Blimey. Tomorrow we wake up in the year twenty-twenty. And I’ve still not got my jetpack – chiz chiz. Anyhoo, a new decade, and at the risk of tempting the devil I really, really hope that it will be better than the current climate – political and meteorological – would predict. Meanwhile, let’s make the most of the evening to come and head into January, dry or otherwise, with smiling faces and hopeful hearts. Bottoms Up.
On a personal note the new year looks set to be an interesting one, in the Chinese curse sense of great change. This applies equally to my son, Ben, who leaves the hallowed halls of academia at the end of June to sail into as yet uncharted waters. Our fates are, for reasons too complex to go into here, intimately intertwined in this journey, so please wish us godspeed and fair weather.
So. Twenty-Twenty. I wrote a poem about this around half-a-dozen years or so ago. As today is the last day I can share it without it being a retrospective poem I hope you will indulge me. I was hoping when I wrote it that the ending might need a last-minute rewrite, but if that is to be the case we’ve not got long to sort it all out.
With very best wishes to all: Happy New Year.
Twenty Twenty Vision
When I was small I had a dream about the future.
There was a calendar on the wall and I could see the date clearly:
I had a Twenty-Twenty vision.
In my Twenty-Twenty vision the world was a wonderful place
full of light and love and wonder.
It was Lightful.
There were no wars, and no soldiers to fight them.
There were no guns or bombs, and the only fights were those that people had for fun: some people like fighting, and in my Twenty-Twenty vision they were catered for too.
There were no starving children, not even in Africa,
no dying babies with swollen bellies and stick limbs or flies in their too big eyes.
Everybody had plenty of food, even in Africa.
In my Twenty-Twenty vision everybody had jobs.
Jobs they loved.
The horrible jobs were done by robots, which were programmed to love their horrible jobs.
Even the robots were happy.
You could choose your own hours for doing the job you loved
so if you weren’t in the mood you could just wait until you were.
People were much more productive that way, even the ones who achieved very little.
It wasn’t quantity that counted, it was quality.
My brother’s job was glueing Airfix kits.
He had his own table in the kitchen.
It didn’t matter if he spilt glue on the Formica;
it just washed off with a damp cloth.
My job was reading comics.
I had a big stack of unread comics on one side of my bedroom
and a big stack of comics I had read on the other.
When the unread pile got down to the last comic a robot brought a fresh stack and took the completed stack away.
Sometimes I got the same comic twice.
There was a glitch in the system, but I didn’t mind.
In my Twenty-Twenty vision there were cars that could fly
but no pollution.
They were ever so easy to fly and they never flew into each other.
I thought, when I was little, that it was magic,
but it was probably just some sort of sophisticated Sat-Nav system.
Some people, like Jeremy Clarkson, resented the autopilot;
they called it ‘Political Correctness Gone Mad’,
making that same confusion between political correctness and health and safety
that Stewart Lee tells us so many make.
But most people liked it, the Sat-Nav autopilot thingy, because it kept them safe.
In my Twenty-Twenty vision everybody was safe.
Safe and happy.
Happier than happy – they were extremely happy,
even the grumpy ones, like Jeremy Clarkson.
Even I was happy in my Twenty-Twenty vision,
hardly ever grumpy or ranty at all.
That’s just what real life’s done for me.
I’m writing this poem about my Twenty-Twenty vision
on the fourth of April twenty-fifteen.
In less than five years I’ll know if my Twenty-Twenty vision has come true.
Given the current state of play I don’t think we’re going to make it.
Somewhere along the way
we fucked up.