WE live in an ever-changing world – mobile phones, the internet, electronic cigarettes and football referees wielding cans of shaving foam, to name but four wonders of the modern age.
What next eh? My money’s on the electronic pint.
Pubs handing out foam-filled plastic pint containers that when tipped to your lips flash blue and green and spray a lager-flavoured mist into the back of your gullet.
The mist will be alcohol-free, of course, but consist of chemicals that, after the fifth pint, induce the overwhelming desire to wear a traffic cone on your head and eat kebabs.
Never happen? Actually, scientists are already working on a synthetic alcohol substitute developed from chemicals similar to Valium.
What do you mean it won’t catch on? They said that about the hovercraft, didn’t they … I rest my case. When you have kids, the future becomes a concern.
And by the future, I include the immediate future, which can, being a parent, pass you by.
After years nose-deep in nappies and soiled underwear, you suddenly look up to find the world has moved on without you.
A reader sent me one of the entrance guidelines for a Newcastle bar and restaurant this week.
‘Fancy dress is not permitted in the venue,’ was the first stipulation.
Seems reasonable enough. If you’re operating a public house hoping to exude a touch of class, an army of Smurfs and Teletubbies downing pints does not look good.
But the stipulation continues... ‘prior to 8pm,’ is says.
Ah, so it’s okay after that. An open door policy to men in gorilla suits after the watershed – I wonder what message they’re trying to send out?
The guidelines go on. ‘Inflatables are permitted only at the management’s discretion.’
Inflatables? Why would you be taking inflatables into a pub? And what kind of discretion will the management be exercising? Well, let me enlighten you ...
‘Any [inflatables] that are considered as vulgar or offensive will be refused and their deflation or destruction requested.’
Well, that’s me told. I’ll leave my 9ft inflatable penis at home this weekend.
And so I should. The guidelines continue: “This includes blow-up dolls and blow-up body parts.’
As a measure of modern city nightlife, these dress code restrictions speak volumes.
I mention this only as a parent who will one day have to question the types of establishments my offspring will be frequenting.
I have two boys, aged 13 and 10. In five years time I thought I’d be doing the fatherly thing by pointing out to my eldest that he may not get into a club wearing trainers. How far behind the times am I?
Presumably, in the future, I’ll be pointing out that he may not get into a pub dressed as Saddam Hussein and should think twice about that pair of blow-up comedy breasts.
Worried? Pass me that electronic tumbler of syntho-whisky. What do you mean it’s not fully charged?!?
l Which do you fear most: the future or the here and now? And what great inventions can you think of that will transform your life. Inflatable newspapers anyone? Send your ideas to Richard at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @DickyO. Or jump into you hovercraft and drop them off at Echo House, Pennywell, Sunderland SR4 9ER.