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Pause for reflection in my Eamesian eyrie, just above skag alley, NW1. In the 20 years since completion ('Trust Goes Wild for DIY House' - local paper) it has been gutted by fire, ransacked by burglars and is now in a Conservation Area.

The confidence that came with building ebbs, as decades of unsuccessful anger management mellow into that grumpy condition shared by many of my generation - from Bob Dylan's It's Alright, Ma? to Robert Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy. Just behind my head is a collage from Fragments of Utopia - having condensed years of research into this spellbinding book, I discover that another David Wild has shot up the bestseller list with a corporate tie-in for the Friends TV programme. Sole practitioner, working from home? Cosy at first? but you need to get out more. The city's unsustainable towers rise while the sewer overflows. Prince Candide tends his garden, as Christian Tony wears Maggie's clothes. Who ate all the resources? The man from the World Bank knows.

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