, Shoreditch High Street, east London
Ambience: Colourful Mediterranean bar with football tables
Topic: Townies vs country folk, planes vs trains and Heathrow hippies vs the world
Drinks: 8 bottles of Sagres beer