So, what would you burn?

When fire swept through an east London warehouse in May, it turned art into ash. Some mourned the lo

Bonnie Greer, Playwright
I would set fire to the statue of Queen Vic outside Buck House. It makes the Mall look like a parade ground somewhere in the Austro-Hungarian empire. You half expect Franz Joseph to come riding out complete with plumed soldiers and big fat women in Viennese ballgowns. Also Admiralty Arch. Dreadful waste. Use it or lose it. And the Queen Mother's Gates - which goes without saying. Not good enough to be bad, just the worst kind of kitsch. Oh, and anything Rolf Harris has painted that may be on public display. Send it to the fire.

Hanif Kureishi, Writer
I'd burn anything written by Jeffrey Archer. He doesn't deserve to be published.

Lauren Laverne, Xfm DJ
I'm not usually the burning type, but if it would preserve us from the subsequent 40 years of aesthetic misery, I would go back to the 1970s and burn the original tracksuit. It's ironic that we're now so obese as a nation that all most of us can don is sportswear; if we hadn't had recourse to the elasticated waist, perhaps things wouldn't have got so bad. Plus the thing would go up like a Roman candle - whoomph!

Dom Joly, Comedian
If I could be a cultural arsonist for a day, I would head straight for Charles Saatchi's house laden with Molotov cocktails. I have no particular beef with him personally, but I find that his recent abandonment of the very artists he'd lauded so highly sums up the general bollocks that is the art world and patronage in general. I would also get great satisfaction, as I hurled the first bottle, from the thought that I might be disposing of all Nigella Lawson's hideously innuendo-laden cookery projects as a bonus. Happy fucking Christmas, keep the home fires burning.

Kathy Lette, Writer
I like innovative architecture - the fabulously phallic Gherkin, the detumesced testicle of the mayor's office (could do with a little architectural Viagra, perhaps). Richard Rogers is in my Creative Talent Top Ten. So I certainly don't suffer from an edifice complex! But the dreaded Dome was a disastrous idea from start to finish. It has no shape. It looks exactly like a giant diaphragm - Elizabeth Taylor's, perhaps? If Mama Cass were still alive, she'd insert it. The only way to redeem the Dome is to make it into pop art by adding a giant sculpture of a tube of spermicide next to it. It is certainly not much of an "artistic concept" as it is. At least then it could work as an artistic contraceptive.

Matthew Sturgis, Art historian
The Italian futurists thought it was not bad art that needed destroying so much as "great art". The glories of the Renaissance had, they believed, held back creative endeavour by making everything else seem puny in comparison. Their plans to bomb Venice were never realised, and we have had to put up with a lot of self-referential postmodern irony as a result. But then we do still have Venice. I would be happy to see the innocuous Diana Memorial Fountain go up in flames - to reclaim some precious open space and to give us a proper "River of Fire" after the millennial disappointment.

Stephen Bayley, Design guru
I have always been very taken by Jean Cocteau's answer to the question "What would you save if your house was burning down?" He said: "The fire." I rather feel this about The Arts with a capital "T" and a capital "A". It's a matter of reaching not so much for my gun as for my box of matches and a can of lighter fuel. As soon as someone attempts to capture the fugitive essence of art and make it institutionalised, it wriggles and escapes. Authentic art is contrarian, abrasive, awkward. It does not fit on the arts pages. I'd be happy to torch anything that does.

Jan Morris, Writer
I don't want to burn anything, but there are some works of art that I wish had never been created, and one of these is Frank Gehry's Guggenheim Museum at Bilbao. That I dislike this architect's much-admired style is beside my point: what I resent is the influence of his most iconic building on practitioners all over the place - the billowing bulbous forms, the jumbled confusion of everything, the deliberate devices of shock and awe. Architects in general strike me as pathetically derivative, and conformity to this particular genius seems to me disastrous.

Ian Jack, Granta editor
The baseball cap, when being worn by anyone other than baseball players, playing baseball.

Roger Scruton, Philosopher
Without doubt the most criminal cultural artefact of our time is the Centre Beaubourg in Paris, the vast array of steel pipes, tensor cables, glass and concrete built by Piano and Rogers in order to deconstruct the heart of Europe's greatest city. Civilised streets, rooted communities and the humane stone facades of the Marais were all, at the behest of an egomaniac president and his two egomaniac architects, swept away, and in their place came a hideous playground designed to sneer at its surroundings and undo all sense of harmony. Everything that happens in the building continues its destructive agenda - from the postmodern drivel in its exhibition spaces to the tuneless noises of Ircam in the basement. A monument to the official culture of our time, which ought to be blown up along with all those who had a hand in perpetrating it.

Fay Weldon, Writer
To burn them would be an ecological disaster, so a magnetic pulse to burn out every television set in the country, please. (We can keep the DVDs.) The world before TV was a friendlier place. People were obliged to talk to one another. They left their homes in the evenings to go to the cinema and theatre and visit friends and grannies. It was possible to take politicians and politics seriously because you couldn't see them. Sex was sacred, not the subject of an ongoing peep-show. Fifty years of TV and we end up with I'm a Celebrity. An experiment that failed. Face it.

Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, Designer
I've got a horrible feeling that the London mayor's office wouldn't burn. In fact, at the risk of imminent arrest for arson, I should at this stage admit to having tried. It ruins the Tower of London, which is quite a feat considering how organic and easygoing the Tower's shambolic skyline is. It looks like an explosion in a children's party entertainer's trousers, with plates and strings of flags from all nations colliding upwards and outwards.

Ian Rankin, Crime writer
At university, Ezra Pound's Cantos was required reading. I soon found the book to contain hundreds of pages of gibberish, quite a lot of it in languages I didn't understand (Greek, Latin, Gibbery), and sometimes concerning historical figures and events beyond my teenage ken. I retreated to my old high school, where my Latin teacher did his best to help. He told me Pound wrote the collection while undergoing treatment in an asylum. I could only assume the publisher published it in a similar situation. To add insult to injury, my tutor then mentioned the book only fleetingly, concentrating on early Pound. I wasted weeks trying to engage with the mind of an overrated, anti-Semitic lunatic.

Andrew Martin, Writer
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, air travel was extremely glamorous. Hence a quiz show called The Sky's the Limit (1971). Hence also Euston Station (1968), which resembles an airport terminal. Apparently, the old Euston Station was a bit of a mess, but it did incorporate the propylaeum, or arch, and the Great Hall. There was a big outcry against their destruction, but this was ignored and everybody's had a miserable time ever since in the dingy, grey, horizontal nothingness of the new Euston.

Alice Rawsthorn, Design Museum director
Loath though I am to wimp out on this, I couldn't justify burning anything. That said, if I could confine my answer to what I think has done most damage culturally, I'd go for David Watkin's 1977 book Morality and Architecture. By urging architects to abandon rather than reinvigorate modernism, Watkin opened the floodgates to all the naff, blonde-brick po-mo buildings that now litter Britain.

John Sutherland, Writer
What listed building would I torch? Easy. That monument to 1960s greed and brutal design which still casts its 21st-century blight over London's Seven Dials and Soho: Centre Point. The building's 35 stories have (scandalously) never been more than partially occupied. It's the Miss Havisham of skyscrapers. Designed by Richard Seifert (may he reincarnate as one of the junkies who live at its base), Centre Point was a money machine for the developer Harry Hyams, who cannily realised the building would yield more (vacant) as loan collateral than in rent. Four hundred feet of futility. Come back, Luftwaffe, for one more raid.