Lucy Vickery

Spectator competition: buildings to love and hate (plus: rapping poet laureates)

Buildings can provoke strong reactions and the call for poems in praise or dispraise of a well-known one produced a satisfyingly robust entry. Frank McDonald took me at my word and submitted an actual concrete poem (not one made of concrete, but one in which, to quote Wikipedia, ‘the typographical arrangement of words is as important in conveying the intended effect as the conventional elements of the poem’. Mr McDonald and his fellow winners are rewarded with £25 each and this week’s bonus fiver goes to Brian Allgar for a double dactylic diatribe that would have pleased Guy de Maupassant. Maupassant hated the Eiffel Tower — ‘this tall, skinny pyramid of iron ladders, this giant and disgraceful skeleton’ — so much that he often sought refuge from it by eating lunch in its restaurant, which he said was the only place he couldn’t see it from.

Brian Allgar Gallical-phallical; Eiffel erected a Skyful of girders that’s French as a bean.

Typical architect’s Megalomania Boastful, priapic, and Rather obscene.

Tourist or resident, If you’re like me, and you Can’t stand the sight of this Clunky machine,

Climb to the top — it’s the One place in Paris where Eiffel’s monstrosity Cannot be seen.

Bill Greenwell I met a chap the other night Who wore his vest outside his shirt; I met his sister. She was tight. She wore her drawers outside her skirt.

And they reminded me of you, Your strange, external service pipes, Your architecture all askew — So, one of the bohemian types,

Was it, conjured your design? How dull! One of nature’s foolish bodgers, Who wore his brains outside his skull? I should have known it. Richard Rogers.

Your Quadro-tubes, from blue to red, Would make a toddler flush with pride: They hide a cuboid, drab and dead.

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