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The minor lives of royals

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Ian Martin redesigns the United States to give it a wider, sedentary vibe

MONDAY Well thanks very much, ‘public outcry’. I was just trying to bring a little magic to your shitty riverside park. Fine. You don’t want a visitor centre celebrating the Otherness of Royalty? I’ll take it to Dubai or Mumbai or Shanghai or somewhere where they DO appreciate integrated genius.

The idea was to create a thrilling building first of all, which I obviously did WELL before imagining what might go inside. Angular roof, shingled pop-up fish tin overthrow, walls made of a smart hybrid of ‘slow light’ and ‘treacly air’, windows ‘bouncing’ slowly around within the rectangles like those logos on the old DVD screensavers.

It’s got AWARD-WINNING painted in dripping block capitals all over it, like a serial killer’s chilling message to the cops.

A concept was brought to me. ‘Visitors experience what other Royals were doing when historic events were taking place? Dunno…’ I knew it was a perfect fit. For example, while the Queen was on a barge sailing down the rainy Thames for her Diamond Jubilee celebrations, Prince Philip was in hospital with a urinary tract infection. Everybody knows what the Diamond Jubilee looked like, but who’s familiar with UTI procedures?

Likewise the Prince of Wales - people would be astonished to learn what he was doing on that fateful night in 1997. And Princess Michael of Kent’s ‘Fergie wedding swerve’ at the casino. It’s a sad day when this country no longer values tributes to the hidden contemporaneity of our own Royal Family members.

TUESDAY Redesign the United States, giving it a wider, sedentary vibe.

Along the Canadian border I’m proposing a notional ‘crown of specialness’ made of powerful halogen beacons, visible from the International Space Station as whimsical, twinkling fairy lights emphasising the fragile grandeur of our world but also showing that grand, fragile world how the US can still put together a kickass halogen light show, probably presented by some sun-dried mullet shrieking ‘Rock and Rooooooooll!’

Either side of the US: relaxed, post-imperial coastal borders. An enigmatic aquatic-territorial interface marked at regular intervals by Sea Nodes expressingcomfortableness with our shifting self-perceptions and honouring America’s fallen heroes.

Along the Mexican border, a spangled retaining wall.

WEDNESDAY Day off. Potter round in the stately home of my mind, or ‘Downtime Abbey’, as I humorously call it.

THURSDAY I’m finding that new BBC reality television documentary The Henge utterly inspiring.

It takes you behind the scenes at Stonehenge, following the day-to-day lives of ordinary members of staff. It underlines the humanity of routine situations with quirky incidental music, a device I admit that was new to me.

We see the sun rise (‘It is dawn…’) over the iconic neolithic monument (pizzicato violins) as a pair of gorgeous, heritagey-looking ground staff arrive for another quirky day of quirky maintenance. One, John, is nearing retirement and has the keys to the big maintenance shed. As he unlocks it (‘First off us’ll have to water ‘em droy patches, BBC Weather bain’t give ‘em rain ber Froyday…’) his companion Cassie, who’s on a placement year as part of her archaeology and wellbeing degree, stoops to fuss over a golden labrador (sprightly oboe).

Alas, when John and Cassie attach the hose to the standpipe as usual and set off to water them dry patches, gentle disaster strikes - in the multiform of a hose several metres too short, and a waddling tuba. ‘Where’s that producer’s assistant?’ demands John of the unit director. ‘Someone’s been [bleep] about with moy [bleep] hose, ‘em bout twenny yards too short now, ert? Oi’ve had it with you lot. [bleep] the lot of ‘em…’

Here John looks directly at the camera and warns, as we hear minor chords on the piano. ‘Don’t think ‘em can just stick sad-sounding piano over all this and call err heartwarming [bleep] drama, I call it a [bleep] cop-out mate.’

Cut to Cassie, cheerfully watering the parts of Stonehenge she can reach with the hose, as the labrador bounds around some Swedish tourists (dulcimer).

The point is, they realised the dry patches were where missing stones had once stood, making Stonehenge a proper circle (pizzicato violins). Result!

FRIDAY Bang out my masterplan for ‘henge living’. A circular, traditional private housing development in the green belt.

SATURDAY Five-a-zeitgeist theoretical football: match abandoned 1, match ‘unpacked’ 0.

SUNDAY Circular thinking in the recliner.

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