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The Future is looming…

Tuesday 9th August 2011

Morning! The Future just got a little closer to the present, with riots spreading across London and popping up in Liverpool, Birmingham and even a teeny one in Bristol. As the helicopters buzzed over our neighbourhood last night I remarked to Sam that I couldn’t see Bristol sitting round feeling left out for long.. and sure enough when we awoke a few hundred younguns had been setting things ablaze in the night.

The FTSE has responded accordingly with a drop of 3.4% this morning. Markets everywhere continue their freefall. What with all these riots going on, already bigger and nastier than those in the 80’s, I can’t imagine it will be long before people really wake up to the fact that things are changing irrevocably in our previously snug and stable Western democracies. Hopefully there are enough still in denial to buy our bloody house! Feels more like an albatross every day.

Had a bit of a virus + too much work meltdown late last week and headed to an old water mill shared by about 30 people in my Mum’s family. My folks were there with their Baby Boomer friends, many of whom have known me since the cradle. For the past few years I’ve been talking about this project with increasing clarity (I can be a slow burner when it comes to my work…but watch out when I get going!) and have been met by anything from amused and patronising put-downs to irritation at the suggestion that ‘the system’ many of them jettisoned their hippy principles to join might ultimately not be as strong as it seemed. This weekend though, avid attention, spooked eyes and emphatic nods all round. When I told them Sam had stayed home to help organise ‘Reclaim The Fields’ in order to inspire more people to grow food on spare land- whether squatted or negotiated, again unquestioning support. As for my own generation, turns out Hannah, the daughter of my parents old Uni friends, has a partner who is compiling and crucially printing out all the basic survival resources he can find on the internet, in case of internet failure. Had an amusing discussion with an undergrad son of another set of my parents friends about the internet and how much energy it takes to run, while a delicious salmon and cauliflower cheese lunch came out of the oven. As our tummies rumbled, he attempted to argue that demand for the internet would keep growing across the world, even as our capacity to power it lessened. ‘But Bernard, if it’s down to a choice between internet and food?’ ‘Well, actually demand for food isn’t…’ (tails off as a tray of cauli cheese wafts past). No, even a 20 yr old undergrad can’t debate away the need for food!

Internet or food? Internet or clean water? Internet or electric light? Internet or heat in the winter? Some people will be able to have both, but with so many who can’t- at least not 24 hours like now- much of the content we currently use may thin out and go out of date.

I’ve had a broken camera for the past few months, but I’m about to get a new one so I can finally start getting to grips with this beast. Watch this space for more clips in the next few days.



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