It's renewable, local and versatile. Hard air can reshape our world
MONDAY. Lunch with Helen Mirror, president-elect of the RIPBA. She takes over next year from the current incumbent, who now spends the rest of his two-year term trying to remind us what his name is.
It's madness. Someone's elected president, then spends 12 months waiting, and 'preparing for office', which is bullshit for waiting. Waiting for the free breakfasts and the plenary sessions and the right to wear the institute's fabled Blue Djellaba, a mystical robe bestowing absolute authority over all epic space within the British Empire and her Dominions.
Once you've discarded the inaugural fluff and the valedictory guff, RIPBA presidents are actually in office for about two months. Just enough time to listen to the regions and welcome three government initiatives. Essentially, that's been happening on a biennial basis since 1834.
Still, I've had lunch with worse presidential prospects. She's highly critical of the RIPBA's communications department, who are now sulking and won't talk to her. Also, she's based in Birmingham, which is far enough away from London to be able to laugh at it, and close enough to Tamworth to benefit from The Correction. Once capital city status has been restored to Tamworth the Midlands will be like Greater London, but without all the fuss.
TUESDAY. Just back from the patent office. Bingo, that's my 'hard air' process intellectually copyrighted. Like all genius inventions, it's simple. First trap a volume of air in a container, making sure it's airtight. Then squirt in special 'lumpening hydrates' to cage the air molecules in a procedure known as omnilateral desublimation.
This is going to solve the world housing crisis at a stroke. Once hard air blocks have been manufactured they can be assembled exactly like 'breeze' blocks. Memo to construction industry: remember to paint your hard air, otherwise people will be bumping into it all the time. Once it's visible, you've got the world's most sustainable local material - ever.
There will be detractors. There always are. They will say things like 'If you take air out of the atmosphere, won't we all suffocate at some point?' Or 'Suppose the lumpening hydrates expire? Won't this turn your so-called wonder material into a useless and potentially lethal mass of soft air?' To which I reply, shut up I'm trying to think. For a start, air's like blood. You take a bit out, hey presto, more is generated to top us up. And lumpening hydrates last for ever.
I can't wait to unveil my brilliant invention at Superscape 08, the futurology expo held annually at a secret location in California. I'm also showing it off to architects, pecha kucha style, at a New Ideas Forum convened by the International Architects Network, the cartel of world class signature designers of which I am treasurer. I feel like the piper at the gates of a new hard air dawn.
WEDNESDAY. Hey, Weston-super-Mare needs a new pier. I prepare my pitch: 'sea air around you, hard air beneath your feet...'
THURSDAY. To California for Superscape 08. Lots of helpful suggestions from fellow futurologists. Why not have whole-house hard air moulds, capable of producing a starter estate in an afternoon? Why not create sub-atomic pollution magnets to trap ambient filth, so hard air becomes visible and the air that's left is more breatheable?
The evening ends with IT-themed carousing with loud anecdotes. I am hoisted onto the shoulders of two brawny nanotechnologists while everyone chants 'Hard air! Hard air!...'
FRIDAY. Bit hungover and slightly late for the architectural presentation. God, architects are so much more tetchy and picky than futurologists.
Nevertheless, they are the cleverest and most far-sighted members of their profession, and point out two obvious flaws in my hard air project. First, it will either eliminate architects from the construction process altogether or reduce their role to that of mould-maker. Second, there's no money in very low cost housing.
One Pritzker laureate sums it up. 'Dummy - hard air's strength is not universality but novelty. Look, creative thought plus innovative material equals breathtaking new entertainment resort with casino, water park, aquarium, performance arena and day spa with boutique shopping plaza. Join the real world, why don't you?'
SATURDAY. Rambling debate at the pub: frozen air versus petrified music. It's a goalless draw.
SUNDAY. Test my new hard air recliner, briefly.