I realised today how futuristic 2023 sounds, or is that just because I was born in 1958? We even imagined that 1984 was a futuristic year, 1999 was something only in sci-fi novels and anything after that would be the era of hovering cars and servile robots. Only now are they talking about scary A.I. domination and the wiping out of the human race, but I think we might be able to get the extinction going on our own, we don’t need any help from rogue intelligent machines, we have enough rogue unintelligent organics to do it for us. I’d like to live for another 100 years for just one reason – to see what happens.
As a teenager, I read twenty-something Michael Moorcock books and was a Star Trekker rather than a Star Warzer because of my age at the time of the first movie (1977). I suppose I was 19, I was more into Alien, and that first Alien movie was really something, as was Aliens, the second film. Doctor Who was there from the beginning of time (geddit). The Twilight Zone, The Invaders, UFO, Space: 1999 (there’s an example of that year being so far in the future). Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea, The Champions, Blake’s 7, Timeslip, Clangers, and then the Star Trek franchise went nuts and spiralled into a spiral galaxy of spin-offs. Then there were the puppet fantasies, Captain Scarlet, Thunderbirds, Stingray, Joe 90, Supercar, Fireball XL5. It was called television.
The fantasy of The Archive kept on drifting into my mind today and I was thinking not of the records but of the lava lamps, the mannequins, the Cyberman head, and the Tardis. The Day Of The Dead skulls and the posters from the past (the gigs, the museums), the musical instruments and old amplifiers, the stereogram left to me by my Aunty Gwen, the weird old radios and record players, the Russian projectors and also the books. What a place it could be if I can only get it here.
Music today has been Leonard Cohen’s second album, Songs From A Room (1969). It contained one of his most famous songs, Bird On A Wire. It’s a stark and simple album, emphasising the lyrics delivered in his engaging deep deadpan. His enduring presence can only be compared to Bob Dylan and somehow he transformed himself from that low-key nylon string guitar and poetic lyrics to a man of the future. Imagine what 1999 felt like to him, he died in 2016 aged 82.