He pauses, furrows his brow, and looks down at my notepad.
"Would you," I suggest, "like to say 'vibrancy' one more time?"
"Oh dear," replies the man. "I'm new to this. Did I say 'vibrancy' too often?" And during the remainder of the evening, he sidles up to me a few times - slightly nervously - and shouts over the vibrant jazz band in the corner: "When you come to write your article, if it looks as if I've said 'vibrancy' too much, if it seems in any way... annoying... will you take out a couple of them?"
"Okay," I agree. And I do. He said 'vibrancy' at least three more times, but I took them out.
The York Central developers have taken a big gamble tonight launching their architecturally stunning (albeit rather Eighties) penthouse loft development in Kings Cross with a glamorous showbiz party full of "style gurus", famous hairdressers, wildly well-dressed architects and the like. The invitation itself was so aesthetically vibrant it could have been a ticket to the MTV party. The plethora of blue spotlights lighting up the building mingle nervously with the somewhat less vibrant red lights that permeate the rest of the Kings Cross region.
Obstreperous couples in shiny black PVC trousers and David Bowie haircuts yell clever and deep observations at each other over smoked salmon canapes and cranberry juice.
"Minimalist," they yell. "Urban alienation. The allure of the industrial landscape." And so on. "Jesus," I hear one woman mutter to her partner. "I'm not going to live here. This is what our neighbours will be like. I won't be able to go to the shops without having to discuss Richard bloody Rogers for hours in the corridor."
Outside, a bunch of dodgy hookers and crack addicts huddle in the shadows, eyeing us with ill-disguised loathing as we wander inwards like a military coup by the liberal bourgeouisie. When you attempt en masse to transform a well-established inner-city ghetto into the set of a Mickey Rourke movie, Philippe Starck armchairs and Shiro Kuramata lighting become more than luxuries. They become weaponry. Tonight's unspoken belief is that if enough Richard Sapper kitchenware gets installed, perhaps we cosmopolitans can marginalise the drunks and the crack addicts, sweep them up and dump them somewhere more fittingly concrete such as Dalston. That's the plan.
And believe me, there's nothing more off-putting than discussing Urban Alienation while some ragged alcoholic ex-construction manager clutching a batch of the Big Issue vociferously reminds you that not everybody survived the recession as successfully as you did. Consequently, there is an intensity in the air tonight. Folk here aren't simply partying, They're re-grouping and re-fortifying.
"I'm a little worried," says a man in a long fake fur coat "about all the homeless people and criminals. Won't they break in?"
"Of course not," replies the man from York Central. "Security will be formidable." He pauses. "And, of course, our architects will favour a minimalist interior design, so even if they do break in, there won't be much to steal." There is a long silence.
"Just joking," says the man, slightly nervously.Reuse content