Manchester's sinking gasbags, London's floating aerodrome
MONDAY. To Manchester, and the Labour Party conference. For a few days MPs can forget they're barristers or journalists or PR consultants or whatever and walk around like tribunes of the people, without ties on.
My friend Azzy Bifter, the idiot secretary of state for entertainment, is nervous when I meet him and his Mam for lunch. He has to give a keynote address on the challenges of High Definition Britain and keeps forgetting his lines. Mrs Bifter coaches him throughout the meal, ignoring me and wiping food off his face from time to time.
I'm not sure I like the sound of Azzy's 'HD Britain'. The home entertainment revolution ('broadband, plasma TV screens, er I said broadband didn't I?') has given us a new depth and quality of content, apparently. So Azzy and his army of civil servants now plan to 'roll out' high definition culture for everything, including architecture.
He explains that by improving our cultural connectivity we will be able to 'keep up with Asia'. How will this work? 'OK. Take architecture. At the moment when it comes onstream it looks sort of fuzzy like round the edges and the people inside look a bit squashed and short, yeah? Well with high definition architecture all the details are really sharp and...Mam, can I have some wine yet? I've eaten me vegetables...'
So. With HD architecture, when you're walking round a new Zaha Hadid building do you always see their logo in the top left hand corner? 'Oh yeah' says Azzy, uncertainly. And how will our new high definition cultural connectivity be achieved, exactly? He freezes, unable to think. Mrs Bifter pauses with her napkin and stares daggers at me. 'Dhey'll do it dhe way dhey always do it, soft lad!' she barks. 'By digging up dhe bloody roads...'
TUESDAY. This is the gloomiest Labour conference since the one where John Smith died in the bath. The party machine's puffing out clouds of chaff about economic recovery in an attempt to confuse the media's radar, but we all know what's going on.
The government's planning its slash and burn exit strategy. By the time the Conservatives get in they'll find a smouldering cultural wasteland. A green housing initiative gone brown and mouldy. Blasted heaths where eco-towns were supposed to have been built. A dazed, partially-regenerated Yorkshire unsure of which way to go along the M1.
I hear Holly Boxwood - the communities, bins and forward thinking secretary - try to reassure conference with news of an amendment to the Planning Act, requiring all new homes to be fitted with equity meters and mortgage alarms. Nobody cares any more, and you sense she's already got one eye on her future career as a clinical psychologist.
WEDNESDAY. To sleepy old London town. The mayor, my old friend Loaf, has organised a floating lunch in the Thames Estuary. It's actually more of a site visit. A few of us have been invited to see the proposed location of the new London airport. It will be created on some kind of fantasy island off the Kent coast.
I suppose it'll be like that whopping big one Norman did for Hong Kong, but much smaller. The irritating GLA press monkeys keep trying to persuade us to nickname it 'Check Loaf Cock Nub' but nobody's having it. You're never sure with Loaf if he's being ingeniously disingenuous. For all I know the airport idea is an elaborate distraction to stop people thinking about the Olympics.
THURSDAY. More details emerge of Loaf's 'intermodal transportation hub'. It will be at the centre of a series of concentric planning rings. The sequence is as follows: airport, floodplain, contaminated air, congestion zone, residents' parking only, M25.
FRIDAY. My friend Amy Blackwater has started a campaign to block Loaf's airport on the grounds that it would destroy the natural habitat of giant rats, the Darwinian consequence of undisturbed human detritus in the Thames. Already a Banksy has appeared on a wall at Tower Bridge: a giant rat in swimming goggles brandishing a Mac-10 with the slogan 'My Eco System Now Ha Ha'.
SATURDAY. Mayhem at the Annual Deconstructivist Disco as 'space rage' escalates into a fistfight. Luckily, parametrics are quickly on the scene.
SUNDAY. Cultural connectivity in the recliner, with the telly on.