¦ Features ¦Sprout
: The Big Smelly
few nights ago Mrs Sprout and I were watching television when a helicopter –
no doubt in pursuit of yet another escaped lunatic from the local asylum –
passed quite low over the house. The noise went whuppity-whuppity-whuppity-whuppity,
only much louder, of course, and Mrs Sprout turned to me and said, "Imagine
what the noise must be like in Mega-City One."
Now, this caught
me out a little; partly because it’s not like her to spontaneously introduce
the topic of Judge Dredd and related matters, but mostly because I realised I
had never really thought about it before.
But she's right:
the noise in Mega-City One must be absolutely horrendous! Okay, so there’s
no petrol which means that they don't use internal combustion engines, but still...
With all those vehicles rumbling around all day, all night, you’d need quintuple-glazing
on your apartment windows and some military-grade earplugs to keep the noise out.
then there's the noise of the people, too. Four hundred million citizens, and
at any given time at least half of them would be awake. Talking, arguing, laughing
(well, maybe not laughing all that much). On top of that, there's all their TVs
playing. I mean, we live across the road from a woman who plays her country music
albums for a couple of hours every morning, loudly, with all her doors and windows
open. It's not at all pleasant, but it's still got to be a hell of a lot better
I'm sure that living
in Mega-City One has other drawbacks... Imagine the smell! Anyone who’s
visited London in the height of summer will know just how bad a city can smell.
Mega-City One has a population forty times that of London... And what about all
those fatties who I’m sure spend a good deal of their time breaking wind?
It’d be like living inside Judge Death's underpants on a hot day, after
he’s just run a marathon.
And speaking of
the population: four hundred million people, most of them with functioning bladders.
Let's say that the average person pees about a litre a day (I've no idea if that’s
even close to accurate – I must remember to bring a measuring jug next time
I go to the bog). So, four hundred million litres of wee-wee per day. That’s
one hundred and forty-six billion litres every year!
where does all that toilet-juice go? Into the Black Atlantic? No wonder Captain
Skank was annoyed! And of course the average person makes poo-poo once a day too.
What happens to that?
Combine that with
all the showers and baths they must take, the running of taps to fill the kettle,
plus washing machines and dishwashers, and so on: where do they get all the clean
water from? I mean, we know that it rarely rains in the city because the citizens
are allowed to vote on their choice of weather, and we know they can't take the
rain from the Cursed Earth because it'd be poison.
who's ever been in charge of running a small country – like I have –
will know how difficult it is to supply clean water to all the people. Okay, so
MC-1 doesn’t have much in the way of outlying farms, but just think of the
height of some of the city-blocks: you'd need an incredibly powerful pump to get
water up to the top of one of those babies!
MC-1 was built
on the ruins of the old east coast cities, but those cities weren’t demolished
– they were just paved over. There’s people and things who still lived
down there, and they don’t have access to running water. Or soap.
They don’t have anywhere to recycle their waste (or their dead). But they
don't suffocate, so that means that there must be air getting in to them. And
if air from MC-1 can get in to the undercity, then air from the undercity can
get out too...
So with all this
in mind, I’m beginning to think that the real heroes of Mega-City One are
not the Judges, they’re the sanitation department. Grud bless 'em!