When Russell came up with the brilliant idea of crowdsourcing a model village of the future (2050 to be precise) I thought it would be a great opportunity to get my fingers sticky with some UHU and the Hornby Terminus Office Building he kindly popped in the post.
Naturally my early thoughts centered around internet connected appliances and eco friendly structures. But in 1988 Talking heads released their last studio album, which had this brilliant track on it.
David Byrne's tongue in cheek vision of not being ready for a green future shaped my thinking around Lyddle End 2050, spinning my thoughts into a much deeper and darker direction than is natural for such a positive guy like myself.
The first bit of construction was building a Spotify playlist that would help me shape my vision. Thanks to the brilliant collaborative nature of their playlists everyone can add a track to the playlist. Feel free to chip in regardless of how different your vision of Lyddle End 2050 is from mine. It will be interesting to see how it ends up
So... as I said, it all gets a bit dark from here on. We all dream of a green future, but what if it was forced upon us at a rate we weren’t ready for or willing to accept. What if factories started vanishing before our eyes regardless of their economic health. High street names we know and love started disappearing, not because of a financial collapse but because they were forced out of business by the new green police for not adhering to extreme government policies.
"This was a Pizza Hut. Now it's all covered with daisies...I miss the honky tonks, Dairy Queens, and 7-Elevens... And as things fell apart nobody paid much attention"
Planes are grounded, car production brought to a halt, roads replaced by fields, alternative energy sources failing under the weight of demand. As the song says “If this is paradise, I wish I had a lawn mower”
Here's a glimse of my house in Lyddle End 2050. The solar panels on the side of my house haven’t worked since the riots of 2035 and the metal fronting on the front is protection against the looters and The Green Police. The collapse of the IMF, and the subsequent closure of the world’s banks, prior to The Environmentalist Party taking power leaves us living in a Mad Max like lawless state.
Everyone carries a gun. Everything is locked down. Everything has to be taken by force. In Lyddle End 2050 nipping next door for a cup of sugar takes on a whole new meaning. If you’re not fighting off The Green Police for imposing a 1 child per family limit you’re shooting your neighbor for stealing apples form your tree. We asked for a green future and we got it.
As for fully connected appliance and the internet of everything... well... The internet in 2050 no longer exists as we knew it. Our faith after the first 5000 days was somewhat misplaced. This article in Wired about the man who 'broke the internet' coupled with the vulnerability of 'The Cloud' made me think about how totally insane the whole idea of the internet is in the first place.
We were one good hack away from surrendering all our secrets and the great hack of 2045 gave one man more power than all the superpowers combined. As a result our fully connected world disconnected piece by piece faster than you could say "Can I have an Oyster Card please". Fibre optic cables were ripped from under the floors and we couldn't smash RFID enabled possessions quickly enough. TVs, gaming systems, fridges, cookers, phones, items of clothing, bank cards, doors, windows, clothes, toothbrushes...
We spent 45 years teaching everything we owned to talk to servers without ever giving a second thought to what it would be like if those servers fell into the hands of one man. He knew our every move... and I mean our every move. He controlled the internet, he controlled what was left of the banks and he controlled our houses remotely. We couldn't brush our teeth without him knowing how many stokes it took and we couldn't put food in the fridge without him knowing the fat content of each item. Once again paranoia took hold and the only way to deal with it was to destroy everything.
So, my Lyddle End 2050 house is an unconnected steel structure, a hollow shell surrounded by over grown trees and fields, protected by guns and free from possessions. Still, it has a wicked soundtrack. Can't wait for the street party.