Monday, 11 December 2017


That tyrant Sam Goldwyn, the film tycoon, who flourished in a Hollywood age prior to its sexual harassment scandals said this: “It’s difficult to make predictions especially about the future.” Yet we must try because we live in a world of storytelling where ‘narrative-drive’ is all and business leaders regard themselves as born-again Aaron Sorkins.

Recently a friend asked with the urgency of a character in the TV series, ‘Victoria’ when parliament was in the midst of the Corn Law crisis: “Richard. Do you think the government will fall next week?”

I paused and thought … I don’t know and I don’t care because the malevolent hand that’s writing our script has lost its touch. There are too many cliff-hanger dramas, there’s too much noise, just too much …

In a week when the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Defence Secretary tussled, almost coming to blows (more East Enders than West Enders) and in a world where Trump’s finger inches further towards the nuclear button you tell me what’s next?

Predicting the future is difficult? Even for computers it would seem. In Australia the hitherto faultless Umpire Decision Review System in Test Cricket has been seriously questioned by many cricket commentators. Here the question is where a cricket ball would have gone in the next 3 or 4 feet of travel. Even that isn’t that easy.

I see with gloom that the market is awash with new alcohol free products, gin, whisky, beer and cider - Seedlip, Teetotal, St Peters, Kopparbeg and so on. And that’s just for starters. (Happy Christmas everyone.) Cars are beginning to look like Victorian horses - on the verge of redundancy.

So the future is a carless society, free of alcohol and one where smoke of any kind - tobacco, coal or bonfire will be illegal. New political parties will form….and evaporate. Labour will purify itself of what they call “Blairite Zombies” - that is centrists - and become the darling of a reducing but passionate minority. The Tories will implode (again). Europe will disintegrate and we’ll be glad we left. Then it will reintegrate and we’ll be sad we left. The political landscape will just become more of a mess.  That pendulum will swing to and fro increasingly erratically and the fickle finger of fate will stop and point where least expected.

Back to a real storyteller - Aaron Sorkin. In his series “The Newsroom” Jeff Daniels plays a news anchor who can't take the bullshit anymore about America being the greatest country in the world during a panel discussion and tells it like it is - a weakening, contradicting and failing country that’s lost its moral compass.

What’ll happen next is unknowable. So we must go with the flow, be kind, true to our beliefs and values. We shall be in a pickle if all we worry about is money, status and how others see us.
2018 will not be easy. That, at least, seems a safe prediction.


Michael said...

Great post thank you Richard.
OUr recent trip to Venice was fabulous. Thanks for the inspiration. Did you catch the fantastic Damien Hirst exhibition when you were there last?

John Scott said...

Richard. Very well put indeed and absolutely on the button. Thank you. John