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Tuesday, 19 February 2013


There's a man. He has crooked, nicotine-stained teeth and intense grey-blue eyes. He has a little girl with him; his 'Angel'. This man wants a better world - a better future - for his Angel. But the government are trying to put paid to this.

"They're using this island as a stop-gap," he says, "and pouring all their money into our colonies. This isn't a permanent home," he adds. "If it was, why haven't they taken steps to stop all the flooding? They've known about it for years. This country will be under water by too long. Think about it."

Think about it. He says this a few times in the proceeding fifteen minutes, as he details plans involving the prevention of coastal erosion, harnessing natural energy (including geo-thermal electricity) and the tyranny of the government. He evens draws crude diagrams involving the insertion of "huge machinery" behind the cliffs along the coast, so that sea water can flow over them into huge buckets. These then disperse their contents into a vast vat, which is superheated by a gigantic "hotplate". The resultant steam would drive a turbine, that in turn powers wind farms and solar panels, apparently.

"We're not Ancient Greece" he tells me. "There's no Rome, no Athens, no Troy." I decide not to tell him Rome is in Italy - I have already laughed at a few of his comments (thinking them jokes), only to be quickly and sharply told "It's not funny, mate."

The government invented a term called "psychology", he informs me, so that they could label those who can't get jobs as 'loafers' and 'useless', and a million other names. He's done a lot of research, the man says. He doesn't specify what on, exactly.

"I'm always getting ideas. I thought about making a Frisbee with lights on the edge, so that you can still play Beach Frisbee at night. I Googled it, and of course it's been done. But I had that idea."

The topic veers back to natural energy: "I went on this thing, like Dragon's Den. There were a few people after investing in companies, products. I went on with an idea for a floating raft - not too big to start with, about a kilometer square - and it's covered in solar panels. The waves wouldn't break them, because the raft would be engineered to move with them. You'd anchor it out to sea, off the coast of somewhere like Cleethorpes, where there's no obstruction to the sun. Think of all the sunlight it'd catch out there. It'd probably be enough to power the whole town, or certainly the amusements along the beachfront.

"This woman showed real interest in my idea. You could tell by the look on her face that she thought "Yeah all right, here comes another one" - probably thought I'd run out of steam after a few minutes, but I kept talking and talking. She offered me ten billion pounds for my idea."

He decided to call it a day after that, and took his Angel with him - whom he'd hardly looked at as he told me his ideas and plans to change the world, make it a better place. He left me with the diagrams for his "huge machinery" to put behind the cliffs. Trusted me with them, "until next time".

I think 'next time' will be this coming Friday.

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