Incidentally I got a great response to my Tweet about all this when I fingered "Messrs Pickles and Shapps" from Rob Wright who says "that's a great Dickensian name for something... not quite sure what tho. Suggestions welcome. The ruder the better".
Also my mate, the lovely Stefan Webb followed up, making the helpful suggestion that councils should move their town halls back into town centres.
Although some schizophrenia over all this remains, as Mr Pickles says "Shopping habits are changing and the high street must respond. The trip to town needs to be worthwhile.
"In just the same way as the cinema offers a better movie going experience than TV the high street needs to come up with ways to give it an edge over internet deals and out-of-town shopping centres."
So retail is still a "nice to have" alright; just don't bet the farm on it.
Secondly, the aficionados (many of whom were authors of this guide of course) seem more than willing to help people populate the spirit of localism. This guide is simply that: a guide.
It specifically gives help and access to guidance, rather than prescription.
Thirdly, there is an emphasis - and anyone who knows their onions will tell you that this is long overdue - on the management of public space.
Fourthly (and the best is saved until last) people are actually being asked to use their imagination. Imagine that!
As the guide says: "The next step is over to you" and "you need to re-imagine your high street and town centre, and drive towards a new future where people come together for many different reasons. Simply continuing as you are is not an option".
Well! When was the last time you ever saw people being asked to use their imagination in a government publication?
And about time: shared and public spaces are vital ingredients of town centres and high streets, these spaces are what knit a place together, creative thinking is needed so these spaces can become the focal point for social interaction.
It is this social interaction that is the epitome of the high-street experience: an area to be enjoyed by all members of the local community.
So I recommend the guide (and not just because we collaborated on it).
My best wishes to those that are lucky enough to become Portas Pilots tomorrow. But my even better (in fact my very very bestest) wishes to those who are unsuccessful for whatever reason.
Don't cry in your beer. Get this guide. Get out there. And get that imagination going. Stop asking for permission, or seeking some handout or other, just go and make things happen.