They’re gutting this town. A new corporation clad in steel and glass is moving in, buying up land and buildings, opening up the streets and making holes down to the underworld beneath our feet, where men in blue overalls are replacing the tangled old intestines, which not so long ago conveyed the future, with sleek new cables and pipes. All the corporation’s employees wear blue. The tradesmen wear blue overalls and the office workers wear blue suits and ties. The corporation has no logo. Instead, it has patented its own shade of silvery blue, which it has given its own name. Soon half the town will be the same colour. They’re tearing out the old shops’ entrails and wiping all their different faces off – from the sombre old jewellery facades to the smirks of hip young storefronts. On my street they’re demolishing a block of flats that was once appallingly modern, and today when the blue men climbed off their machines and swaggered home they left a wall that only last month was shared by four flats on either side. I can see it from my window now, with its patchwork of paint and wallpaper, even a mirror that still hangs from it; I can see it struggling to trace the shape of the structure it no longer occupies and to bear witness to the lives that have moved elsewhere. Old pipes stick out from its sides, dripping their last digestive juices onto the rubble below. Past afternoons still cling to it: the smoke and dinners of many years, the pinch of nails, the knocks of annoyed neighbours, the sweet smell of babies, the acrid smell of anxious schoolchildren, the pungent smell of the beds of adolescents… I’m waiting to see what form the new entrails, faces, juices and smells will take under their new coat of silvery blue and steel and glass. How will they ooze down through the new cracks, how will they assert themselves now, how will they outlast the image this time?