Features Ed Blog: Back To The Future

Alex Dempster-Corlett © back to the future

A few recent occurrences leave Alex thinking about the film “Back To The Future” and changing times…

On our way through Cupar in Fife recently, we passed this glorious Delorean parked behind the Co-op. As anyone who has seen the classic Eighties film series “Back To The Future” will know, it’s the chassis used by Doc Brown to create his time machine. I wonder if they’d skipped forwards from the Eighties to pick up some shopping?

It’s one a series of a things recently that’s made me quite time-conscious!

Television series “Stranger Things” sent two Eighties songs to the top of the charts recently. “Running Up That Hill” by Kate Bush, and the timeless “Master of Puppets” by Metallica. Now, both of those songs were released nearly 40 years ago.

In “Back To The Future”, the characters travel 30 years into the past and find a different world. In the sequel, they travel 30 years into the future and find a dystopian version of their hometown run by the school bully from the Eighties.

The More Things Change…

I remember watching that film many times throughout my youth. The Fifties and the Eighties seemed like different worlds. Who knew back then what 2015 would be like? It seemed so futuristic! We recently wrote about movie tech predictions that actually came true.

30 years ago doesn’t seem that far now, and I wonder how much has really changed? Touch-screen technology has altered the way we connect with computers, I suppose. But I don’t think the music would be as wildly different now as it was between Eighties’ Van Halen and Fifties’ Chuck Berry. Maybe I’m too old to notice…

Anyway, it felt strange to know that a 30-year gap — as shown in the film — is well within my lived experience now. I wonder what Nineties me would make of my 2022 clothes!

Climate change is certainly new. I remember the hasty banning of CFCs and the hole in the ozone layer, but we were only just learning about the wider scale of the problem. It’s something we hear about every day now.

The Podcast

I’m also acutely aware of the size of cultural change when reading stories or being on the panel of our podcast. In the romances, marriage is always the story’s happy ending, as opposed to a simple dinner date! I’ve always found that bit hard to swallow in the old stories. A spark of attraction, however sudden or brief, must end in marriage. It’s a big story arc — and hard to squeeze convincingly in a short story!

The language is always of the upper classes, betraying the background of the short story writers. This wasn’t the case with our poetry, though. Some folk may have joined us in Glasgow back in 2019, when Professor Kirstie Blair from the University of Strathclyde talked about working folk finding a voice through poetry.

30 Years From Now

It’s hard to know whether to be optimistic or not about what’s yet to come. They certainly weren’t in “Back To The Future”! But I guess they were right about one thing – the little changes and actions we make today are what will decide the shape of things in 2052. I’ve no regrets about the choices I made in 1992, so here’s hoping I can say the same about the ones I’m making now!

Stop and enjoy the present with this blog about wildlife wonders to look out for this coming autumn!

Alex Corlett

Alex is the "Friend's" Features Editor, working with the talented Features Team to bring you everything from cryptic crosswords to financial advice, knitting patterns to international travel and inspirational real life stories. Always on the hunt for a new feature idea, Alex also enjoys cycling and loves a good tea room.