It must be hard being a conspiracy theorist nowadays. During the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, there were no end of theories to choose from – ranging from ridiculous to downright farcical. But now that pandemic restrictions are largely a thing of the past, pickings are more thin on the ground.
This shouldn’t bother the acid house ravers from the 1980s, however – they’ve been here before. One truth never acknowledged by the dance music press was the movement’s tendency to attract some very unfortunate types – and for many of them, their mentality has never been challenged. Hence why they see everything as pretty much a conspiracy.
Which is where okay-ish occasional DJ Danny Rampling comes in. There was a time when Rampling’s star was bright – indeed, there was a period in the 1990s when he was one of Britain’s busiest DJs. But nowadays, the man – who quit DJing in 2006 to set up a restaurant, but then later returned quietly when he hoped no one would notice – spends much of time doing the online equivalent of shouting at cows.
So what’s bothering the Runny Dumpling at the moment? Is it the cost of living crisis? Is it the prospect of Donald Trump becoming the US president again? Or is it the war in Ukraine, perhaps? You’d be wrong – it’s none of those things. No, the thing currently making Danny Rampling’s face an even more distinct shade of gammon than usual is… 15 minute cities.
What the heck is one of those? Well, Wikipedia defines it as “a residential urban concept in which most daily necessities can be accomplished by either walking or cycling from residents’ homes”. The idea is to reduce reliance on cars within cities, thus reducing the amount of traffic on the roads. This means quicker travel for those who do need to use them and quicker travel for those who don’t.
So what’s the problem? Well, Rampling claims in a Facebook post – where he quotes a mysterious person known only as Mike – that “The monstrous 15-minute city… is a key part of the totalitarian control system being installed piece by piece everywhere in the wealthier countries”, and goes on to cite provisions in the ECHR about how no restrictions can be placed on a person’s ability to move around freely.
Rampling’s opposition to 15-minute cities does show a certain volte face in his thinking, however. During the 2010s, Rampling invested in eco-housing in Hastings. But in 2015, the local council urged him to sell them after they’d been vacant for some time. One of the criticisms made of 15-minute cities is they increase gentrification – the property wielding Danny Rampling of years ago would have been all in favour of that…