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Early in its evolution, Agincourt needed a randomizer. Dice, cards, a spinning arrow. In hindsight, there were several decisions that ought to have been taken from our hands—mine especially. The series of blog entries called “The way things work” aren’t embarrassing, for they have served to confirm my reliance on intuition, which is no bad thing.

There are all those events that shape the urban environment—fire, flood, storm—that might have freed a piece of land for new purpose. In a bizarre way, chance did come into play when Dave Pence (a.k.a. Steve Spence) sent a real-photo postcard of an urban fire: a smoldering opera house or theatre in an unspecified city. It was precisely the sort of site, cleared of its earlier inhabitant, where Agincourt’s new public library might have taken root. And so it did. Coincidentally, a second postcard view of the same fire showed up on eBay years later and this time I learned that the event had occurred at Keokuk, Iowa (really!) in late 1912, precisely when I needed a center-city lot to have been made available.

These days I’m thinking of other similar events and once again eBay serves up the visual evidence: locomotive derailment, flood, tornado, urban fire; Acts of God, caprice or conscious choice. It’s not too late for a dose of random.



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