The Right to Let Die
Ian Martin submits outline ideas for Blingnangstonbury
MONDAY Today I am huffily informing the world that if it doesn’t get a move on and provide the £463 million necessary to start work on my brilliant Allotment Bridge over the river Tame I will be forced to withdraw my design input.
I have already completed at least two days thinking/sketching time on this prestigious project, which would elevate Tamworth to the premiership league of world cities with things growing on bridges.
We can’t hang around for ever. Unless the world of world cities with things growing on bridges crowdfunds sharpish, I’m taking the Allotment Bridge somewhere it’s going to be appreciated, like Droitwich or Mumbai.
TUESDAY To a conference, Housing For Life And Death. The organisers have tried to keep it upbeat but there’s only so much you can do with a grim theme. Admittedly you can’t call a conference Disposing Of Unwanted Pensioners In A Humane Way.
Proceedings are conducted by a woman from ‘proud sponsors Living With Dignity Residential Logistics’. Pixie cut, radio mic, demeanour of a vet who’s telling you she’ll have to put your dog to sleep. She introduces a succession of sinister guest speakers who bring us up to date with recent developments.
First on is a thin American designer wearing a tortoiseshell Google Glass. She talks animatedly about data-assisted living and how humane environments can ‘smart-adapt’ to the occupant. Basically, old people are extracted from houses much too big for them and squeezed into ‘supergreen personalised caraspaces’. Hundreds of caraspaces can be ‘con-modulated into beehives of collective care with off-site supervision’. The deterioration of caraspace and old person is synced via the internet; when they pass away the unit can be composted with them inside and simply replaced with another.
Next is a tanned consultant who’d struggle to get served in a pub. He outlines a forthcoming government initiative, Right To Let Die. This will encourage the release of valuable habitable space by offering cash grants to lone pensioners in social housing. ‘It would be wrong to call the elderly “spaceblockers” so I won’t call them “spaceblockers” OK?’ he says, indicating a slide of a baffled-looking old woman with ‘NOT A SPACEBLOCKER?’ stamped over her. ‘This is about directing help where it’s needed most, to senior citizens who are perhaps finding life a bit of a struggle - who can blame them, there’s little profit for NHS contractors in treating old people - and who might welcome help with funeral expenses…’
Then some frothy yuppieccino on how everyone should be compelled to retire to Wales, and how this exodus of grandparents would suck many young families there with them for the childcare and how England could then be given over to the Childless Economy. Then it’s some demented beard with eyes, droning about a eugenically-modified planning system. Then it’s lunch and I bolt for it, before I get any older.
WEDNESDAY Gig on the horizon. A high-rolling Crimean ‘businessman’ has bought a few hundred acres of beautiful ancient woodland in Kent and wants to develop it as a ‘pleasure compound’. I’ve suggested he applies for planning permission, not to develop it, but to conserve it. Then do what a Crimean ‘businessmen’ do in London - keep everything above ground level and excavate a five-storey underground extension.
THURSDAY Didn’t get the gig. Apparently some smartarse had the better idea of elevating the ancient woodland on top of a five-storey overground extension, to deter ramblers.
FRIDAY Exciting times. Having seen bits of the Glastonbury festival on the TV, the mayor and corporation of Blingnang in China now want their own.
Except instead of a three-day smudge of mud, fancy dress and nitrous oxide, the brief is for a permanent Worthy Farm Traditional Big Dolly Music Tent Show (full, presumably, of half-timbered people) surrounded by a business park and a new town of 200,000.
SATURDAY Submit outline ideas for Blingnangstonbury. Have reversed the brief so that a business park is the hub of the whole thing, surrounded by an artificial ox-bow lake filled with endlessly circling drag acts, cider tents and temporary housing.
SUNDAY Didn’t get Blingnangstonbury. Some smartarse has had the much better idea of just doing the business park and putting in a high-speed rail link to Shanghai.
Eschew recliner and call my fixer, Rock Steady Eddie. We must find and destroy this mysterious smartarse.