Tuesday, 18 November 2014

110 – The Final Post of Justin Lobbos – The End of an Era

Malvolio Claxendell, the new eminence gris of Gwair, stops at the Snatcher on the Wye, and has a drink with Justin Lobbos who explains the intricacies of the restrictive covenants that were applied to the Iatroclinic deeds. He grins as he admits to having originally penned them himself. Around the village the mood is optimistic. The festivals will continue, but the people will be consulted. Claxendell smiles as he trudges back to the Yifitsin Print Bookshop, now well-established as a hub of the community. Soon Samuel Quinine will wish to return to Hove with his entourage, and then perhaps things will have to change, but for now all is well.

Monday, 17 November 2014

109 – The Council Meets

Finally the parish council meets. Everyone is delighted with the idea of the village taking over the Iatroclinic, the strange building, with shiny blue windows.  But debate about the new-fangled cultural developments continues. The council must decide whether to formally allow the huge raft of festivals that has exploded over the last few months.The debate rages for seventeen minutes, until Kolya (who should be in bed) puts in a brief appearance. Everyone ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ as he recites some Oscar Wilde verses, and then a compromise is tabled by Abdul Hasib ibn Burd, the poet-philosopher. The Council itself will co-ordinate and oversee the Festival Programme. His proposal is overwhelmingly approved.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

108 – Consipriation

Although both T.E.A.Barrie and (for different reasons) Emile Kirsipuu, the surrealist architect, are contesting the requisition of the Iatroclinic, when the Parish Council checks out the deeds of the land involved, the lawyers discover an unusual restrictive covenant that confers on the parish council the overriding ‘consipriation’ to agree any building, or change in usage or ownership. In effect this means that neither Barrie nor Kirsipuu have any right to the land or property. The council still has to make a reasonable financial offer, but that offer has to be accepted by the other parties. The Iatroclinic is therefore declared a protected village facility (and secretly Kirsipuu is quite pleased).

Friday, 14 November 2014

107 – Waiting for Ambivalence

So the Gwair Architecture Biennial ends on an uplifting note, and brings the current cycle of festivals to a close. But some less perspicacious voices in the community still agitate for no change. They want no more of these unholy celebrations of culture. Even Mrs. Hwybren Masterson still trembles when she recalls the conversation she had with Dame Katlyst Brough (emeritus chairman of the renowned publishing firm, Ducats and Winoth), and poor Myfanwy Detroit can't bring herself to mention the name of Melanie Grintclaw, the splenetic literary agent. But both ladies are ambivalent about the future, and opinion in Gwair is still divided. Crisp winter evenings arrive and everyone waits.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

106 – Polychrome Interlaced Spandrels

The shaming of the sham doctor puts a shadow over the Gwair Architectural Biennial, but spirits are lifted when Abdul Hasib ibn Burd offers to give a talk about the development of Abbasid architecture (roughly 750 and 945) primarily in its heartland of Mesopotamia. He explains that the Abbasids inherited Persian architectural traditions in Mesopotamia, but evolved distinctive styles of their own, particularly in decoration of their buildings. 9th century Abbasid architecture had foliate decorations on arches, pendant vaults, muqarnas vaults and polychrome interlaced spandrels that became identified as typical of "Islamic" architecture. The Abbasid continued to follow the Umayyad rectangular hypostyle plan with arcaded courtyards and covered prayer halls. 

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

105 – Wrackham’s Razor

Wrackham demands that Kirsipuu cuts the house to half its planned size, and his conflict with the village dissolves. But Kirsipuu’s other project, the Iatroclinic, remains controversial. The Parish Council debates giving its permission late into the evening, but towards midnight news arrives that a fraud enquiry has discovered that T.E.A.Barrie is no doctor. His finances are being investigated. When confronted with his misdeeds he has a (relatively mild) heart attack. However this swings the debate in a new direction. If the soi-disant doctor has to sell, the village might benefit. Perhaps the council can purchase the nearly completed edifice, and the residents will have a brand new medical facility. 

