Imagining the Future


Excited to be giving a keynote talk at the Venice Biennale on the 25th of this month on cities, architecture and Utopia (thanks to the British Council and the Flanders Architecture Institute especially for their support). Continue reading

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Exit Flatland


My first games/architecture column for Kill Screen is online here as a glimpse of the print magazine, which I recommend subscribing to. Continue reading

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Melody (Slight Return)

Forgot to mention this at the time but 33 1/3 had a concert in Rough Trade NYC and Ava Luna performed Histoire de Melody Nelson beautifully. Carlos Hernandez, of the band, handed out a zine he made in response to the album and my book. There was a piece in the Village Voice about it. Good excuse, if any were needed, to give the record another spin and check out the band.

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The interview above is in a recent issue of La Repubblica, if anyone reading this happens to be in Italy (translations of Imaginary Cities and European releases are in the pipeline).


Delighted to say my forthcoming book Tidewrack will be published by Vintage/Chattos & Windus in the UK and Farrar, Straus and Giroux in the U.S. If Imaginary Cities was inspired by Calvino, Tidewrack is inspired by Sebald.

PS That’s me, with the ice-pop, at the now-demolished Rossville Flats in the Bogside, Derry – a time and setting that features in the book.

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Edinburgh Book Festival



I’ll be appearing at the Edinburgh Book Festival this year for those in the vicinity. My event on J.G. Ballard’s ‘High-Rise’ has sold out but there are tickets for my discussion of imaginary and long-lost cities (with James Crawford, author of Fallen Glory) still available here. All welcome.

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The Archaeology of Street-Names


‘Beyond the utilitarian or commercial, streets become the setting of private and public mythologies. We can walk the meandering Via Dolorosa path in Jerusalem following the steps of Jesus Christ on his way to crucifixion. Every day we might undertake secret pilgrimages to places, unremarkable to anyone else, where childhoods were lived, where love was lost or won: places sanctified by experience. Having these resonances deepens our experience of place just as the place frames our lives; the process gives us belonging and it gives our cities character. “Then came human beings” Camus’ jaded narrator claims in The Fall, “They wanted to cling, but there was nothing to cling to.” He is wrong, as Camus well knows, for there are temporary refuges in the unrelenting flow of time and they exist where space and memory intersect.’

I’ve been writing about street-names for White Noise and I’ve been sharing additional thoughts on the subject in this article in The Guardian.

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Back to the future


‘Our visions of the future tell us more about the present than they do the future. The clean open marble piazzas of Renaissance Ideal Cities were dreamt up amidst narrow alleyways and unhygienic squalor. Bruno Taut was dreaming up visions of crystal palaces on top of the Alps, dedicated to universal brotherhood, at the time when millions were living like troglodytes and killing each other in the trenches of the First World War. The age of optimistic futuristic Googie architecture was also the age of “Duck and Cover” and imminent nuclear holocaust. I believe the futurists of today keep producing dazzling visions despite or because subconsciously they know how screwed we actually are. When times are threatening, we dream of utopia. When times are stable, we can indulge ourselves with apocalyptic visions.’

– Discussing cities with P.D. Smith (author of City: A Guidebook for the Urban Age) over at Strange Horizons

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