Here's a column I wrote for the legendary REAL OVERDOSE zine years ago, I'll readily admit the writing isn't great, but hopefully I've improved a bit in recent years!
I have been sent a message from the future from myself and I have asked myself to show the letter to the readers of Real Overdose,,, I want to take a moment of your time to explain a little bit about life here in the future. Party to serve as a warning to mankind, partly just because I can. As I write this I am aboard what is referred to as the fastest and most reliable transport network in the modern world. The truth is that I was waiting in the boarding area for two hours before a module was available with enough space to save me from having to travel like cattle. The campaigning done by the government of yesteryear to encourage more people onto public transport worked excellently. The problem we are facing is now so many people use public transport that the infrastructure (that has basically been here for over 150 years) cannot cope. In retrospect it would now appear that the government of the day was pushing public transport as a vote winner, once the vote was won it was only a matter of time before we the travelling public found out that piss poor investment and profiteering transport companies would leave us with a system with all the flair of a camel with mange and the reliability of a woollen condom. Not to mention a travelling experience akin to being trapped inside a maraca filled with human beans! I personally believe that public transport is still a relevant and very important thing, but my enthusiasm is battered somewhat every time I have to use it! Unfortunately even now here in the future due to the profiteering and 'franchising opportunities' public transport is still virtually non-existent in rural communities. In these places people find that they still have to resort to using automobiles. The more environmentally sound among these folk find themselves with a dilemma; They can rely on public transport to get around, which rarely offers them the opportunity to leave their village with any kind of certainty about when they might return. OR they can purchase an environmentally damaging car and pay heavy fuel tax, road tax, tax on their insurance premiums and VAT on car parts. Lets face it, even before this situation arose we could all see the stark hypocrisy of the government message to embrace public transport (with particular regards to rural communities). Looking back we can now see that they were basically saying that in the rural communities people had no choice, they would either be taxed to high heaven and effectively punished for owning their own transport, or they would have no real transport at all. But where did all that extra tax go? Because public transport is no longer owned by the state surely that means it didn't go into investing in improving the infrastructure? Before anyone screams hypocrite at me, yes I do have a car, but unfortunately so far public transport will not assist me in running my own business or transporting the stupidly heavy black boxes that my band needs to ritually humiliate ourselves on stage. Here in the future we are facing a new problem. We have now found out that there is only enough oil left in the world to last for the next 15 years. For the first time we face the realistic possibility that our children will grow up in a world free of petrol exhaust fumes, but our children had better not have any desire to travel on a daily basis! This is the future, this is 2003.