The Grey Destiny, Prologue II


One of the oddest things about human history was its way of constantly reinventing itself.

On one side of time, the past happened. Things were made, people loved, dreamed, and killed, technology created and destroyed. The other side is the future, of all things yet to happen, or, to one person flying around in a blue police box, has already happened. This proves that the past is a subjective thing and happens to whoever is observing it. Still, things happen. Things are rediscovered. Times and places are acquired back with the finesse of an expert cat burglar.

The year is 2052, and it was the Gilded Age once again. Of jazz, that is.

The history books tell it this way:

After the War of 2010, something that was hushed up by many people (take your pick of who you want to believe hushed it up: the Brooklyn conspiracy theorists in their dark green tweed suits, the jeweled belly-boppers of New Taiwan, Las Vegas showgirls, the list goes on), humanity picked up what shards of society that was left, or in some cases given, to them and rebuilt, something that is referred to as ‘The Recovery’. The latest generation of society, dead tired of what was known as the Idiot’s Music, discovered the music of the 1920s to 80s: The sax of Coltrane, the guitar of Clapton, the serpentine tones of Vaughn, the brass of Nicks. Many kids were weaned on Hancock and Calloway while others fed on a steady diet of Elvis and The Beatles.

Twenty or so years after the war, the current tastes lead more to the smooth tones and the polished harmonies that only saxophones and trumpets could deliver. Guitars were replaced by upright basses. The synth and computer tones were pooh-poohed by the critics of the day, saying that only the piano could ever succeed where all else had failed; that did not stop the electric musicians, who had turned to, for them, the pure sound waves and the various forms of the aforementioned tones. Rap and hip-hop musicians, finally realizing that they have been out of fashion for the past twenty or so years, slowly went back to their roots of soul, evolving into swiftly-turning poets of wordplay and verbal linguistics, usually punctuated with clarinets and xylophone.

Classical music made a small comeback. However, during this time, it was taken with what was known as the Eclectic Players, a loosely formed group of musicians and singers blending in anything and everything into their music: Bach and Mozart skipped and skidded with various sounds from traffic jams, mingled with Brazilian ska, and so forth. It was a huge hit with the children of the age, and the critics grudgingly contended that this absurdist take on music was, according to one, “pretty nifty, and could become the next big thing in the coming years.”

The clothing reflected the current return of style. The loose pants and the baggy shirts of the Single Digit decade were replaced with classy suits and snazzy dresses. Inspired by such past Hollywood stars of Greta Garbo and Cary Grant, they now reflected a sense of clean-cut urbanity that agreed with many people. The brightly colored zoot suits of the 1940’s came back into style to an unusual extent, showing off many people quite readily; the suits were usually accompanied with porkpie hats and pocket watches. Of course, modern fashion kept marching apace. Gone were the modesties and inhibitions exhibited by pre-war fashions. Instead, a growing trend of designers embraced styles to be more daring, more revealing; the pubic displays of Ruth Bradwell were infamous in that respect. That did not stop the public from using old-circle fashions, like jeans and cotton t-shirts, though.

By 2030, the technology levels exceeded the pre-war conditions, giving forth marvel after marvel for society to, er, marvel over. With the help of the techs, the economy stabilized enough so that poverty was usually uncommon and swiftly becoming rare in a few cities, letting researchers there to achieve greater levels of technological advancements, leading to roll up televisions, quintuple-filtered gin, and the ever popular Kamas.

Kamas, short for Kamakiriads, were the latest brand of automobiles. Similar to Corvettes and the with the same wingspan of a Delorean, they cut a large swath in the country’s transportation, replicating with buses, mingling with trains and subways, to make it almost the number one in all forms of transport. The name, according to the inventors, was due thanks to a 90’s music album done by rock singer, Donald Fagen, who apparently gained much appeal during the 2020’s.

Although the Kamas were never considered the pinnacle of the car, they were very appealing in many situations. The sophistication and the allure of their lines appealed to the art cliques, whereas their on-board electrics wooed the Techs and the Tweakers. Moreover, the fact that the car had enough space to have a complete bar – including assorted tumblers and glasses – fascinated the dandies and the well-dressed middle class.

Speakeasies became the place of choice for many of the people. Although no law prohibited alcohol this time, the name stuck, bringing to mind well-stocked bars and delicious musical riffs. The classic dances of the previous century, the Continental, the Foxtrot, the Quick Step, returned with flair. The samba, mambo, and such exotic dances also came back and interbred with the urban moves of the 90s and the 00’s to form novel steps like the Hypno and the Criss-Cross.

By 2050, the world started to become something resembling the times a century before; although, to quote the critic McFallen McTrolp, it was “far grander, and far more epic”, a thought that was shared by plenty of the contemporaries. Prosperity, coupled with something that resembled peace, was the lifestyle of the day. Lead by the sciences and arts that blossomed in the years before, humanity could strive for the more aesthetic pursuits such as philosophy and trying to win Trivial Pursuit, the 2000’s version.

However, such things cannot stay forever, no matter how perfect. Time is an admixture of order and chaos, and the future is always balanced on the point of a pin.

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