The Kernel has found the only person in east London who hates Google Campus: our own social diarist, Stu Bradley.
I’ve finally been to Google Campus London for the first time. [We don't call him 'finger on the pulse' Bradley for nothing. Well, not for this. - Ed.] That’s right, they neglected to invite me to their opening party, so I didn’t get to see the rocket or the Glorious Cocaine Sandcastle.
So, first thing I hear is some lank-haired douchebag in a western shirt shouting “How is it?” down to his friend. His friend, another lank-haired douchebag in a western shirt, replies: “Beer’s expensive. No women!” (The beer was not expensive.) I die a little inside.
Maybe the beer was a bit expensive. Don’t even talk to me about the Red Bull. More expensive at Campus than on the average garage forecourt. As for the women thing, the crowd is actually about 20 per cent female. That Evening Standard article clearly made all the difference.
But these things are not the problem with Google Campus. See, when I think of Google, I think of the future. And when I think of the future, I think of Japan. Talking toilets. Neon shit. That Honda robot.
Google Campus is no Japan. In fact the whole place is like a gruesome hipster diner, a monument to a rose-tinted vision of the past. “Ooh look, an Optimus Prime head, awesome!” squeaks a hipster, who would have been about two years old when Transformers first came out. “Dude, look, the shelves are made out of bricks and planks from old crates, it reminds me of that club in Bristol, you know?”
Google Campus is like an entirely Instagrammed universe, everything immaculately put together in that “studied casual” way. It’s even true of the murals in the basement. Every vintage games console ever made is here somewhere, presumably so everyone present can say, “I totally had one of those as a kid!” (This is almost never true.)
I ask a few people how Campus is during the week. One entrepreneur says: “It can be kind of insular. People talk to each other, but only to people they already know. You couldn’t just approach a stranger down here.”
Somehow, I’m not surprised. Even the name, Campus, conjures up images of frat boys and bro cliques – douchebros, they call them in San Francisco – eyeing each other suspiciously at the student union. Except student unions serve spirits.
Before I leave, a ray of hope. As I open the door to the toilet cubicle, I hear an echoey voice say: “Oh, hello.” A talking toilet! Oh, Google, the future! It was here all along! Only, no. I’ve walked in on a heavy-set man taking a shit.
I don’t remember much after that. We went somewhere with spirits.