12 November, 2011
The fine example of Miesian tedium pictured below looks like a typical London office block.
Which is fair enough because that is exactly what it used to be. Then it was gutted and made over and became
But enough of my plebeian prejudices. The striking design extends to the admittedly unpromising exterior,
where there is absolutely no signage to identify the building. If you go round the back to the tradesmen's entrance you might find some or other tiny statutory notice which gives a clue to the building's purpose, but its public face is totally blank.
Obviously the management is making a statement. This place is exclusive. The expected and regular clientele will of course know it and will in any case arrive by chauffeured car or, at a pinch, black cab. The servant classes will of course know where it is through their own mysterious networks. Just as the UK has, quite naturally, the privilege of being the only member of the UPU which is not required to put its country name on its postage stamps, so the St Martin's is the kind of establishment which does not demean itself with vulgar public signage like some backstreet kebab house or workmen's canteen.
And so it was that I resolved not to co-operate with this arrogant nonsense. If they weren't prepared to advertise their presence in the conventional manner then I, despite my familiarity with the area, would affect not to know of it.
And then yesterday I was put to the test. An agitated middle-aged gentleman, displaying the beginnings of distress, asked me for directions. Upper middle class in accent and manner and exuding a relaxed patrician confidence that shone through his slightly dowdy dress, he was clearly a natural St Martin's Lane customer.
I have to admit that I laughed sardonically, almost evilly, at his predicament. Which did indeed disconcert him somewhat. But then my underlying all-round decency got the better of me and I pointed out to him the anonymous structure he sought.
As the great philosopher Snoopy once put it, "Yesterday I was a dog. Today I'm a dog. Tomorrow I'll still be a dog. There's so little hope for advancement".
Dont forget to sign the anti-immigration epetition:
The text of the petition is judiciously anodyne, as befits an ex-diplomat like Andrew Green, but the message is clear enough, as is the rate of signing.