Architects gathered at Farringdon, east London, last Friday to witness Architecture Rocks, the climax of the London biennale. Three groups of architects took to the stage – solid rockers Cheeseburger, sonic sculptors Fat Midget and Roger (in real life, a Finnish student from Manchester called Teemu). By common consent, Roger was the most impressive as he was without one half of his band, about to get a record deal, played five instruments and sounded like New Order. One member of a certain design-related quango wasn't feeling the vibes, however – when asked which was the best, he replied "the DJ".
A word about Fat Midget, in passing. Building managed to slip in among the swarms of groupies to conduct a post-gig interview with Nick Clear, lead "singer" with said combo, in which he explained his band's idiosyncratic sound. "It's basically a combination of Marxism and situationism. It's all about alienation and distortion." Given that Fat Midget consisted of one hirsute gentleman with a slide guitar and Mr Clear shouting into a walkietalkie, this may be a fair appraisal. A straw poll later confirmed that the assembled masses were, indeed, alienated.
Swaying hearts and minds
News reaches me that Harriett Hindmarsh, Arup's sultana of spin, is off to mould men's souls at Sheppard Robson. In case you don't know, she was the PR brains behind turning Arup from "the one that designed the wobbly bridge" to the pioneering genius that discovered an important engineering principle – when a bridge sways from side to side, people fall into step, which makes the sway worse – and then found a solution to it. So does this appointment mean Sheppard Robson are bidding for bridge work, I wonder?
Keeping things interesting
So well done to the Greeks. Not just for beating the French in Euro 2004, but for getting the Olympics up and running. Our coverage last week showed that things are just about complete. This was confirmed by The Sun of all papers, which was particularly taken with the velodrome. I hear there is a problem with one of the other facilities, though. Apparently the Greeks laid the wrong turf on the hockey pitch and are now frantically trying to replace it.
People: What are they like?
Architecture Week 2004 was to have ended with the proclamation that the British public was staunchly behind the creation of visionary modern architecture. Or at least, that was what Chetwood Associates hoped for when it commissioned a MORI poll of 2000 people. Sadly, a feeble 23% of respondents disagreed with the statement "I don't like modern architecture" and 38% agreed with it. Two regions turned out to favour modern architects – London, and of course Wales. And the region most emphatically against modern architecture? Er, the North-east, home to a great deal of it in the past five years.
Just one tiny change
An eagle-eyed Hansom reader has spotted an attractive job advert on English Partnerships' website. The post is a programme co-ordinator for the millennium village at Allerton Bywater. The salary is cited as £284,000. Unfortunately when you click on the ad, it offers the relatively paltry sum of £28,400. Shame.