Tuesday, January 17, 2006


It seems like only yesterday. We were all talking about the approach of a milestone; 2001, the official start of the new century/millennium, but also the most famous future date there was (thanks, largely, to Stanley Kubrick's 1968 epic).
First thought; 'Bloody Hell! Where have the last 5 years gone?'. Then I have to consider what this 'future' has been like. Pretty dull, if you take science fiction as a marker. We don't have a colony on the moon (as in Space 1999 ... although, thankfully, we do still have the moon). Wheel-shaped spaceships are not hovering around Jupiter, cars do not hover, people are not teleported from one place to the next. I don't know what a person transported from the mid-1970's to the present day would make of mobile 'phones or the internet, but I can imagine his general reaction; Is this it?
CD's and DVD's might seem pretty nifty (mind you, back then, a video recorder was unheard of) and e-mail would be a wonder.
What else?
Cars don't really look futuristic; we're still complaining about busses and trains running late; on TV there are far too many soap opera's (but with more channels, there are now far too many 'make over' and 'reality' shows to keep them company); the country is being run by an incompetent government and the monarchy is still a national joke (and speaking of jokes --- Sir Mick Jagger, Sir Cliff Richard, Sir Tom Jones, Sir Paul McCartney); we still have wars, we are not 'boldly going where no man has gone before', and people on a minimum wage are still living on the breadline. Millions are on the dole, in debt, or living in slum areas that should have gone out with the Victorian age. And if you want justice in the courts you have to be a lowlife criminal; honest and decent citizens get the book thrown at them for the least transgression, while hardened villains are paid thousands of pounds in compensation if they are not allowed to watch their favourite soap opera!
Well, I don't think our mythical 70's time traveller would be too dazzled by the new Millennium. Disappointed, maybe, as he'd hardly notice any difference. Still, Richard Branson is planning to take tourists into space, America still wants to send men to Mars (mind you, I have some picture cards - which came in packets of tea in the early 70's - which stated their plans to send a man there by 1981; so we can take that little claim with a pinch of salt!), so we'll have to wait and see just how futuristic the future is going to get.
But for now it's 2006, the 5th year of the 21st century, and very little has changed. Somehow, nostalgia seems a little redundant.