Friday, 24 March 2017

Time travel.

Yesterday we pretty much gave up on going out anywhere that demanded walking any distance. For a while there was a break in the rain and wind and we had planned a proper walk after checking our internet stuff at the cafe two minutes down the road but when we left there the rain began again. So we just went home and stayed in.

And so we watched the first half of "2001: A Space Odyssey". Looking for something on DVD to watch the other day, we came across a box set of Stanley Kubrick films, most of which we have seen before but which are still worth revisiting, as they say. We saw "2001: A Space Odyssey" on the big screen when it first came out in 1968. 2001 seemed a long way in the future at that point. Now it seems quite a long way in the past.

Somewhat diminished on a laptop screen compared with on the big screen, the opening is still impressive. We are hoping to work out this time what the business with the black monoliths is all about. There's a splendid optimism about space travel in the film, probably in the whole of that time period. After the first steps on the moon, it was assumed that we would go on to establish outposts all over space, with space shuttles moving between them rather like planes with space hostesses instead of air hostesses. Space shuttles with rows of empty seats and running with just a few passengers. How different the reality with budget airlines cramming passengers in and routes being cancelled if not used with sufficient regularity!

Looking at the craft the characters in the film travel in and the space stations they work in, I was reminded of the Playmobil and Lego spacecraft toys pur children had in the early eighties, no doubt based on films and tv series rather than the reality of space travel that wasn't happening.

It's interesting to watch a film like this one, where the computer which runs the ship grows progressively more cranky and bossy especially so as the last book we read in the Winston Smith Book Club, organised by a good friend of mine, was Asimov's "I, Robot", where we witness the development of ever more sophisticated robots. And by the end of the book the robots are subtly controlling the world, manipulating the humans so that they believe they are still making the important decisions! Scary stuff! 

Would we be better off with robots running the world? Maybe so!

 However, I am putting such philosophical questions aside. The sun is shining and we are going put to lunch - taking our umbrellas though as the clouds are still around. My breadshop weather witch tells me that the climate has gone crazy this year. Last week they had early summer temperatures. This week it is chillier than it has been for most of the winter here.

Maybe the robots could sort that as well!

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