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Energy ventriloquism and a post-urban behemoth

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Ian Martin redesigns Clacton-on-Sea in Essex

MONDAY Make the Middle East less terrifying by imagining the Lego version.

TUESDAY Redesign Clacton-on-Sea in Essex. I’m giving the civic brand a short back and sides. Promoting common sense and nostalgia. Not that much to do, frankly.

I propose marking the Clacton boundary with Royal bunting to create a high-cholesterol anglo-gentile shtetl, where political sensibleness may prevail and people can respect themselves, finally, without having to kowtow to the nabobs of Brussels. Clactonites First!

In line with my ’70s do-over, I suggest rebadging the ‘white’ population as ‘orange Formica’. Also NB, change town motto from Lux Salubritas Felicitas (Light, Health and Happiness) to Si tibi non placet, noli hic ******* vivere (If You Don’t Like It, Don’t Fucking Live Here).

WEDNESDAY In the morning, invent ‘energy ventriloquism’. I think what it probably does is this: it offsets energy somehow, maybe using a network of sources and user streams so baroque and sophisticated that it’s possible to ‘throw your energy voice’. What would that mean? Perhaps ‘EV’ is just a way of avoiding unspecified energy-related tax liabilities. It’s hard to say; to be honest I haven’t properly thought it through yet.

In the afternoon, accept that energy ventriloquism is just another of those phrases that bubble to the surface of discourse in this zero-gravity intellectual saucepan of epic space, and then go pop. It DOES look good in lower case though.

In the evening, decide that energy ventriloquism is best deployed as an enigmatic caption. I have just the slide for it too. Next month I’m giving a lecture entitled The New Newness: How Pre-Modernism Defines Itself From The Future at the Institute of Plasmic Arts. The sixth slide is of Ukrainian construction workers in the rain, moodily assembling a pre-sold commercial building. What’s left of Battersea Power Station yawns bleakly in the background.

It’s such a great picture. So many emotional buttons to push. But less is more. So, loftily, I will simply show the slide - captioned ‘energy ventriloquism?’ - and gaze solemnly at a point at the back of the hall for a few seconds. Sorted. Legend.

THURSDAY I have submitted a proposal for a glittering, magnificent, spiralling, post-urban behemoth called Fort Lux. It’s so massive, it has its own ecosystem, postal district and regional accent.

Originally I’d imagined it going up in London. A vast, self-sufficient, gated ‘vertical city’ in the style of every other ‘vertical city’ currently being pitched in every actual city in the world. Fort Lux, London. Ecosystem: please keep doors closed at all times, reversible greenhouse gases with a hint of dark cherry. Postal district: EC3HD. Regional accent: Business Class Estuary.

Unfortunately I have to lay off the tall stuff in London for a while. I’m part of an urbanist guerilla group sworn to destroy everything higher than the Gherkin. It would be both ironic and stupid to create something you’d then have to destroy. Life is not a Scandinavian miniseries. Life is not some weird bonfire party. Life is - hold up, that’s actually not a bad idea.

If I architecturalise something for money and then destroy it for money: moral equilibrium, surely. I’ll take that.

FRIDAY Oh, you have GOT to be kidding. The planning Stasi say the rules on self-contained post-urban behemoths have just been tightened. Thanks a LOT, my so-called ‘friend’ Loaf, Mayor of London. You flailing, gurgling haystack.

Now all new vertical cities must contain at least one Anglican cathedral. Otherwise it has to be a ‘vertical town’. Why on earth would any three-dimensional artist of any repute whatsoever design a vertical town? Where’s the bloody zing and sizzle, the pezazz and dazzle there? Idiots. Towns are rubbish. Ask any architecture critic. Ask anyone who lives in Clacton-on-Sea. The global stakeholder community wants cities, not towns. The Church of England can do one, in my opinion.

SATURDAY Spend the whole day reworking the top of Fort Lux to accommodate a cathedral. Basically it’s a fat, inhabited spire.

SUNDAY Brainwave in the recliner. Include a picturesque graveyard in the 300m-high vertical city cathedral. Who wouldn’t want to be interred in the highest graveyard in England?

Off-plan sales of Buy To Die In The Sky plots … this could spin an awful lot of ‘dead space’ in London into just that. ‘Bury me in Fort Lux when I go …’ I nod off.

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