31 March 2010

The Future Is Indescribably Dull

Today, at work, I experienced a depressing moment of realisation. This, of course, is nothing new. Barely a day goes by that I don't suddenly stop what I'm doing, look around and think Ah, you appear to have wasted your life, Dan. Well done. Have a biscuit you utter moron.

I'm the worlds worst procrastinator you see. Why do today what can wait until tomorrow or, at a push, next month? This, presumably, is why I laughingly refer to myself on occasion as 'a scriptwriter' when the truth of the matter is that I haven't really written anything worthwhile in months.

"Research" is my saviour. It allows me to buy books, watch documentaries, scour the Internet and make copious notes, all the while singularly failing to actually put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard in anything vaguely resembling a screenplay.

But I digress.

Reading through a report at my desk this afternoon, I saw the words "On 12th February 2010..." and something suddenly clicked in my head. A few rusty gears began to turn, a handful of synapses fizzed into life and, brain crackling, I realised that we are officially in The Future.

Cast your mind back, for a moment, to the 1980s. Imagine you're sitting there comfortably in your waffle-knit jumper or stylish lounging cardigan. If you're a gentleman, you might be wearing a pair of those flecked-material trousers, possibly with tassled slip-on shoes. Perhaps you're sipping from a bottle of Corona, quite literally getting busy with the fizzy, or eating one of those day-glo E.T. biscuits that were available in 1982. You may, rather unfortunately, have eaten the bright orange and green ones and now only have the horrid brown one left that resembled a depressing east-European version of a custard cream.

Right, now with your 1980s head on, put your imagination in reverse and think for a moment what life will be like in the year 2010. Imagine the incredible technological leaps forward that we will have made!

2010 will be a wondrous place of strange looking cars running on electricity instead of petrol and actually talking to you like KITT in Knight Rider; extraordinary glass and metal skyscrapers in a bewildering array of shapes and sizes, stretching so high that you are dizzy just looking at them; and a truly dazzling cavalcade of electronic gadgets allowing you to do everything from carrying a whole library of books in your pocket, to watching a movie in the palm of your hand.

Doesn't 2010 sound like a fantastic place?! HG Wells himself couldn't have imagined such wonders!

But fast forward thirty years and 2010 isn't quite the utopia we'd hoped for.

All of those things I mentioned above have, of course, come to pass. These are, it must be said, extraordinary times. Except for one thing.

Everything else is still shit.

Yes, I'm typing this on my laptop whilst periodically checking a micro-blogging site on my second LCD monitor and listening to music that I purchased from the Internet which had downloaded within three minutes via a high-speed wi-fi connection, but that doesn't change the fact that when I look outside, the weather is still bloody awful. Or that, in the morning when I walk to work, I have to play "dog-shit hopscotch" in a bid to get into the office without smearing the soles of my shoes with Alsatian faeces.

You see, as everything has improved around us, the only thing that has stayed the same, even arguably become worse, is us - people are still, on the whole, horrid, nasty, vindictive, selfish, spoilt little shits.

It angers me to see them enjoying the fruits of technological improvement, while they themselves do nothing to further the human race, nor contribute to its evolution. I am even more angered by those particularly idiotic members of society, usually alternative-medicine supporters, who loudly decry science as being a fundamentally flawed discipline whilst simultaneously sharing their ill-conceived snake-oil beliefs via the high-speed PCs and laptops that stupid old science has allowed us to make a normal part of our everyday lives.

Accordingly, I have decided that future technology should only be available to those who are evolved enough to deserve it.

When I become Supreme Chancellor (one of my first duties as Prime Minister will be to upgrade myself to this newly created position, a bit like Chancellor Sutler in V For Vendetta, or Emperor Palpatine in Star Wars) I will demand that anyone attempting to buy future technology will be required to complete a questionnaire assessing their suitability. It'll be a bit like when you become a foster parent, or adopt a child, but more taxing.

Having put some thought into it, I've come up with a few initial questions that I feel would facilitate identification of suitable future technology owners.

1) Do you own a dog that you allow to defecate with gay abandon on public pavements without picking it up?

2) Have you ever, in general conversation, used the phrase "I'm not racist, but..."?

3) Are you incapable of sitting in a cinema for two hours without either a) chatting to your mates, or b) checking your mobile phone every three minutes?

4) Do you own a baby buggy and feel it is your absolute right to walk side-by-side with your buggy-owning friend, effectively hogging the entire pavement so that anybody walking in the opposite direction has to step into heavy traffic to get past you?

5) Do you see it as a personal victory when you get served first at the bar, even though you can see that the man next to you was there several minutes before you?

6) While we're on the subject, do you actually work in a bar and completely fail to take notice of which patron is next, electing instead to just choose your next customer at random irrespective of how long they've been waiting?

7) Do you read The Daily Mail?

8) Are you Noel Edmonds, Justin Lee Collins, Jeremy Kyle or Alan Titchmarsh? If so, please discontinue this questionnaire and immediately kill yourself.

9) If you saw Margaret Thatcher in the street would you a) shake her warmly by the claw whilst profusely congratulating her, tears in your eyes, on being the best Prime Minister we've ever had, or b) angrily vomit into your hand and then, possibly, throw it at her?

