Thursday, March 12, 2009

Crystal balls

I recently picked up a copy of Our Future: Dr Magnus Pyke Predicts, a paperback from 1980 in which the wildly gesticulating boffin has a guess at what life might be like 50 years hence:
News is what journalists put into newspapers and news bulletins. Because we get news from a number of different channels, it does not follow that we are any better informed.
Which should remind us that transmission of facts was hardly perfect even before the Babel of the blogosphere got in on the act. But then the good doctor goes and spoils it with his guess at how the news might be physically delivered:
...newspapers could be printed on washable nylon sheets, to avoid the necessity of cutting down so many trees.
Oh well. At least old Magnus had a few more strings to his bow:



Sad to note from Dr Pyke’s Wikipedia page that his later years were dogged by people yelling “SCIENCE!” at him in the street.

(For some reason, people used to say I looked like Thomas Dolby. Or the saxophonist from Haircut 100. Or even John Denver. When really, I knew I was Andy Partridge.)

9 comments:

LC said...

"Pyke was injured in a robbery at his home in the early 1990s as he attempted to club the intruder with a cane..."

Back off man, I'm a scientist!

Betty said...

I had a spooky Proustian moment when She Blinded Me With Science was played at a record fair in a Cromer church hall.

I find it really depressing that Magnus Pyke was always on TV in the 1980's, but now he's no longer with us.

Perhaps the 1980's were just a dream ...

...

...

Billy said...

I love the idea of printing newspapers on washable sheets. You'd take your sheet down to the newsagent each morning and they'd wash the old news off and print some new news for you.

Plus you'd get your suit drycleaned into the bargain.

Spinsterella said...

...newspapers could be printed on washable nylon sheets...


That just made me actually LOL more than anything else I've ever read on the internet.

Less happily, I'm finding it increasingly hard to cope with all these kids in bands *discovering* The Eighties and thinking they're doing something new. It all just sounds like Erasure, but really terrible.

tom said...

I worked at one of Mr. Dolby's company's a few years back - a tech startup called Beatnik - He would always get annoyed whenever the term "one-hit wonder" came up, insisting that he had actually had two hits!

Tim Footman said...

LC: Maybe I should have added him to my list of dead bonkers polymaths at the splendid Pamphleteer.

Pyke is still with us, Betty. But only if you live in Cromer.

Hi Spin, it's been too long. Are 00s bands rediscovering the 80s any worse than 80s bands rediscovering the 60s? Jebus, the Paisley Underground, what was all that about?

Billy: But surely in 2030 we won't need to have drycleaners, because we'll be wearing holographic tattoos instead of clothes?

He had a point, Tom. But is it really anything to be proud of, being slightly less successful than Howard Jones?

LadyGirl said...

I just asked a young colleague of mine (age 24) if he's ever heard of Magnus Pyke or Thomas dolby and got a blank look in response. I'm going to try again when the 80s-mad boy from IT (age 22) comes back from holiday.

I thought I might have problems seeing the YouTube video but I have been able to watch the all videos I want to. Does nobody care what you look at when you're over 35?

And has anyone checked to see if Andy Partridge still exists in his own separate body? I won't be convinced until I see both of you at the same time in the same room - where there are no mirrors or projectors etc.

Michael said...

Black pudding. Mmm.

Tim Footman said...

Hello LG. I think Andy Patridge left his own body several years ago, citing stage fright.

But where would you get the lumps of fat, Michael?