Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Better late than never

Back in 2000 I was one of the 6.5 million visitors to the Millennium Dome. Senior Godson was approaching his fifth birthday and we wanted to give him something to remember 2000 by. It was either that or the divorce of his parents. As it was he got both, but at least the Dome was slightly – and I say slightly – more positive.

The Millennium Dome should have been a terrible warning for us all about New Labour – magnificent promises that you can tell just by looking simply won’t work, but Tony insists loudly that they will and so they follow them through anyway. The exhibits were like a primary school’s science fair, only more rubbish. The much vaunted Body Zone was a hot, over crowded, rubber lined cave where you shuffled through a series of papier mache fistulae between organs with as much relevance to the layout of the human body as a mid-period Picasso. You emerged feeling almost as depressed as a dead suicide bomber who has just discovered that actually the promise was for 72 Virginians.

But, all things told, it wasn’t a bad day out. Blackadder Back & Forth was fun, not least for its French-bashing, and the central stage show was impressive. The brand new all-original Peter Gabriel composition seemed to be mostly offcuts from his fourth album but he was probably down to his last couple of million and needed the money.

I’m 90% certain I didn’t return home with a millennium time capsule, yet somehow in the intervening six years I have acquired one. It has a raffle ticket stuck on it, which is a clue as to how I might have got it, though I have no memory of the event. I thought nothing of it until the Boy discovered (a) the capsule and (b) the loose floorboard in his room, which today will be covered up by carpet; and if this one lasts as long as its predecessor, the board won't be seeing daylight again for a long, long time. So we are having an emergency, six-years-too-late millennium inhumation. Let’s see, what to put in it. A photo of the three of us. Maybe a newspaper – possibly a TV guide for this week, but on the other hand, why depress the people of the future? I thought of the Collected Works of Ben, but the capsule is too small for a CD (bad foresight there, guys), the floppy is almost extinct as a medium, and there’s no way I’m sacrificing an expensive memory stick for the task. Anyway, the thought of the future being Windows compatible is even sadder than the thought of the future seeing what our TV listings were like. So posterity might get a print out of the home page, and of this blog. Maybe some hair cuttings so we can all be cloned in the future.

Civilisation could be rebuilt from the contents of this small little tube. That's quite a responsibility.


  1. I you want to preserve DNA you will have to pluck hair, rather than cut it. DNA can only be extracted from hair roots, but in the future...

  2. I should have remembered that. But as you say, the future ... Still probably the least icky way of delivering a DNA sample to our descendants, too.

  3. Lump of coal. There won't be any of that in the future, and they will be able to marvel at its beauty and then use it for Hogmanay rituals which will have been unpractised for decades due to coal shortage. It'll be worth a fortune. The people of the future will love you.

  4. Anonymous8:17 pm

    Ah, on the contrary, lots of coal there still will be. Hydrocarbons, on the other hand...

    (This is probably the most geekish comments page yet, Ben, what are you creating?!?)


  5. Anonymous8:18 pm

    PS. Loved the one about the Virginians. Very good. Hadn't hear that one before!


  6. I have to confess to pinching it from the comments on the Dilbert blog, speculating re. al-Zarqawi's last words.

    There are no geeks, just those with the right balance of science and sense of humour in their lives ...


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.