Outer Zone

I hired a car to go up to the Midlands. As I was being shown the vehicle, I saw a dead bird on the ground, its chest ripped open and bloody. The guy with the electronic clipboard said there were foxes in the area. This didn’t put me in a great frame of mind for the journey ahead. It didn’t help that Radio 3 scheduled some modernist works with odd sonic effects that could be mistaken for internal warning signals when driving on a motorway.

I saw the new retail parks and logistics centres still under construction near Banbury, I expect them to construct glass bridges with an aerial restaurant so travellers can gaze down on traffic. That couldn’t be a worse idea than either The Shard or the Marble Arch Mound.

Going through some old books I found this, which I was briefly keen on in 1987 but lost interest before I got around to reading it. My copy is now near-fine, I can’t decided whether to crease it by finally reading it. At the time it was a big deal, with Theroux interviewed on Channel 4 News and with big articles in the Sunday papers, but it soon faded out. It may have been a bit too early, at that point Blade Runner hadn’t quite been canonized and accepted as a reference for visions of the near future.

I went in to the town centre, on my way in I saw the birds under the flyover:

In the shopping centre, lockdown has been relaxed as well as everywhere else. I would say mask use is around 40% with no clear bias toward any particular group. I saw groups of masked and maskless people of all ages. There were groups of teenagers without masks, giving the impression at times that the young weren’t bothering… but then a masked specimen would come along. I think I may have seen family groups that were divided on the issue but co-existing with the differing views.

I also saw this guy in his little pop-up shop:

M.Phillipe Goossens himself was there to welcome me in after I bought a ticket from the jolly old-fashioned machine outside. As part of the conditions for entry, I couldn’t take pictures of all his models, but here is the leaflet that I got:

One of the layouts was based on an incident in the year 2028, so not exactly well-documented. There was another about the construction of the Pyramids, which appealed to the ideas of Graham Hancock and his “Orion’s Belt” “theory”. I think the most interesting thing about Hancock is just the mystery of how someone who started out writing about famine and disease and corruption in the world of “development aid”, could then swerve off in to Ancient Astronauts. Was it a descent into gleeful cynicism, or sincere grasping at extra-human explanation of the world? Something that Hari Kunzru could write about.

Here are the tops stories in the Redditch & Alcester Advertiser on August 11th, starting with the front page advert. First of all, “STEAM” as the new trend in education:

Shortage of materials:

Vaccination amongst the young:

In The Redditch & Alcester Standard on August 13th, they’re still keeping alive a newspaper tradition that the nationals may have abandoned:


Outside the main shopping centre quite a few sites are closed, with only charities holding out.

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