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February 4th, 2010

Johnny on the Monorail

City Center is Las Vegas distilled. Like the best calvados, it's a tasty confection that subtly hits you over the head with a brick...

It's also one of the most science-fictional constructions I've come across. Last year we visited Arcosanti, the site of glacial architectural progress, where visionaries and true-believers are collaborating to build the first arcology. City Center is from a parallel world, where that utopian vision turned has been turned into a single conurbation, a melange of hotel/casino/condo/mall, designed by leading architects and styled by modern artists. It's not the arcology of Soleri's dreams and drawings, but it's something that's both incredibly close and incredibly far away.

This is Ridley Scott's LA of 2019. Vast towers, gleaming in the night, dwarfing the people at their feet. Flickering trams rush between the buildings, disguised as monorails. Overhead the helicopters pass by, on their incessant, impenetrable missions.

This is the future. Unevenly distributed into one place.

It also reminded me of one of the more obscure Buggles tracks, which I have appropriated as a title for this entry...

Down
Down they pause and walk away
Even in the streets your feet don’t move
See their faces through the Perspex
Turn to stare back up at you

You
Your eyes are green and mine are blue
In the subway darkness I am watching you
Oh my-my, you are so sci-fi
Please will you let me ride?

Johnny riding on the monorail
Johnny riding on the monorail
Monorail

You
You know that life is terminal
It’s the Paris Pullman in your mind again
Eyes like cameras move their lenses
Take this dream I offer you

Johnny riding on the monorail
Johnny riding on the monorail
Johnny riding on the monorail

All we cannot see we call invisible
Tracks that move on pylons through the sky
Oh my-my, you are so sci-fi
Please will you let me ride?

Johnny riding on the monorail
Johnny riding on the monorail
Johnny riding on the monorail
Tracks that move on pylons in the sky. Oh yes. And the tram is now arriving, so it'll soon be time for us to ride that monorail into the future.

Blade Running

Las Vegas, Nevada
January 2010