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

104 – The Red Doors of Progress

The Parish Council is deliberating. Since Malvolio Claxendell arrived in Gwair, this tiny previously obscure quarter of Hay-on-Wye has seen the unbridled proliferation of  festivals and esoteric culture. Dido Doolittle of Back Room books defends her rival. Little that has happened recently is Claxendell’s fault. Many others however are bewailing the day that the hordes from Hove arrived with their lavish cultural tastes. The Chairman highlights the economic benefit that the influx has had. ‘More has been gained than threatened’. However like old-timers anywhere the original residents resent ‘thems as paints their doors red’. A decision on giving permanent recognition to the festival cycle is postponed for a few days.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

103 - Rapid Thought Displacement Therapy

There are few self-promoters as brazen as Doctor T.E.A.Barrie, the Alternative Therapist who claims that Rapid Thought Displacement Therapy (his  bowlderised rebranding of Mindfulness) will effectively cure a wide range of physical disorders. The rarely offensive Abdul Hasib ibn Burd calls this Instant Quackery. Doctor Barrie's talk at today's session of the Gwair Architectural Biennial is entitled 'Plans for the Iatroclinic', about the new centre he is building. In effect however his spiel is a sales pitch for Rapid Thought Displacement Therapy. Unfortunately for Ernesto Wrackham, the 'good doctor' has also contracted Emile Kirsipuu to design the new treatment centre. Now both buildings will be tarred with the same brush.

Friday, 7 November 2014

102 - Kirsipuu's Masterpiece

Tom's meeting with Malvolio Claxendell is more fraught than the pleasant tea-time he spent at Shambhala with Samuel and his entourage. No doubt this is due to the tensions over the planned development known now as 'Kirsipuu's Folly'. Malvolio Claxendell is giving his strong support to Wrackham, and has agreed to give a talk at the Gwair Architectural Biennial. He is presenting a survey of subversive architecture, hoping that this will increase support for what he considers to be Kirsipuu's masterpiece. Tom agrees to listen to Claxendell's presentation, even though he knows full well that Claxendell's talks are generally the same whatever the advertised subject. This one is no exception.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

101 - The Life Journey

All is peaceful now at Shambhala. Sonia has returned to her international high life, and Rabbi Oud Ramonides is administering the necessary post Sonia soothing balm treatment. Samuel is ever-grateful, especially today, for his old friend Tom Purdue is due to visit, and he wants the vibes to be just right. Kolya has been rescued from his treatment plan, and Lustral is happily locked away from other people, in his library. Tom arrives full of news from the folk at Seven Dials, and describes his journey through the Wye Valley, an account so detailed that it is effectively the story of his journey through life. Leporello Swinson serves the tea.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

100 - Tattlin's Tower of the Third Internationale

Kirsipuu is used to rabid opposition to his designs, but Wrackham is besides himself. As a self-proclaimed 'Travel Ecologist' Wrackham believes that he inhabits the moral green highground, and cannot understand the logic of the arguments against him. The wiley Kirsipuu however comes up with a canny strategy. He suspends work to allow the opposition to hold an enquiry, and meanwhile establishes the Gwair Architectural Biennial, a festival of all things structural. The speed at which this is organised outfoxes the opposition, and already today Radio Four is covering the first session, a multimedia presentation on Tattlin's Tower of the Third Internationale, the 400 metre spiral with rotating glass chambers.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

99 - Spelt Bread

Through the shimmering dawn Abdul Hasib ibn Burd, the Lebanese Poet-Philosopher, sees a distant figure on the horizon.  It is Tom Purdue who has been following the Wye Valley Walk, and has climbed up to the Begwyns in search of a close-up view of the rare and elusive Montagu’s harrier (circus pygargus) which he managed to photograph from afar, having recognised its elegant flight. Lapricia Organdy, who is spending a few days with Hasib, ties up her unfortunate hound, Sennacherib, who tends not to appreciate strangers. By contrast Hasib’s flirtatious cat  has perfect manners. Lapricia and Hasib welcome Tom with a glass of wine and a loaf of spelt bread.