Many of us write about Miami. Tom Wolfe's new novel (working title Back to Blood) is set in the city as he has pronounced Miami "the city where America's future has arrived first".
It's no discredit to him that he lags behind several British writers, myself and Irvine Welsh included (he is getting on a bit). Indeed, it's heartening that the master trend-spotter has endorsed our presentiment that Miami is undergoing a strange and fascinating efflorescence.
So, what does the future look like? At the moment, mostly quiet. Miami and Florida were at the forefront of the property boom and now there are several patches of towering condos that are so ugly they could have been built only during an era of unbridled construction and whose lack of light at night shouts out vacancy. If you want a bolthole in the sun, now is the time to buy.
One area that is always lively, however, is South Beach. Having climbed halfway up a lamppost, a homeless guy in a pink skirt and a low-cut white blouse, starts to hump it, earning cheers from onlookers (I don't think he was a transvestite, as I saw him later sporting a demure tracksuit - he was just shaking things up a little).
Walking around Lincoln Road on New Year's Eve, I found no evidence of economic disaster. On the contrary, the crowds and the commerce were such that I reflected that while Malthus might have been wrong about the number of people our planet could support, it's much more pertinent to ask whether it's worth living with such numbers.
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