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Ian Martin: The Space Baguette

Ian Martin
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Ian Martin takes a slingshot at the future

MONDAY Redefine ‘the terrace’ by stacking houses vertically and calling them ‘pin-terraced’.

TUESDAY Open Pinterest account specifically to exploit the idea, only to discover I’ve been beaten to it by some knitted gonk from Vancouver who makes wind chimes. 

Admittedly her pin-terraced housing is in the form of knobbly ceramic cottages with anthropomorphic hedgehogs coyly peeping out. NOT my slick renderings of contemporary maxpads framed by a fuck-off urban sunset, although to be honest I was only ever really interested in the name.

WEDNESDAY I am honoured to be drawing up big-picture pre-conceptual think-throughs for Tamworth International Airport. I am enchanted by its motto (Hub of the Future – And Beyond!) and by my generous remuneration, which has just been upgraded to platinum class.  

Obviously the first concept to be consigned to the past (and beyond) is ‘airport’. I mean, come on. ‘Aeroplanes’? Are we still living in the era of crude bombing raids over France, or Joni Mitchell looking at clouds from both sides now? No. We stand at the beginning of a new Space Age. Not dreamily wondering ‘what’s out there’ or exploring the mysterious unknown because ‘that’s what we do’ but because there is a sound business model.

The key thing here, I tell my team, is to think outside the air. The hub of the future will have its fingers in many spatial pies, some of them deep-spatial and interplanetary. I say ‘team’, the people I’ve been assigned by Tamworth International are – I don’t wish to be unkind – pretty raw material.

It may seem ridiculous to build a spaceport at Tamworth but that’s entirely the point of deep space thought

There’s Jadon, an intern who I think is doing business studies part-time at a local college? Because he has literally no feel for the arts? And literally says that literally everything should be sustainable but affordable? The other member of my team is Bonnie, an artificial intelligence on loan from Tamworth Princess Diana Academy Sixth Form. This is a lot more helpful with my blue-space thinking. 

While Jadon runs out to Pret for lunch and algorithmic water, Bonnie and I set some logistical parameters, imagining Tamworth at the centre of a £300 trillion growth plan. It may seem ridiculous to build a spaceport at Tamworth but that’s entirely the point of deep space thought. If people approve I take the credit. If they don’t, the blame is Bonnie’s. I’m sorry, but that’s just how artificial intelligence works. 

We’re calling it the Space Baguette. Imagine a continuous non-stop space train that you can ‘hop on and off of’ like an old Routemaster or the London Eye. Launched from Tamworth into space, the Baguette encloses a small town. New Tamworth, stabilised by rotational gravity and affordable housing.

Obviously there aren’t any rates or licensing laws or land values in deep space to complicate things. Bonnie and I imagine New Tamworth will be exciting yet safe; a well-behaved frontier town. Brexity, yes. But with a children’s library.  

The Baguette will slingshot around the planets, its cargo bays collecting and delivering whatever interplanetary space might require. As Bonnie the artificial intelligence says: who knows?

Once the Baguette, containing New Tamworth and the equivalent of an Amazon distribution centre, is up and running – no problem. It can carry fuel and get top-ups on the way, somehow. By the time all this happens we’ll probably be printing fuel. In any case, most of the volition comes from gravitational pull. 

The tricky part is getting it up there, and Bonnie has had a brainwave: an ascending spiral hyperloop that starts in Tamworth, slingshots around Droitwich, then up into the air to slingshot around Cardiff, then Barcelona, then the North Pole and allez-oop, we’re spacebound! Brilliant.

I reflect on the stupidity of a world in which I spend less time working out how to monetise Pluto than in picking all the cranberries out of a chicken salad. Then notice that Bonnie’s thought processor is connected to a live feed from Tamworth Princess Diana Academy Sixth Form Common Room, and quietly slingshot myself to the nearest pub.

THURSDAY Transfer all my thoughts about New Tamworth into a folder marked ‘Underwater Possibilities’.

FRIDAY Solve the problem of unsightly development within a World Heritage site by imposing a two-year moratorium on saving anything between 1922 and 1924.

SATURDAY Five-a-zeitgeist theoretical football. Densification 12, Intensification 24.

SUNDAY Deep mental space exploration in the recliner.

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