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A Day in 2018: #10

Categories: General, Stories Composed by OTB Participants
Date: 30 April 2008

8:00 AM

My two grandchildren (2.5, 4.9) arrive and head straight for their multi-modality (B1 and B2) seats in front of the digital High Definition, wide (3-D) screen that what was once our family calls ‘RKO’ (‘Reality, Knowledge, Otherworlds’). They call up their own programme (orally) and proceed to co-perform a Dr Seuss number from the musical kids’ show by playing their own melodies on their multi-coloured keyboards (these pop-up from the front console of B1 and B2). Of course, they have a helmet cum head-phone apparatus to allow them avoid each other’s clangers.

This consciousness-claiming diversion allows me to work in my study, where I’m dictating my memoirs into a simultaneous self-publishing (electronic and hard-copy) computer facility. I’m trying to describe a research project I once worked on that produced scenarios about the future of something that old folk remember as ‘television’.

(Since the global depression of 2010, my wife – we don’t call them ‘partners’ any more – has had to go back to work. Because she’s well educated, she cleans the studios at Macdonald’s University of Techno-Aesthetics, situated in what looks suspiciously like the Tower at Broadway. But that is another scenario).

Still, I’ll need to sell a lot of copies of my memoir (so I’ve put in all the sexy bits about ACMA) because the ‘micro’- (make that ‘macro’-) billing for RKO is bloody steep. Still, we download the ABC mostly, and our usage is deducted from the $5,000 paid up front each January by each household that wants to experience Australian programmes, now only found on ‘ABC 10’. So we don’t notice it too much. The ABC is bloody expensive, but it’s the only ‘real-time’ stuff you can get. Still, I’m not nostalgic for the old ‘networks’ and ‘channels’. Anyway, the Gillard Government subsidises those who fall below the poverty line, giving free ABC access and supplying helmets for all school age kids – clown-faced red ones, made by a franchise of Macdonald’s Uni, see above.

11:00 AM

I keep the RKO tuned in to ‘music for all ages’, and find a fantastic simulcast of The Rolling Stones in Baghdad concert. I turn on the quadraphonic (wireless system, of course) in the house and at the pool, as background, so I can keep working on my memoirs. The grand- kids are OK as they are playing virtual school, learning Khmer or Esperanto or something, through B1 and B2. Pity I can’t actually play with them, but I can’t speak Khmer. Anyway, their parents collect them at 1: 00.

7:00 PM

Old habits: I always down-load some news and current affairs stuff from the ABC (though I hate the ads that interrupt the ten minutes-long, multiply distributed -what used to be ‘broadcast’ – bulletin. I used to watch SBS, but Rudd axed it just before he became General Manager of BHP – China.

I then called up (I like to say I ‘invoked’) some other stuff: sport, business, ‘celebrity file’, etc, to round out the hour. Couldn’t watch Kerry O’Brien’s Seniors with Attitude, as it’s only on Friday, but it’s always great because it’s pretty raunchy.

In B2, my wife invoked her preferred news from the BBC and the CBS, while I watched the Russia vs East Timor Davis Cup tie highlights. (She still misses SBS. I still miss Juanita what’s-her-name.)

8:30 PM

We will also experience a movie called up from the ‘entertainment banks’ that used to be called ‘channels’. Only the ABC could be called a ‘channel’ anymore, as it presents a recognisably consistent identity and talks about quaint stuff like ‘Australia’ occasionally. (Still, it’s tough having to put up with Daryl Sommers reading the weather reports.)

Anyway, we settle into B1 and B2 to experience a 3-D immersive version of ‘Atonement’, which we missed ten years ago. That’s what we like, the unlimited archive of great films and documentaries. (Pity you have to watch ten minutes of David and Margaret’s previews before they start!)

10:30 PM

Retire to bed with a pirated ‘electo-livre’ of JM Coetzee’s now banned ‘Disgrace’. An ‘electro-livre’ is a thin plasma screen version, in French, of a novel that the Gillard government won’t let you see on RKO. It’s all Rudd’s fault: he classified everything and banned anything that could have undermined ‘working family values’ or offended the Chinese Censorship Board, now that it’s our biggest audio-visual export market. (But you can get pirated stuff in French from a joint in Cabramatta, just like the old days).

11:30 PM

I nod off while reading a piece on ‘Nano-computers and the 2016 invasion of Iran’ that I found in the local library in a magazine made of beautifully textured, ice-cream coloured paper.