For years, artist Paul Noble has been working on painstakingly detailed pencil drawings of his fictional town of Nobson Newtown. The Sun would like you to focus that its residents are made of shit and fuck in the streets, ooooh. But look closer. Each Babylonian cityscape is constructed of immaculate letter-shaped building blocks, in meta, spelling out it their purpose — Nobspital (hospital), Nobsend (cemetery), Public Toilet. It’s a 3D, Dystopian, dilapidated, obsessive “Nobfont.” There are quotes from T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland hidden in the fields. And of course, the spectacle — “people become turds and turds become people.”

That bit the judges are raving about. Last year’s judges picked Martin Boyce’s ho-hum-hmm geometric mobile instead of a gritty urban realist painter. This year, the noms are Noble, performance artist puppeteer from a nudist colony Lali “Spartacus” Chetwynd, existential psychiatrist profiler/experimental filmmaker Luke Fowler and video artist Elizabeth Price. Seems like a delibertly more festive shortlist; it gets the people going!