Last week, Michael Gove announced potential plans to scrap GCSEs and replace them with O Levels as part of the Government’s ‘Antiquated doesn’t have to mean out-dated’ campaign, aiming to get us back to the days of Maggie Thatch. Because it’s not enough to just think like it’s the 1980s for the Tories; they want to physically be there as well. We may as well just properly go for it and get the cane, chalkboard and institutionalised discrimination back, too.
Despite loud opposition to the plans, we at Shouting at Cows love retro stuff like this. We just wander around wearing shitloads of knitwear everywhere and listen to the Beatles every fucking day, ’cause… like… erm… vintage… and retro… and that. So, as an addition to this crackpot idea, we have looked at further ways for Gove to transport us to an era when he, and his party, felt at home.
1) Scrap Playstations; bring back cup ‘n’ ball.
Kids these days have no respect. They don’t. They really bloody don’t. The boys with their hoodies and ASBOs; the girls with their ‘Croydon facelifts’ – our youth at some point went horribly wrong. (Or something. I can’t quite remember. It’s hard to keep up with tabloid hand-wringing these days. I tend to just talk about national service for a bit and people suddenly think I’m the voice of reason.) We need to acclimatise these kids to a better era, one where children respected their teachers (due to threat of the cane), their elders (due to threat of the slipper), and religious leaders (due to threat of…well…you know…). So why not discard these “shoot ‘em all up-side the head” games, with their blood and guns and prostitution, and replace them with a timeless classic – cup ‘n’ ball!
Hours of fun can be had by trying to get the ball in the cup. Oooooh, it missed. Oooooooh, it hit the rim. Ooooh, it…you know…moved along the string for a bit. Either way, ball in a cup is the only way we can keep our future generations out of a young offenders’ institution. Well, I think it’s the only way. Like I say, I only skim the tabloids.
2) Forget flash cars; the Austin Allegro is a real drive.
The problem with flash cars is that they take the fun out of driving. “Ooooh, I went 0-50mph in 4 seconds.” Big whoop. There’s no joy in that. The real fun in driving is from breaking down on the M1 hard shoulder, and asking a lorry driving from Halesowen if he has a jump lead and a map. The Austin Allegro does that. It puts the “brrr” in “brrr, it’s fucking cold in this car since the heating packed up”. It puts the ‘Vroom’ in ‘There’s very little vroom in the back. Can you PLEASE move your seat forward?”. It really is the ultimate driving experience.
3) Calculators are silly. The Abacus is the way forward.
I don’t know about you, but for me, the heart was taken out of mathematics by the calculator. Gone were the days when a problem could be solved by a humongous sheet of cross-squared paper, covered in scribbles, algorithms and long division. That was the beauty of maths. Now, it’s just a cold, soulless, mechanical process, which reminds me of a dystopian world where brains are kept in a jar, and they put a price on emotions. It’s a slippery slope…
So, in an attempt to turn the tide back in our favour, how about we destroy one of the strongest blocks of this autocratic, numerical dictatorship, and discard the calculator? Besides, you can do everything you want on an abacus. Well, I have no fucking idea how the thing works. It’s lumps on a few sticks. Looks like a scaled up version of braille, to me. But this revolution isn’t about me. It’s about the kids. Who are our future. So let’s prepare them for the future…with an abacus.
4) Replace traffic cops with Highwaymen.
Not having a go at our glorious boys in blue, but some graduate rozzer with doughnut crumbs all down his top, trying to catch your licence plate with some gun that resembles something from laser quest is HARDLY going to strike fear into the hearts of boy racers up and down the country.
So, in an attempt to curb their enthusiasm for breaking speed restrictions on das Autobahn, we should get highwaymen back to patrol the roads. See, in this PC gone mad culture of soft touch Britain, where criminals are given million pound houses whilst hard working individuals are flogged with a nine-tails at 6pm every day (again, not sure if this is true), the ‘yoof’ have no reason to obey speeding laws on our great nation’s motorways, and are practically encouraged to ram into the back of a Volkswagen Passat at break-neck speeds. No number of “Baby on Board” window stickers will discourage them. Especially not some simpering berk in an all-weather jacket, with a clipboard and laminated ID.
Instead, what we need is highwaymen back on the streets. See, fines have clearly failed to discourage speeding. We need a new approach. And by ‘new’, I mean a method outlawed years ago for being so barbaric. A bit of raping and pillaging on the M3 would SLASH the number of accidents that take place on Britain’s major transit routes. I mean, there’s no ‘facts’ to back this up, but I would guess that it is at least 134.2% true.
5) Replace email with carrier pigeons.
I don’t know about you, but I find emails incredibly passé these days. Bash on keys -> Attach file -> Click ‘send’. Sorry, but I refuse to believe that the human mind has been culminated to such an extent, that we believe this is a profound way to spend our time. And if I want to send a heart-felt gambit to a long lost love, I’m not going to send her a fucking tweet, am I? To be honest, it doesn’t matter what you’re sending – love-letters, birthday cards, a gas bill – the moment will be irrefutably improved by throwing open your bedroom windows over a soft focus shot with some gentle piano in the background, whilst you enthusiastically release a pigeon back into the wild. It will bring a sense of verve back to communication that has been somewhat lacking for far too long.
6) Forget ‘continents’, let’s try and get Pangaea back.
At some point in history, our land mass split apart. For no apparent reason. Was it tectonic plates? Was it an earthquake? Did they just have a fall out, in the style of those Dawson’s River kids? Who knows, but the fact is they did, and it’s been an absolute ball-ache ever since to try and get around. There’s nothing more depressing than flying outside Europe over miles of sea, looking down at endless miles of vacuous water and just thinking; “This is completely unnecessary”.
Recreating Pangaea resolves many issues -
1) Shorter flying distances.
2) Everywhere in the world is accessible on foot.
I see no reasons against it.
7) iPhone? One word, 4 numbers – Nokia 3210.
These days you can’t walk more than three inches from your front door without seeing some eejit bustling along a crowded street, mindlessly plugged into his phone. Problem is that phones have become too sophisticated. They are too good, now. They are like scaled down computers. Why would you want to take the office experience into your personal life? The majority of the population spend 7.5 hours a day reading things on a screen, then the minute they leave the office, they use their spare to read thing on an EVER SO SLIGHTLY SMALLER screen. The term busman’s holiday has practically become a lower middle-class lifestyle choice.
The Nokia 3210 was the height of technology. It toed a fine line between function and fashion. It had all the reservation of the out of office experience, as well as a savvy & entertaining side to keep you stimulated. That savvy side came in the form of Snake.
It was a Snake. It ate things and became bigger. You had to stop it colliding into its own sprawling frame. Sounds simple, but in reality it was an absolute bastard. If I had a pound for every pulsating moment I’d had during a game of snake, I’d have about 4 pounds. Which doesn’t sound like a lot, but i could use that 4 pound bounty to get a bus into town, and purchase a can of Tizer, a Sunday paper and a scratch-card from a corner shop, in which I could potentially win a larger cash prize. Fact.
The numbers don’t lie. And for the 3210, they spell success.
8) Quite Simply; The Fax Machine
Just a visual treat of technology. Never matched. Never bettered.