• You probably know this by now, but this year is Viagra’s 10 year anniversary – so be on the lookout for some interesting marketing ploys. I hear they are throwing a party – which I’d love to attend, except I don’t do those open air bath tubs – and I like a party to last more than four hours.

    But despite appearances to the contrary, Pfizer has not claimed responsibility for this proposed tower of Babel wannabe. This concrete Stairway to Allah comes to you courtesy of 51-year-old Prince al-Walid bin Talal (who bought the London Savoy for £1.25 billion in 2005).

    Here’s a photo of the handsome devil. Am I crazy, or is this really Mr. Bean in drag?

    Experts report that the technical challenges of constructing a building like this are enormous. No kidding. Much of the lifting will be carried out by helicopters, which will also be used as commuter transport for the builders.

    A tower like this would also have to be capable of withstanding a wide range of temperatures, with its top baking in the desert sun by day and dropping to a brass-monkey’s nightmare of minus 40-50 degrees at night.

    To resist the strong winds prevalent in the area and stop it from swaying more than it must, it will be fitted with a giant, computer-operated damper in an attempt to prevent office workers suffering from a bizzare sort of high-rise sea-sickness (“Prince Talal? Yes, I’ll put you through now… May I place you on hold briefly? I have to puke into my hand for a moment… sorry about that – I’m on the 271st floor”)

    At 5,250ft, the 160 storey, £5 billion project, masterminded by two British engineering consultancies, is expected to be twice as high as its nearest rivals, skyscrapers under construction in Dubai and Kuwait.

    So the sooner we have a workable replacement for the internal combustion engine, the better. If something like this ever sees the light of day (unlikely) it would be an extravagant, hugely expensive and utterly pointless status symbol in a country with so much land they should never have to go vertical. And after 9/11, this air traffic control nightmare would deliver a firm slap in the face to Americans from Saudi-based Kingdom Holdings. Or perhaps this is just some sort of sick aviation come-on?

    Anyway, if you really want to know why gas prices are so high, maybe it’s because our need for foreign oil would help to fund this ego-maniacal, 5 billion dollar bragging rights indulgence. On the plus side, it does promise to bring a means of joining the Mile High Club that doesn’t involve being chaffed by a dirty 747 bathroom faucet.

    ronald mcdonaldBy the way, I think the last time I saw the number 5 billion was on a self-congratulatory billboard outside McDonalds: “Over 5 billion sold.” Co-incidence? Call me a conspiracy theorist, but maybe at the top of this silly penile substitute, instead of the usual boring, revolving- restaurant-thing, there will be an enormous, grinning, red-headed clown.

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