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Earth: The Remake

The planet has jumped the shark; shonky plotlines, bad dialogue and poor production values. Time for a remake, says Colin Montgomery

'Reality is that, which when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away’. So said Philip K Dick in his 1978 essay How to Build a Universe that Doesn’t Fall Apart Two Days Later. To be honest we could do with Phil’s advice right now. Things are falling apart. Nothing seems real. A mere reflection of what is. But even that’s badly done. Less Plato’s Cave. More the reintroduction of a previously killed-off character from a soap played by someone completely new.

Jim from Neighbours was the first time that hit me hard. He died some miserable soap death. Then reappeared some years later. Played by someone completely different with a wig and false teeth. Actually, I made all of that up.

Which only goes to show how slippery this thing called reality is. Philip K Dick’s treatise referenced above. And I refer you to it. He may well have written it on speed but it still makes more sense that our current reality.

I’ll resist the urge to mine the farcical Glasgow Willy Wonka Experience at this point – we were chock-a-block with articles on it as the perfect metaphor for our ‘How It Started/How It’s Going’ present. I laughed long and hard at it all though; love a good disaster story.

My partner has oft found me giggling uncontrollably after reading of poor-quality Winter Wonderlands, with smoking elves and angry Santas, in dog-shit strewn fields behind ageing industrial estates.

The latter seems a Paradise compared to the hellscape we are spinning towards. I say ‘towards’; we’re already there. All it will take is for the orange fiend to triumph in the States in November for all bets to be off. He could well do it too.

Reason has retreated. Arise the idiocracy.

Not the ‘Jim from Neighbours’ remake. And certainly not what they did to Tom and Jerry cartoons in the 60s – Fred Quimby era only please. Similarly, why the hell did they remake John Carpenter’s The Fog? The 1980 one was a belter. All dry ice and glowing eyes (what more d’you need to scare the bejesus out a 10 year-old?). Then again - getting all meta - Carpenter himself remade The Thing in 1982. And despite the carping, it became a classic.

Proof then that remakes – done right – can be even better than the original. Surely, we could do much the same with this tatty old planet of ours? Although it’s not the planet that’s tatty – it’s us. The planet is Norma Desmond. It’s still ‘big’. We, the species that occupies it, have come up short. Way short. So aye, time to remake the whole shebang. And as I’ve just suggested it, I get to play Director, Producer, Casting Agent and Runner. All in one.

Controversially, I was nearly seduced by the idea of setting the remake a bit closer to the sun or something. But I might just stick with the same place, i.e. here - the third rock out. It has much going for it. Oxygen, water, and a habitable environment for a start. All of it being so cheaply squandered too. But it’s my remake time. And I make the rules. So there.

Trees, Mountains, Rivers & Stuff
Move over God, and step forward Bob Ross - he of The Joy of Painting – resurrected to great effect during log down. Because old Bob knocked out a cracking landscape in his time on the old Earth. Plus, to the best of my knowledge, people and countries don’t fight wars and kill each other because they disagree on what type of Bob Ross is best. So, Bob for the win.

Belief Systems
Really? Really, though. After all the pish since mudskippers slithered out of the swamp and evolved, we’ve been shafted by belief systems. OK… if you have to have one we’ll task early 80s MOR rockers Journey to oversee it. Their ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ was harmless. Quite catchy even. ‘Hang on to that feelin’.

No contest – has to be Henson. Muppet animals, fish, birds and insects and stuff. Plus they don’t all have to look like Animal the Drummer. I’m talking the sort of comical things that, even if they’re biting, chomping, stinging, pecking or poisoning you to death, you still won’t mind. You’d die happy being savaged by a Muppet wouldn’t you?

Culture and Aw That
A toughie. Imposing a culture is never really a success. Sure, it might take hold. But festering resentment follows. Politicians take note – even soi-disant liberal ones.

Sorry. Not going there. That’s not to traduce the idea of political engagement per se. Or elected representatives. They should be able to go about their business unmolested, unharried, and unthreatened. Rather it is to stop us descending down that corrupt rabbit hole. Again.

The one that’s made this planet worthy of a remake. Until there’s a sequel… ■


It’s not the planet that’s tatty, like Norma Desmond it is still ‘big’, humanity has come up short



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