10) Do you have any spatial awareness whatsoever? More specifically, are you a 'meanderthal' who will blithely wander around with no thought whatsoever for anyone else who might be trying to get somewhere in a hurry?

11) Do you consider a 'funny' tie to be an excellent physical manifestation of your wacky sense of humour, designed solely to publicise your status as the office 'crazy guy'? (Score double points if you frequently use the phrase "I'm mad, me".

12) When visiting a foreign country, do you do any of the following: a) allow yourself to become sun burnt to a deep crimson on the first day, especially on your stomach which you have allowed to obscenely roll over the top of your ill-fitting Bermuda shorts b) eschew 'weird foreign food' and instead eat chips for every meal whilst loutishly shouting "Nah, I don't want any of that muck. Give us a steak, Pedro, well done", c) spend most of your time laying around on the beach drinking lager but then, on the rare occasion that you do visit some local points of interest, stride about loudly bellowing that it's all a bit shit and not as good as being back in England?

13) Do you think that even though there is not a shred of reliable evidence supporting its efficacy, that Homeopathy should be available on the NHS?

14) Have you ever eagerly flipped to the horoscopes section of a newspaper or magazine and nodded your head in appreciation at how amazingly accurate it seems to be?

15) Do you think that Roy 'Chubby' Brown is both funnier and cleverer than, for instance, Oscar Wilde or Mark Twain?

This is just a small selection of the sort of questions I'd like to see presented to people when they lope into a PC World or Currys with a fistful of cash, wanting a new laptop or wide screen TV.

If they're unable to achieve a satisfactory score, they will be sent away from the shop empty handed, and their details will be uploaded to a central database, effectively barring them from owning anything shiny, nice and useful for the next 12 months.

For the rest of the year, they will not be allowed to use any technology whatsoever.

They will be moved to 'ghettos' in which their homes will be illuminated by candlelight and they will be expected to wash their clothes in the shared back garden on a large flat rock.

They will not be permitted to use microwave ovens or deep fat fryers, so all meals must be prepared using fresh ingredients, which will be provided for them.

During this period of technology-abstinence, they will have free reign of their local public library, allowing them to read newspapers and books in a bid to open their eyes to the fact that the world does not revolve around them and their pathetic little credulous, unquestioning, xenophobic, fear-fuelled families.

In this way, Supreme Chancellor Rablenkov will make the UK a better place to live. Those people who have demonstrated a cultural, sociological or philosophical outlook that closely matches my own will be allowed to enjoy the benefits that such a society brings. Everyone else will be effectively imprisoned until they change their behaviour.

From where I'm sitting, the future is starting to look very bright indeed.

Who says power corrupts...?


E F RICE said...

Another cracker Dan, some feedback on the questions :

Q8 - Please add Chris Moyles and James Corden (minority view I know but I despise him).

Please add the following question : 'Are you a taxi driver and do you feel it good mannered and appropriate to violently fart seconds before a customer enters your car ?'

Trust this is ok with you Dan ?

Dan said...

EF Rice - I will happily add both Moyles and Corden to the list. I view myself as a benevolent dictator who is open to constructive criticism. But, if you displease me, off to the ghetto with you. I think it's important to set one's stall out.

mjh81 said...

Another classic Dan, I love your twisted mind, some day we will rule the world and not in that irritating Take That fashion.

Crackerwax said...

Right, are we all going to fuck about with this or are we going to form a group?

I say, I register the domain JusticeVipers.com and we all put a photo up there with our titles and short biogs.

In addition to this a list of the crimes against humanity that we would be punishing would be posted also.


Piley said...

Funny isn't it... the more advanced technology gets, the more we seem to miss the 'old days'. Oh for the days of going on holiday and NOT being contactable! As much as I love my MP3 player, mobile phone, PC etc etc... i'd swap it tomorrow for a bit of 70's stomp.


PS - I've spotted your 'theme' for this years posts, very good!! Looking forward to the FOUR posts in April....

Ishouldbeworking said...

I started making a list of my own to add to yours, but my blood pressure got so dangerously high that I had to stop. As it was, I'm pretty sure I suffered a small aneurism.

Dan said...

mjh81 & Crackerwax - You're right. Let's do it. The time for arsing about is over - let's make a difference by culling 'undesirables'. Count me in.

Piley - Blimey, you're turning into a technophobe! Embrace the future! ;o)

ISBW - How do you think I felt! I had to lay down in a dark room with a bottle of vodka and a sound-effects CD of screaming just to calm myself down after writing that list. There were many many more sins that I could have added, but I knew I'd probably keel over if I became any more furious...

Cocktails said...

I'm sorry Dan, but as amusing as your post might be,we all know what the truth is. In the future, the Supreme Chancellor will be oblivious to all others and will genuinely not understand why this might be problematic. Queues will be abolished, loud people rewarded, normal ties banned and foreign policy determined by astrology. The Supreme Chancellor WILL be Jeremy Kyle or Roy 'Chubby' Brown. There is unfortunately more of them then there are of us.

And yes, I had a bad day thank you.