The sands of time

I believe it was the great philosopher Dave Gilmour in the Journal Pink Floyd who wrote:

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an off hand way
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way

And such, you would believe, is life. The great marching on of time like ants towards a jam sandwich.

Time is one of the great givens, the fourth dimension and as Mr apple-on-the-noggin Newton would have us believe is a constantly forward-moving constant.

I remember sitting in front of Tomorrow’s World as a child as Maggie Philbin showed us invention after invention which was going to make the world a better place by the time I reached twenty. We’d live in spacesuits, fly to work with rocket packs, where our offices would be heated and powered by their own small-scale thermo-nuclear reactor.

Okay, so I may be exaggerating a little, but you get the gist – the world goes forward and forward equals better. And yes, with the exception of Friday night inner-city areas we no longer urinate in the street. We no longer have to eat rodents, or travel around on horseback and wear frilly shirts and speak in equally frillily constructed sentences.

The thing is, time seems to be going backwards. Everyone, according to my census of Channel 4’s Phil & Kirsty, wants a home with ‘period features’. Which, as far as I can tell means putting in drafty windows, bobbly ceilings and smokey fires in every room, and cooking your food 5 times as slowly on an coal-fired Arga. Fiat have just released a car they used to make in the 1960’s. Everyone’s given up on exciting supercomputers in favour of video games whih involve waving around a plastic stick until your arm falls off. I can’t even remember the last time I saw someone wearing a digital watch. Even bloody Gladiators is coming back on the TV.

So Immanuel Kant was right – Time must be a man-ascribed intellectual thing, which means we can alter it’s progression. And Time certainly isn’t going forwards anymore. I fully expect any time now we’ll have a new Henry VIII-style Monarch with a backstory of divorce and affairs. We’ll have a government that thinks it can deny accusations of corruption and the problem will go away. Oh hang on… I can only assume coal mines will reopen any day now, the pocket-watch will make a comeback, and every GP will be prescribing a good cauterisation and a course of leeches for everything from a slight cough to leprosy. You just have to look at the NHS, which has gone from dirty, to modern and clean, and back again to know I’m right.

But maybe that’s not right either, maybe we’ve reached the pinnacle of human development. Afterall, we have the twin-armed corkscrew, the Mouli cheese grater, the laptop, and phones which can select music to match your mood. How much better can life get?

There’s a great invention mentioned on the BBC Technology site today – the ‘hitech umbrella’. This is an umbrella which can show you the latest weather forecast.

For example, if there is a one hundred percent chance of rain, it will flash rapidly – and if the possibility is only around ten percent, it will flicker slowly.

Hang on, if there’s a 100% chance of rain, surely you’ve already got the umbrella up?

So that’s it. I am certain time has officially stopped. In a state of neither progression or regression. And, ladies and gentlemen, I have the proof – The Daily Mail’s had the same headlines about Princess Diana for the last 5 years.

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