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Friday, June 14, 2024
Laterally SpeakingThe Year Ahead

The Year Ahead

After the shocks and excesses of last year with Trump and Brexit, what we really need in 2017 is a period of calm and peaceful stability. I can however safely predict that we’re not going to get it. With a brand sparkly new Power Ranger in the White House, it’ll be a roller coaster sort of ride where virtual reality may seem more real than the real thing.

Technology itself may move faster and faster but it never moves in a straight line. It wiggles and jumps about in unpredictable patterns. By the end of this year, you may be asking your iPhone10 to help you with the washing up but don’t be surprised if it descends into a teenage strop and sulks all day by refusing to power up. Your car may be able to teach you fluent Chinese while it drives itself (and you) to work but you’ll get increasingly annoyed with the constant health and safety videos that pop up whenever you turn on the ignition. Techie science may finally discover Life on Mars and a new cure for the common cold but meanwhile—back on planet Earth—I guarantee that mobile reception will still be rubbish throughout much of the south west and digital radio will remain a non-obtainable pie in my west Dorset sky.

In the sporting year ahead, we’ll have one of those occasional summers when not much happens. There’s no World Cup and no Olympic Games, so you don’t need to sit in a cardboard box in June and July to avoid the wall to wall sports TV coverage. Instead 2017 is a Ladies’ year with the Women’s Cricket World Cup followed by the female Rugby World Cup in August. So, it’ll still be wall to wall TV but the language will be more refined. Maybe…

On February 26th, the Oscars rear their glitter-balled heads again so you can discover all the films you should have seen in 2016 and somehow missed—which in my case is nearly all of them. This is great because one year later you can now rent them or view them all on Netflix or Amazon Prime. However, I can guarantee that you’ll still miss them because you’ll be just too busy feeding the cat or brushing up on your Chinese before tomorrow’s test (organised by your car).

Key new movies to look out for include a new version of Alien in May (start screaming now) and you won’t be able to avoid the tons of hype for the blockbusters Power Rangers and Beauty and the Beast—both in March and both obviously about Donald Trump (joined presumably by Melania in the latter). And then, just when you thought it was safe to go to the cinema again, you’ll be hit by the latest Star Wars in December. Star Wars 8—you know, the one before the other prequel that’s actually shown second to last but happens after the next one. And then we’ll have to suffer the next Sherlock series on TV. Hopefully, somebody will leak the final episode to YouTube just like they did in the last series. That way I can cut straight to the final denouement without needing to sit through the totally confusing dog’s dinner of the first two episodes.

I’ve already briefly mentioned technology, but I can predict a couple more advancements if I just remove my Virtual Reality headset for a moment… You see, while I’ve been writing this article I’ve been playing ‘super Mario VR’ at the same time and have just jumped into a boiling cauldron of digital tiramisu, so it’s probably a good idea to stop. Anyway, by the end of 2017 I predict that Bristol Zoo will celebrate the birth of a baby drone from a breeding pair—see picture of “mother and baby doing well” on this page. Also, I predict Amazon will deliver my Christmas shopping before I even realise I want it, let alone order it. But why wait? I think this is already happening and it’s only February. My personal shopping habits have already been monitored, copied, cloned and put on order 10 months beforehand. Creepy—but probably true.

In the real global world, it’ll be an even busier year. Mrs May’s already said Brexit will become more than a virtual reality by the end of March when (or even ‘if’) she summons Article 50. But we’re not alone… France holds its own elections in April and May (‘Frexit’) and so does Germany in September (‘Germexit’ or maybe ‘Merkelexit’) and Holland in March (‘Netherlexit’ or I prefer the simpler ‘’Hexit’). Next month sees the 60th anniversary of the original Treaty of Rome so it’s a good time to see if anyone else is likely to leave the club along with the UK.

And then there’s Trump again. Who knows? So unpredictable… he could start World War Three before lunch or visit Yeovil and go shopping for Melania at Laura Ashley next Thursday afternoon. Nobody knows—not even he does, which could make life very exciting if only it wasn’t so scary.

It’s quite a year for dates… Next month sees the 100th anniversary of the start of the Russian Revolution, so watch out for further invasive moves in various bits of the world like the Ukraine or Syria. And then it’s the Nobel Peace Prize in December—awarded to those who have “…done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations”. Obviously that must be the peace loving Mr Putin. President Trump probably the year after. I simply don’t know… it could be so exciting, but I think I’ll hide in a cardboard box till it’s all over. Unfortunately cardboard is not very effective insulation against nuclear fallout.

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