My present has been very much about finishing a novel that is set in the past before I was born. I wrote the novel’s final words last week. Now I put it aside before, in a few weeks, revisiting it to read and edit and rewrite where necessary. The writing and research has brought alive for me that period before, during and after the second world war.
My own past has come back with the planned republication of my trilogy of business writing books – We, Me, Them & It, The Invisible Grail and Dark Angels. They will come out in new editions in Spring. I’ve had to reread them and update with new material, especially Forewords by Jamie Jauncey and Stuart Delves. They will be republished by Urbane as the Dark Angels Trilogy on 28 April – see http://urbanepublications.com/book_author/john-simmons/
Last week I also had a strange and fascinating chance to see the way we once imagined the future. I visited Futuro House at the University of the Arts in London’s King’s Cross. Futuro House sits on the roof of the university building like a flying saucer just landed from outer space.
It is there because of the vision, tenacity and generosity of a young artist Craig Barnes. Futuro houses were the brainchild of Finnish architect Matti Suoronnen in the 1960s. He intended them to be holiday homes, particularly in ski resorts – prefabricated and easy to assemble. But he didn’t manage to sell many, only 100 in all. Perhaps half of them survive in different parts of the world, most of them out of sight, stored away in bits like an IKEA product missing the assembly instructions.
Craig came across one in South Africa a few years ago and persuaded the owner to sell it to him. The Futuro house was then taken apart and shipped to the UK where Craig restored it painstakingly with the help of friends. Now you can visit it in London and it’s well worth the visit.
It will make you think curiously about time. Here is the future restored from the past. What do we make of it now? Go and take a look http://www.futurohouse.co.uk
My daughter Jessie is a friend of Craig from school days. She took the pictures shown here http://www.lightprojectphotography.co.uk/