Hubs, spaces and other Grand Designs
I was watching a Grand Designs episode here the other night; I’d give you a link, but telly these days repeats everything ad infinitum et nauseam – so sooner or later it’ll appear on a screen near you. The programme filled me with apprehension, disbelief and admiration at one and the same time.
The apprehension began when I learned that the unlucky couple doomed to be both damned and then flattered by presenter Kevin McCloud had decided to restore an old wreck in Italy, that their budget was £25,000, and that £9,000 had already fallen into the bottomless pit known as the Italian Black Hole of Retro Planning permission. The corruption in Italy is historic in every sense of the word: only a masochistic Italophile would attempt such a project. Scheduled to last four months, the project was revisited by McCloud four years later….and was still incomplete.
Apprehension turned to disbelief when I realised these two artists were going to do all the work themselves….and it really involved turning some ruins into an eight-bedroom holiday complex as well as their own living space. But – given my own experience of this kind of nightmare – they had the good fortune and commonsense to have made one terrific decision: yes, the very one upon which my disbelief was based, doing it all themselves.
The admiration came during the revisit sequel. The project might have been “unfinished”, but it didn’t look like that to me: the practicality, beauty, creativity and sheer scale of what they’d achieved was mind-blowing. Beautiful walkways, shade-offering colonnades, superb garden planning, delightful artistic work in the local styles….and views almost beyond compare.
Now, I may have planned, overseen and even done some of the work here myself, but in truth 95% of the hassle came from the incompetence of materials suppliers, hopelessly optimistic budgets, and poor workmanship from artisans. With the exception of three Brits, two Frenchman and one Arab, everything done turned into a ballsup that involved more expenditure….and months spent living with fires, drainage, wiring, plumbing, central heating, ovens, spiral staircases, Veluxes, emersion heaters, showers, taps, insulation and flooring that were unfit for purpose, badly installed or simply never finished.
Of course, in going through all this I met some wonderful people and – in the end – gained enormous self-esteem from having got through it all with the result, on the whole, that I’d envisaged at the outset. But such exceptional people aside, as with almost everything else on the planet now, the single most fury-inducing aspect was overpromise….that, and the default position for suppliers everywhere: if in doubt, blame the client.
From time to time, you may have (like me) wondered what connects all those spaces that young professionals drivel on about in the 21st century. I can tell you now that the answer is hubs.
During my pre and early pubescence, hubs were things to do with the gear levers on bicycles. When girls were around, I would confidently point at a rubber-covered thing on the rear wheel of my bike and say “That’s a hub”, although I had no idea what it was or what function it performed. Equally, I had no idea what other rubber-covered things had to do with contraception; but whereas I remained silent on such subjects, I was quite happy to bullshit on the subject of bike hubs.
So it is with those who work in today’s financial markets, except that on the whole they’re aged around thirty rather than ten. While they did, I’m sure, know far more about The Facts of Life at ten than I did, they are bullshitting at three times the rate about spatial hubs at thirty than I did about bicycle hubs aged ten. And let’s be clear about this, there is rather more money at stake when it comes to their hubullshit now versus mine then.
Anyway, in 2016 a hub is something that connects two spaces. Thus, the hub that joins the automotive space with the energy space is the oil business. Now, I could write that fact thus: without oil refined into petrol, cars won’t work. But doing so would make me appear to be both simplistic and simple-minded. And that’s an image of no use to me if I’m trying to break into the lucrative Wall Street space. On the contrary, I would be well-advised to opine as follows during an interview with J P Morgan’s HR space:
“The oil business hub has traditionally powered the US successful Presidential election campaign space by temporarily ensuring that the chrysalis of oil turns into the sort of petrol butterfly that enables the human automotive vehicular guidance system to propel itself at minimal cost from the Home space to the Mall Space and back again, and then prepare the nutrition for human consumption in the dinner party space where the male recipient of guests can bore for California about the importance of reducing CO2 emissions in the global space. Of course, this raises the question as to whether the oil business is every bit as much a space as a hub, given that in the Texas space – and even the fracking space – the hub construct could produce the sort of hubble, bubble and trouble that might one day blow us all into outer space. But on the whole I intend to restrict such discussion to my own personal space”.
The nutshell of that paragraph is “No President in modern American history got elected with high gas prices at the pumps”.
Hubs and spaces are not required for straightforward communication in English. They must be ruthlessly eradicated with all speed. And on no account should Ruth be allowed anywhere near the project.