Friday, 29 August 2008

The Time Warp

History has a funny habit of re-writing itself. With every successive generation, everything that happened before a time called 'now' becomes clouded by the shiny, new, electronic present and must seem pretty irrelevant to the bug-eyed yoof of today. And now, thanks to Youtube, this has become even more evident.

Now kids who care enough to ask what happened before the X-Factor and the Wii can just log on and view videos that document most of the last century rather than open a dusty old book. Want to see what happened in 1983? Just type it in and have a look. Never before could you go to a museum and see who was on Top of the Pops in any given week of the year. Armed with this revelation, I decided to try it out.

Right, Youtube, open, typing, nineteen-eighty-three, bang there it is. First result and I've got an idea of what it was like to live in good old '83. "Kajagoogoo's debut single 'Too Shy" shot straight to number one in the UK charts in February 1983". A quick smash of the play button in my excitement and I'm there. I'm in 1983. There are perms, there's bleach, there's a mullet, there's a yellow vest. There's even a glitter ball. I'm in the sodding 80s!

But wait a second, what's this? A wartime dancehall? Khaki uniforms? No glitter? This isn't the 80s I've heard about. And then they get all mixed up. What?! Kajagoogoo welcomed back the troops from defeating the Third Reich?! Why have I never heard this before?!

Suddenly I realise something. This Youtube lark could become pretty confusing to an uneducated yoof. "Wow," they'd say between mouthfuls of chocolate-coated cheesestrings, "they wore some funky gear in '83. Wicked innit." And in the blink of an eye, some poor kid thinks Britons in the 80s were still going to dancehalls to waltz with their sweethearts in full officer's garb.

I decided to test out my theory. 1973. I'll go there. A quick scroll down the results and again, I'm getting a feel for the year. There's Led Zeppelin's 'Black Dog', Wishbone Ash progging it up, and Luxembourg winning Eurovision. So far so normal.

But wait, what's this? James Blunt, '1973'. That's not right. In fact, that's just plain confusing! A yoof in years to come could be conned into thinking that Blunt was moping around in the 70s too! He's practically re-writing history!

My mind at this point is spinning. What if Blunty boy knew this would happen? What if, in some cackling fit of evil genius, housewive's favourite James Blunt decided to plant himself back in time through Youtube to cement his place as an eminent artist, straddling the millenium like a massive time jockey? I always thought he had sinister eyes. A quick snoop on Wikipedia tells me he wasn't even born by 1973!

I sat in stunned silence. '"It's just like Terminator or Back to the Future," I thought "I have to stop him." But before I could embark on my time-travelling mission, my attention was diverted by a video of Led Zeppelin live at Madison Square Gardens in the real 1973. "Wait," I said, this time out loud and to nobody, "How do I even know this one is real?".

And in that instant I knew it was too late. An evil shadow was already lurking on the horizon, laying in wait to rise again and claim his lifetime acheivement awards and mult-platinum discs and acclaim. That man's name is James...Hillier...Blunt.

Ian Ravenscroft

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