No stretch of virgin water is safe when Boris Johnson wants to cross it

Figcaption No Stretch Of Virgin Water Is Safe When Boris Johnson Wants To Cross It
Posted at: Author: Rain TV UK

B eware the combination of Boris Johnson, significant bodies of water, and expensive engineering. He seems to find something so inflaming about a virgin stretch of river or sea that he has to transfix it with steel and concrete. As mayor of London, he backed a barely-used cable car over the Thames, the notorious failure of the garden bridge and “Boris Island”, which was an abandoned plan to relocate London’s main airport to the Thames estuary. Now he’s pushing the “Boris burrow”, a tunnel connecting Scotland to Northern Ireland. This, to paraphrase the Daily Telegraph’s report on the project, would be one in the eye for the meddling Brussels bureaucrats who have imposed checks on trade across the Irish Sea.

The head spins at the inanity of this idea, that the best way to address a botched trade deal is to tip billions of pounds into a hole in the ground, one on which those cunning Eurocrats could presumably also impose checks. And which would look like a foolish call on the United Kingdom’s exchequer should Scotland become independent. The great architect Cedric Price was fond of pointing out – contrary to the assumption of many of his peers – that building something was not always a necessary or useful response to problems in life. His ghost should have a word with the prime minister.

How’s it look to you?

An artist’s rendering of the proposed Amazon HQ in Virginia, which has been likened to a poo emoji. Photograph: AP

Much hilarity that Amazon is planning a new headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, that looks like a poo emoji. My friend the bass player points out that it is in elite company, along with a vulva-shaped World Cup stadium in Qatar and twin towers in Seoul whose bursting forms can only make you think of 9/11. One can only imagine the meetings at which these inadvertent symbols are signed off, in which no one in the room wants to be the one who states the obvious. “But, Emir/Mr Bezos, doesn’t it remind you of something?” Perhaps because the wrong response from the mighty one – “no, never seen anything like it, what does it look like to you?” – could be career-ending for the questioner.

Trouble up tower

432 Park Avenue: too thin and too tall? Photograph: Stephen Lovekin/REX/Shutterstock

In other schadenfreude news, there’s been trouble up 432 Park Avenue, the tower in New York, which was the tallest residential building in the world when it opened in 2015. There are reports of lifts getting stuck during high winds and of disconcerting clicks, bangs and whistles coming from the structure. There have been leaks and a “catastrophic flood”. All of which could, according to unnamed engineers, be attributed to the difficulties of building a structure that is super-skinny as well as super-tall. Whatever the reason, it’s not really what you want when you’ve paid $90m (£64m) for three apartments combined into one, as one buyer did.

Cundy’s infamy aside...

There are lamentations in Belgravia over plans to demolish the Cundy Street flats, where in 1972 (we are coyly told) the future Duchess of Cornwall invited Prince Charles back for coffee in her apartment. It was also the place where Lady Penelope Cobham had “liaisons” with the Tory cabinet minister David Mellor. (He wore a Chelsea strip, it was rumoured.) Really, is nothing sacred? Is nothing to be spared from the developer’s wrecking ball? There’s actually a good reason to keep the Cundy Street flats, which is their rather graceful moderne-style design, but somehow that’s not getting into the public prints.

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