"Once upon a time, people believed in the future. When I was growing up in England in the 1970s, one of the most popular programmes on TV was called 'Tomorrow's World'. Every week scientists would talk about how new and wonderful inventions would make our life better. Sociologists talked of an impending leisure society, where our biggest problem would be what to do with all the spare time created by increasing automation..."
Neil Transpotine (History Is Made At Night)
"The future we were sold in the 1970's/1980's where robots would be our servants
and we would hop into our hovering cars in the twenty-first-century techno
cities never quite materialised. Here we stand, twenty years on from seeing
chip-shop-chips on compact discs and things are the same but worse as our
optimism of the future has been eroded away collectively.
'Tomorrows World' never came."
Leyland J. Kirby, from recent press release
An interesting point, aside from the convergence of thought in the two above texts, concerns the stylistic differences between the two youtube clips. The first is the opening titles for Tomorrow's World as it appeared in the 1970s - a jaunty, exciting, endearing and kind-hearted view of the future with a bright easy listening soundtrack. The second clip shows the new title sequence introduced at the start of the 80s - cool, spacey and mysterious, propelled by a synthetic euro-disco beat that informs the work of modern day retro-futurist Belbury Poly. What was it about the 80s that demanded such a clean break with the old? Other programmes given quite dramatic overhauls at the time included Top Of The Pops and Dr. Who (with Delia's original theme finally superceded after 17 years). It seems we couldn't wait to leave behind the stylistic signifiers of the '70s. Yet each decade tinted the future with it's own distinct hue. Both promised us a better world. If only...