As you may know, it’s 2014. Which, as you may know, means that next year, on Wednesday 21 October, Marty McFly and Doc Brown will be joining us from the past. So, it occurs to me that it might be judicious to run a quick inventory on what, in the way of inventions, we can congratulate ourselves on achieving already and what gadgetry those clever scientists might need to think about getting a wiggle on with – so as to be on schedule when the flying Delorean touches down.
Back to the Future as a trilogy is incomparable and utterly perfect in its completeness but, while I concede that #1 is the pioneer, the forerunner that set the tone for its sequels and was at the time, a game-changer; and while I adore the ‘fuck it’ nature of the cowboy romp that is #3 wherein Doc Brown gets to live out his lifelong dream of visiting the Wild Wild West (where dwells ZZ Top – obv); it is #2 that holds a special place in my heart. In Back To The Future II, we visit TWO alternative 1985s, we go back to 1955 and see the whole Enchantment Under the Sea Dance again – this time with both a sense of satisfaction and perspective and a nail-biting anxiety that Marty will run into the other Marty, an encounter that could create a time paradox, the result of which could cause a chain reaction that would unravel the very fabric of the space-time continuum and destroy the entire universe. And, best of all, we get to glimpse the future as imagined in 1989, a future which has now all but arrived. So, let’s compare:
In fashion: questionable eye wear? We got it covered!
Wearing trouser pockets inside-out? ALL the cool kids are doing it:
OK, so we need to up our game regarding flying cars, but at least the Skyway won’t be jammed when the chaps rev it up to 88.8mph and while they will ‘need roads’, which might be a tad disappointing, Bangkok has a train in the sky, which I still think is pretty futuristic.
In the 2015 of BTTF2, Doc has been to a rejuvenation clinic to get wrinkles taken out, hair repaired, blood, spleen and colon replaced.
Now, while we perhaps haven’t made quite those leaps and bounds in terms of the pursuit of youth, we are at liberty to avail ourselves of an extensive menu of beautifying treatments and surgeries. Anyway, it strikes me that the citizens of Hill Valley 2015 are going to need all the organ replacements they can get if they’re filling up on re hydrated Pizza Hut.
Meanwhile, pat yourselves on the back, geeks: a couple of the ‘wacky’ predictions have – at this early stage in the game – been utterly nailed or even surpassed. 3D Jaws? PAH! In your face, Zemeckis, try 4D:
Samsung are all over the interactive watch:
Snotty future kids look askance at 1985 Marty when he shows them how to play the arcade game, ‘You mean you have to use your hands? That’s like a baby’s toy!’ Right on, you little bastard:
And Nike are already way ahead of the curve: having launched the Nike Air Mags in 2011, they promise that actual power laces – the stuff of dreams – will be a thing of reality, right on time, next year.
Now, while those smarty-pants movie makers had the wherewithal to know that the decade in which they were making their movie would indeed be reduced to the charmingly retro theme for cafes and fancy dress parties in 30 years, and that Michael Jackson’s Beat It would indeed stand the test of time, there were one or two predictions that have, sadly, not been realised:
THAT self-fitting, self-drying jacket
We have, thus far, not made sufficient progress in abolishing lawyers or enjoyed the resultant increased efficiency of the justice system and Pepsi really needs to up its PR game if they’ve only got one year to be hailed as the ubiquitous cola drink – hurry up with that Pepsi Perfect rebrand, guyz. What’s more, unfortunately, Washington cannot look forward to a visit from Queen Diana.
– which is very sad for obvious reasons but also for the fact that they thought newspapers would still be the ubiquitous source of news. Now, admittedly it does say at the top that it’s received ‘via compu fax satellite’ but even so – fax? Above all, even if the people’s princess had not been so cruelly snatched from us, the notion that she (or anyone else) would be Queen of England is preposterous – mark my words, Liz will outlive us all.
Finally, I come to a fairly sensitive subject. It has been my dearest dream and most earnest wish, since watching this masterpiece as an impressionable 10 year old, to own a hoverboard. I was deeply affected by the concept and hoped against hope that one day the technology would be sufficiently advanced to make it a reality. And then a week or two ago a video was flooding the internet.
The more naiive among my Facebook newsfeeders were all, ‘Woohooo, FINALLY!’ and for a moment my heart beat faster and my breaths got shorter and my eyes got wider and brighter and a little voice in my head said ‘YES! The time has come! Thank fuck for that!’ And then I watched it. And there was something ominous about the lack of bells and whistles, the absence of fanfare for something that, at least to me, marked a momentous occasion, a major scientific breakthrough. But here it was in a car park. With Moby. And for all the MIT and HuVr Tech fellows’ explanations and demonstrations, we could all see the tell-tale harness humps under SchoolBoy Q’s sweatshirt.
You may have seen it, if not, I don’t recommend it – it’s too disappointing.
In closing: Nike, I salute you. Tony Hawkes, stop playing with my heart so irresponsibly. If inventing a hoverboard is too difficult right now, can someone at least rig me up a flux capacitor so I can travel into the future and bring one back?
OK Dorksicles, what did I miss? Xo