Express & Star

Andy Richardson: Predictions from 1923 were not far off hitting the mark

So how’s the diet? Going well, still sticking off the chocolates or did you demolish the left-over tub of Celebrations before you started cutting back?

Radiowave-powered cars?

And how are you doing with Dry January, or Veganuary, or Must Stop Wearing Black January?

All going well or fallen off the wagon? Both. Wow.

You’re a one-off. Imagine that – it’s as ridiculous as thinking the wholesale price of gas and oil is now below the price it was before Russia invaded Ukraine but we’re still paying through the nose for energy because big energy firms are ripping us all off. Oh, hang on…

While there are those whose Dry January began with a not-so-dry g’n’t the moment the clock struck 12, I’m pleased to report I have kept up with my annual list of resolutions – not to make any resolutions.

And so I have gorged myself on a very nice marmalade cake, eaten the stash of chocolates that my fabulously chocolate-loving sister bought for me while deciding not to go for a run on the treadmill last night because, well, you know, there was chocolate to be eaten and a marmalade cake to look forward to.

Here’s the thing. Resolutions are nuts. They don’t work.

What does work is small, achievable goals; stuff like getting off the sofa and going further than the kitchen, or doing five push-ups before trying to do 50, or eating a few chocolates but not the whole box.

And, though moderation has never been my middle name, I’m pleased to say I’m still with the programme and despite the stash of chocolates, the treadmill has seen enough action to suggest I’m more likely to end 2023 slightly slimmer than slightly larger. Hope dies last, and all of that.

Still, as a new year chugs into action, it’s time to make our predictions – while looking back at what forecasters from 1923 imagined we’d be doing in 2023.

Women were predicted to be shaving their heads and blackening their teeth while men were forecast to be wearing curls.

Watch an episode of EastEnders, and you’d have to say that some of that came true.

The Minneapolis Journal forecast that gasoline cars would have been replaced by cars running on radiowaves, which, if you look at the work of a certain Elon Musk, isn’t too far from the truth.

The skies, it said, would be filled with myriad craft flying over well-defined routes.

And for those who live near to the flightpath between Birmingham Airport and Benidorm, you’d have to say that’s true.

The decline of beauty contests was another forecast from sooth-sayers in 1923, who predicted that all of us would be beautiful – meaning there would be no need for contests.

Trying to select the winner among a cohort of gorgeous human forms would be pointless – with so much loveliness on display it would be impossible to pick a winner.

Life expectancy, meanwhile, was due to top 100 by 2023 – and, in truth, we were on course.

Utensils – I’m thinking forks – were due to be made of pulp and cement by 2023, to make the most of vegetation and stone in its varying states of decay. Which proves that while the forecaster who kinda predicted the transition from petrol cars to electric cars was bang on the money, some of those making predictions couldn’t have been more wrong.

It’s hard to believe the person behind that forecast knew what they were writing – ‘pulps and cements’ – let alone had the competence or foresight to look beyond the end of their nose, or into the deep future.

If we were to predict our lives in 2123, what might we imagine? Inhabitants on the moon and Mars, an earth experiencing devastation and collapse from climate breakdown and Richard Madeley still looking slim and tanned as he hosts Good Morning Britain with Susanna Reid’s great-great-great granddaughter.

The best prediction from 1923 was that the working day would have been reduced to just four hours – sounds great. When does that start?

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.