Friday, 22 October 2010

Great Scott!!

Today is the birthday of Christopher Lloyd, known to many film fans as Doctor Emmet Brown of the Back to The Future Trilogy.

In tribute, I dug out this Sooan Sids column by Ernest Walker Marwick which was published by the Orkney Herald on the 26th of May 1959.

It is a short piece of fiction set in Orkney 2011. In this alternative future, towns have no names, churches have no use and the town of Kirkwall is covered by a concrete roof which doubles as a car park. Mothers leave their children to grow up in incubato-schools, the citizens of Orkney consume pills and vitamin water at an eato-refresho and the spire of St Magnus Cathedral has been removed to make way for a helicopter port.

There is also a healthy smattering of Anti-American feeling throughout with the unsympathetic, pro-progress character beginning her sentences with 'Gee' and a comparison between the replacement of old buildings with new and the gold teeth of Americans: "Quite, quite incongruous and Oh so ugly." Nice.

Mr Marwick need not have worried. Although some town-centre gardens sadly have been sacrificed for car parks, the buildings on the main streets are, for the most part, sympathetic and appropriate. His fearful predictions of 'big yellow signs' and flashing advertising hoardings have also not come to pass.

We still do not have a MacDonalds in Orkney which is, quite frankly, an amazing achievement as even tiny Tazmanian backwaters seem to have a franchise and the lack of advertising space is also to be commended. We do have a big, shiny new Tescos though which few can resist.

Damn you Tescos with your spacious aisles, cheap shoes and vast array of napkins and party hats...

Article reference D31/47/7/56 or Orkney Herald 26th May 1959.

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