Is Brad Pitt studying acting rather than architecture with his mentor Frank Gehry? Bitchy rumours in the architectural world claim that the Hollywood star was 'deeply impressed' with Frank's ability to act the architect since way before he accidentally fried the neighbours with his Walt Disney concert hall routine. Related rumours allege that Brad is searching for a home-from-home in England and that as a design nut he would obviously prefer to assemble his own. So it would seem plausible to address future requests for an audience with the actor to the luxury penthouse that Frank (let's stick to first names, man-to-man, shirtsleeves rolled up, pencil and laptop within easy reach, right?) has asked Brad to help design at Hove as part of the ¬£250 million King Alfred seafront project.
Hove? It's a town usually caricatured as liberal Brighton's rich and repressed neighbour, a comfort zone stuccoed with a very English kind of suburban seaside hypocrisy, where dessicated spinsters loaded on painkillers complain about the dope fiends sat outside of their banks, where retired colonels bemoan society's lack of discipline in between clandestine visits to their local dungeon, blah blah blah.
As the autocad avant-garde manqu?© soon discovered, Hove is not a natural neighbourhood for the construction of crazy-ass shapes in a low-level skyline overlooking such everyday geometries as the round pebbles and flatlining waves of the blue-grey Channel. Frank's controversial design for the project was initially based around four towers meant to resemble crumpled Victorian dresses. While critics queued up to characterize the complex as resembling 'transvestites caught in a gale' or 'looking like something from Noddyland', complaints from local residents managed to reduce the intended height and halve the number of towers.
Now Frank has reportedly drafted Brad in for penthouse and restaurant duty. Could this be a cynical bid to sweeten the protesting locals? Probably not. Frank's so busy he needs help from whoever shows up. It's not just architecture and cardboard chairs either. Tiffany have recently asked him to create six exclusive ranges of jewellery. Frank's too late to enlist Audrey Hepburn or George Peppard but Hollywood insiders reckon Mickey Rooney is still available. Maybe he could put on a Japanese accent and source Frank some non-Euclidean diamonds.
Henderson Downing has written for various literary journals and small press magazines, he lives in London
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