What will be Britain's tallest free-standing public work of art is taking shape on the Jubilee Campus of the University of Nottingham: Aspire (a spire, to aspire; get it?). The red and orange steel girder tube will tower 60 Euro metre thingies above the campus when completed, taller than Nelson's Column (52 Euro metre thingies) and Tyneside's Flasher of the North (a mere 20 EMT). Its £800,000 cost has been donated by an anonymous benefactor. It strikes me that England has been going through a period akin to the Italian Renaissance, when merchants were flush with spare cash and city states vied to own their own unique works of art. With recession starting to bite and the European Union jackboot poised over our necks, I wonder how much longer the English Renaissance will last.