Sunday 4 August 2013


Every Friday the Globe & Mail carries a real estate section. So I decided to study the 1 August issue to learn the secrets of contemporary architecture. I and the bank co-own an old house, a place real estate agents call lived in, and not in a good sense. So maybe it’s time to do a reno or at least learn the lingo that goes with it.  What’s hot today?

First of all, right angles and straight lines. Oh. I thought that was part of Architecture 101. At least in the real world. The stage is different of course. I once saw The Tales of Hoffmann performed on a slanted stage. I totally missed out on the music, as I waited for the performers to slide into the orchestra pit, but they hung in. And now I read in the NYer (5 August) that the play Our Late Night calls for a living room set that looks like it might tip over.  Apparently the playwright, Wallace Shawn, wants us to give up certain comforts such as recognizable feelings and sights.

Okay, maybe that works for the stage, but in real life, if a place is out of plumb and has slanting floors and crooked walls, it’s just plain lived in. No, wait, my real estate parlance is out of date. According to the Globe, if a house is no longer an angular presence on the land, it’s called bruised.

Of course some people like a touch of drama in their lives. They don’t mind a slightly goofy piece of massing. Not sure what that means. Is it a synonym of bruised? Would it look like the Monde Condos, which resemble a snub-nosed wedge of cheese? Or would it just be really big, so big it feels like making a trek through an airport?

In any case, you want the interior of your house to look sophisticated. How can you tell it’s sophisticated? Simple, if you read the Globe: Because it’s imported. Okay, so as long as we stay away from the cheap Canadian stuff, we are safe.

There is another article in the Globe with the heading Euclidean geometry. That’s what I want in my house: EG. If you have Euclidean Geometry, the sun’s rays won’t go straight as in boring old non-EG houses. They’ll cascade in. And the noise won’t reverberate down the staircase, as it might in tired and dated non-EG homes.

You also want to make sure the behaviour in your neighbourhood is decent. Some streets, according to the Globe, are cohabited by residential and commercial properties and, worse, people hang out back on the laneway. That sounds very disorderly to me. It’s probably the kind of neighbourhood where they sell crack videos of Mayor Ford.

Maybe I should forget about real houses altogether and invest my money in a painting of a house, like the one Ron Flarity bought on eBay for 500 dollars (Globe, 3 August). He hopes to sell it for a few million dollars as soon as he has established that it is the work of famed American painter Edward Hopper. It’s a modest clapboard house, but it comes with two women (one naked) and a frisky dog. One thing that makes me uneasy, though, is the signature, which looks like Edward Hoprer. I’m forgetful myself, but so far I’ve always managed to remember the spelling of my name. My credit card signature may look a little wobbly after a few drinks, you might even call it bruised, but it still reads Rummel and not Rumpel or some such.

Hmm. Wonder if I could sell my novels for a few million dollars if I signed them Rumpel.  


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