The Buckminster Fuller reverie needs must be recounted – it is so full of the sweetness of life, an ineffable sweetness compounded from lost love of all fathers, brothers, kind paternalists who might once have sheltered me from the truth: life breaks off your penis at the haft.
My oldest brother – not the eldest – and I go to see Buckminster Fuller who’s living in a house that synthesises Arts and Crafts with Frank Lloyd Wright: wide eaves, a series of grassy terraces declining to an overgrown sunken garden and a copse of silver birches. We have my youngest son with us, and while we go to talk with Fuller, he goes to play in the open air. I wish I could go with him – Fuller is welcoming enough and offers us sherry or tea, as we please, but his study-cum-drawing room is dusty in the afternoon sunlight, with piles of old papers on every available surface and a great number of dusty pot plants here and there on ugly japonicas or else mouldering the surfaces of Melamine phonograph cabinets. Why are we there? It’s unclear, but I think has something to do with family: with the interest so many of us – males at least – take in the built environment. Fuller talks to us about those of his predictions that – in his estimation – were right and those that were wrong. When I go to find the child in the garden, the birdsong is explosively loud, while the small white space shuttle arcs across the high blue sky and I … cry.