Transcribed by Chris Creagh.
The Urban Spaceman
Now, in the last PR there was an attempt to explain the idea of the Urban Spaceman. John Richards, Terry Chilvers and Gina Goddard all had a go, in response to a query from Guy Blckman. Nice. But Now The Real Story.
Frank Reginald Quill (FRQ to his friends) was born many years ago into a humble family of circus roustabouts and neo-Hegelian philosophers. In his early years, he learned tumbling, how to put up tents and feed elephants cinnamon buns, high-wire and trapeze work, and the rejection of Immanuel Kant, whom he had met one night at a drunken party, and who had propositioned him. His more formal education consisted of a doctorate from the university of Basle in the field of the Semiotics of Aristotelian Ethics and its implications for caged animals. This, naturally, lead him into the real estate.
FRQ began his real estate career with an examination of the terms of reference: why is this termed “real” estate? If this form of property is real then, employing the principle of ‘differance,’ there must be another form of property which is unreal. He argued that, since one must first possess real property in order to sell it, it is far more profitable to sell unreal property which, by its very nature, cannot be possessed. He argued further, following the ideas of Jacques Lacan, that it is, in fact, the action of selling the unreal property which gives it a form of quasi-existence, dependent upon the relation between buyer and seller.
This at least, was the defence he used when he was brought to trial on charges of fraud, laid by people who had paid him a great deal of money to buy city properties which did not exist. Fortunately for FRQ, the jury was, due to a computer malfunction, composed entirely of members of the Modern Language Association. After a trial which lasted two hours and a debate in the jury room which lasted three months, FRQ was acquitted, and simultaneously elected to the presidency of the MLA and the Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame.
After a time, and particularly since FAQ sold his unreal estate at extremely modest prices, it became fashionable to own blocks of property in the city which only existed as a relationship between buyer and seller. People felt that it reaffirmed their existence, and FRQ became very rich selling city space that wasn’t there. Thus it was that he became the first and most succesful, Urban Spaceman.