Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Norman Mailer's Lego City

Tough man author and journalist Norman Mailer may have died in 2007 but his Lego lives on. Famous for hard-hitting novels The Naked and the Dead and The Executioner's Song, which won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1979, less well-known is his fascination with Lego. In 1965 the writer, with a few friends, spent three weeks building a city of the future out of the famous bricks. A photo of it adorns the cover of his 1967 collection of essays, Cannibals and Christians.

Mailer didn't physically build his Lego city in the clouds, inspired by Mont-Saint-Michel (of which St Michael's Mount in Cornwall was modelled after). He didn't like the sound of the bricks when they stuck together, finding it obscene. Mailer was the grand architect, telling friends and relatives where to put the pieces. He even announced the undertaking in the New York Times magazine and Architectural Forum. Blaming modern architecture (including Le Corbusier) and urban sprawl for many of society's woes, Mailer believed the city of the future "must build up, not by increments, but by leaps, up and up, up to the heavens." His Lego city, with each brick an apartment, would house about 4 million people, with specific locations for philosophers (top), call girls (white bricks) and corporate executives (black bricks).

The utopian city, too big to move out of his apartment, remained intact in his living room until his death.

It would be great to see Lego release the city as a set. It could have Lego figures of Norman Mailer and his contemporaries like Truman Copote, Hunter S Thompson and Thomas Wolfe, as well as the aforementioned philosophers, call girls and corporate executives.

Previously on Barnflakes
Lego Architecture
Just another brick in the wall 
Star Wars Lego
Legoland wildlife 
Headless Movies

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