Ian Martin redesigns the world
MONDAY To Celebrity Space Slam. It’s being held this year in a temporary bubble pavilion, or ‘pavibubblion’ as we must learn to call it.
The pavibubblion has been inflated, with some difficulty, inside the upstairs function room of a Shoreditch pub. As it’s a charity event nobody’s too critical of the celebrities’ genuinely stupid ideas, barked into a fawning crowd of overdressed berks.
JK Rowling slams a monologue about a floating library without newspapers. Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy mumbles a sonnet to a nationalised food bank, where ‘filo money and quince ingots be’. Benedict Cumberbatch declaims what might have been a moving little hymn to an imagined concrete poetry tower, but by then both the pavilion and the audience have partially collapsed.
TUESDAY Redesign the Isle of Grain, giving it a contemporary slow-release energy vibe
WEDNESDAY I find myself with a few days entirely free of work, so resolve to redesign the world.
It’s worth thinking really big once in a while.
It nourishes the ego AND earns valuable ‘dreaming for humanity’ points on Twitter. That reminds me: must remember to hashtag any thoughts. And have the hashtag protected as intellectual copyright. And have everything I’ve just said sealed up in a hyperinjunction.
THURSDAY In the morning, bring Europe and Africa closer together with a huge Photoshopped Bridge of Possibilities. Bang. Right across the Strait of Gibraltar.
This bridge is not just theoretical, it’s inhabited. Lots of men in 21st Century clothes clutching 21st Century gadgets, but with fashionable 1950s haircuts. Which is ironic, as an utterly changed world full of men with 1950s haircuts is EXACTLY what the future looked like in the 1950s.
My Photoshopped Bridge of Possibilities will be teeming with women, too. Women in cardigans and gender-irrelevant work clothes and suits of armour. Memo to Self: maybe put in little speech bubbles saying things like ‘save the bees’ and ‘fuck the patriarchy’. That stuff goes down really well with the sort of macho liberal men who devise theoretical design competitions.
Any bridge is more than simply an elevated road over an obstacle. A bridge linking Europe and Africa must transcend engineering itself. It should soar without hauteur. Find common ground between culturally diverse continents.
It must ‘sing’ without ‘wobbling’.
I reckon the bridge would be about 10 miles long, so choosing an appropriate material is top of my list. I’m going for adumbrated carbon, something I just made up which has the toughness of steel and the flexibility of a medium rare steak. The bridge will perform a shallow ‘w’ as I’ve now decided the central support will be built on top of an underwater mountain which, when squinted at, has more than a hint of Atlantis about it.
‘Morocco to Spain and back again in a day’. That’s one of the slogans for my Photoshopped Bridge of Possibilities. Others are ‘Eurafrica: A New Bivalve of Hope’ and ‘Afro-European Leisure Investments®’.
FRIDAY Pushing on selflessly with my comprehensive global redesign. Still exhausted from the bridge, so I turn my mind to the more soothing non-material world. Through the medium of drivelly pencil scratchings and images harvested from a search for ‘tossers in coffee shop’ I map out a New Geography. Land masses are divided not by archaic national boundaries but by download speed frontiers. Fast and Slow Korea have never seemed further apart.
I propose a Universal Cloud to enable some sort of Global Spring (details not important at this stage) and massive overscaled self-cooling routers marching across the Pyrenees like gormless silos (get some signature architects to design them, they’ll look brilliant, or grotesque, same thing really). Also, why not harness the natural social network of biology itself by infusing chlorophyll with wifi?
It’s all about the connectivity, as EM Forster would have said if he’d had access to Wikipedia before World War. I
SATURDAY Five-a-zeitgeist theoretical football. Incandescent Non-Contextualism 3, Compassionate Neo‑Fabianism 0 after extra height.
SUNDAY Reflections in the recliner. Conclude that the world really is a shambolic mess. Maybe a retrofit just won’t do it. Tear down and rebuild, or push on with my masterplan for a relocation to somewhere else in the galaxy?
Perhaps to create truly epic space we need to turn the Ascent of Us into some sort of space epic, I muse, before nodding off again.