NO BLIND FAITH — page 2

It’s science I tell them. Show us a man in a white coat and, unless he’s a doctor, we’ll suspect he’s a villain. Or working for a villain, doing science for villainous ends.

The default opinion of the future used to be, utopia. Now, most people would say it’s dystopia — if they know the word, ’cos education isn’t was it was.

We believed the white hot heat of technology would give us endless leisure, cars that hovered, day trips to Mars, houses that cleaned themselves. Now we think science gives us pollution, mutants, things we don’t understand, pressures we don’t want. We don’t trust science. We don’t have blind faith.

It’s not the fault of the men in white coats, not their fault we’re afraid of the future. It’s ours, we demanded they came up with the goods. Payback for all those decades of austerity: those smoky buses and slap-happy teachers. The scientists were supposed to do our bidding… But they didn’t. They couldn’t, we didn’t know what we wanted. It hadn’t been invented, because we wanted the future… And who told us what the scientists had to do? Who was that?

(He pushes buttons on the laptop and the screen shows a succession of advertisements: from simple domestic goods from the early 1960s to slick contemporary advertisements for luxury goods and cars.)

Whoever sold us the lie that all this stuff would make us happy, they’re the real villains, wouldn’t you say..? Or maybe we just can’t handle the idea of being happy.

(He stabs a button on the laptop. The screen is filled with snowy, falling interference. He sips his whisky.)

When I look back, it’s a strange feeling. A bit like falling.

(The screen goes blank. The spot dies. Queen’s ’I want it All’ plays while the greengrocer’s stand is stripped clear and becomes a sideboard, of a design that would have been contemporary in 1959 and is stylishly retro today. A plain table is placed downstage. The shoes are removed from the shelves and a few contemporary and expensive looking ornaments, neatly spaced, replace them. We are in the stylish and expensive home of Emma and Rick. Music cuts)

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