Had this thought just now, listening to a Radio 4 item about evacuated children in the Blitz. I’m sure it’s a bit obvious but it startled me for a moment, gave me pause.
When Britain was bombed in the WW2 Blitz – and other countries of course on both sides – there would’ve been many, many people around (as young as in their 40s & 50s) who’d grown up without ever seeing an aircraft, before there were a significant number of aeroplanes in the world, before we’d commercialised (or militarised) powered manned flight. Warplanes were an entirely new technology of the early 20th century and – easily within an individual’s experience – those planes were raining thousands of lethal bombs down upon cities across Europe.
So I keep thinking about how, before any huge (especially technology-enabled) change, we cannot imagine it happening (even if we believe we can) and afterwards we struggle to imagine how it was before, even if we experienced it. That 40-odd years between the Wright Brothers and the Blitz is a very similar same time period (for example) as the gap between the release of the first Apple Macintosh computer in 1984 and where we’re at now. For me in music-making, it’s disconcertingly hard to remember clearly the infrastructure of the time before the Internet and downloads as mass delivery method of culture, even though I was releasing albums in that old paradigm for years.
This is why one should try to never err towards the hesitant in one’s predictions or expectations about the future. It’s far, far better to have thought ahead in an over-ambitious over-imaginative way, than been utterly unprepared. If you’re in your 50s or under, reading this now, I’m sure you’ll likely experience 1) constant drones overhead and automated policing facilities 2) automated cars on the roads 3) developments in 3D printing that fundamentally change manufacturing industries 4) developments in nanotech both wonderful and horrific 5) a huge,societally fundamental shift in how housing markets and domestic living works (towns of shipping containers, for example and an explosion in neo-nomadicism) 5) a complete shift in social media (and online generally) away from affluent western “democratic” free market bubbles, with a global population of English speaking, yet impoverished to a severe level people able to communicate and trade on a par with the comfy ‘west’.
Anyway, I hope that was worth me pulling off the A1 and stopping at a coffee shop for 45 minutes for. 😉