Back in the days of black and white television, programme makers delighted in wheeling out “experts” on programmes such as BBC’s “Tomorrow’s World” to tell us how the world would look in the year 2010. We stared in wonder and waited for our future to arrive.
Unfortunately, these experts have been proved wrong – and I am desperately disappointed. I am disappointed that I do not have a personal robot servant. Neither do I have a jet pack to get me to work. My car doesn’t hover, and there is no anti-gravity monorail running the length of the country.
Instead, I have a dishwasher that only works intermittently, a Volvo with an oil leak and, where there should have been a single-rail silver bullet train, there is a jam-packed Virgin locomotive stuck for hours on the West Coast line waiting for the track maintenance teams to finish their tea break.
Had these experts been accurate in their predictions, we would be swallowing “food and vitamin astronaut pills” that would sustain us morning, noon and night. However, not one of them predicted deep fried pizza, cheese strings and pot noodles.
But where they got things wrong – and I do mean REALLY got things wrong – is in the field of fashion and clothing.
They confidently predicted that by this point in time we would be working in virtual offices, wearing swanky skin-tight one piece jump suits – Star Trek style – the colour of which we could change merely by pressing a button in the lining. Adults would wear silver ones, and children would wear shades and hues of the rainbow so that the playground of the local school would look as though somebody had spilled a box of Smarties.
But we do not have the figure-hugging space age suits. And, let’s face it, given the bloated shapes a lot of us are thanks to the pizza and the pot noodles, that’s probably a good thing.
What we have instead is the ubiquitous in-yer-face yellow hi-viz jackets. And nobody – but nobody – saw THAT coming. If anybody is working on roadworks, picking up rubbish, driving a digger, ploughing a field, building a dyke, riding a bike… they are wearing a hi-viz jacket with pride. There’s even the pathetic building site surveyors who drape the things over the passenger seats in their cars, hoping that other motorists will think they are The Polis.
But the programme prophets got it even more wrong that that. Not one of them predicted the too-tight crop top and hipster ensemble so loved by chubby teenage girls – and sometimes their mothers – revealing bellies of which a beer drinker of forty years would be proud. You know the ones I mean; when these ladies manage to lumber after a departing bus they look as though there’s a whole carnival going on in their clothing.
You didn’t see THAT on “Tomorrow’s World” or “Fashions of the Future”, did you?
And the same goes for those weird “grunge” jeans that have the crotch somewhere between the knees and the ankles. The hems are ragged from trailing on the ground, and the waistband of grey, faded boxer shorts shows above the belt. Nobody saw THAT coming.
I wonder where these experts of the past are now. Well, they are probably still travelling to the office on exhaust-belching buses, wearing the same old crumpled polyester suit, tie and grey socks as everybody else.
But I bet they can’t help wishing that they could cast it all off – if only for one day – change into their silver space suit, strap on their personal jet pack and soar above the city streets.
I know I do!