Fear and Loathing in the Millenium Dome

A Journey to the Heart of the Millenium Dream

Chapter 6 - Good to Talk?

We head for the mighty TALK stand hosted by a telecommunictions multinational! Thirty foot high, this mighty perspex box would come up nearly to Godzillas knee! Every inch of it has the word "talk" written on it, big and small.

...talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk...

...talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk...

...talk talk why would a telecom company be so keep on me talking?


Suddenly I find myself disillusioned. Could it be that the companies which sponsored The Dome did so for less the altruistic reasons? Hearts heavier we enter.

We're herded into a dark room with a gaggle of gormless looking tourists.

"Hmm. TV Screens. We could have stayed home and watched TV."

"Shh!" says the tourist herder.

The room darkens, the screens light up.

T A L K !

...proclaim the screens.


"So you do want us to talk?" I quip to the sshing girl.

"Shh." says a particularly pompus tourist.

The Dome-Lackey shh's him.

My consultant shh's her. I giggle.

"Will you two fucking shut up?" she mutters at us.


"O.K. That's it, everybody out." says the girl, looking rasther pointedly at us.

We stroll out, down, around and finally have to take an escalator back up. Only to find an official looking sign;


What could we do? We queue. Treknobabble about the future of communication spews from concealed speakers;

"In the future we will all have digital representations to allow us to interact in CyberSpace.", the recording somehow manages to pronounce both a capital 'C' and a capital 'S'. "These electronic extensions of ourselves are called Avatars. They allow you to interact with futuristic software called Agents which can do many amazing things for you. Like the agents in the Matrix, only nice."

Tedium, Treknobabble and hallucigens. Not good bedmates. I have an image of the future. Agents can only ever say YES or MNYA, which is like no but covers probably not and dunno. Our sometime accomplice Dr. Nick wrote such an agent, being the kind of chap to do these things. In my vision Nick's agent has become the ultimate oracle of the virtual world. Sitting in state, shaven headed and wearing a ceremonial trenchcoat.

A young Avatar approaches the oracle. It asks if the sky is really blue. YES. A lesser agent asks if there will ever be another Sabrina/Buffy crossover episode. YES. An aspiring Artificial Intelligence asks if the world is flat. YES. Everyone loves and worships Nicks agent, the Delmonte agent which only ever says YES.

"Please step this way now, sir." says an assistant. I get jumpy when people call me sir, it usually means they are about to ask me to leave. Although the situation looks alright for the time being. "We've scanned your body and can now generate your Avatar."

We go into the Avatar Room. It's so fucking lame. All that kit and what do they do with it? We see ourselves on E.T. infested bikes peddling through the sky. Impressed we are not looking. A rather discheveled employee beckons us into a sideroom.

He shuts the door behind us. We look worried, what does he want with us? Why did we so easily allow ourselves to become trapped?

"The uniform?" he says, "Don't worry about it. This is just my day job. Coding gome-apps dosn't really pay the bills." We nod in agreement and sympathy, there but for the grace of God go we.

"But," he continues, "I manage to keep myself reasonably amused." He grins and starts to dig into a pile of technokipple. He pulls out a black games console, possibly a PlayStation and hunts out matching black control fish. Everybody likes spooky black technology. The hacker-in-uniform recables a little, initialises alot and finally a wall screen lights up with a title screen;

(Phins hacked version. Alpha+)

"Oooo." we says as he selects a rather unofficial menu and we see my consultants body mapped onto Blanka, a kind of Brazillian hunchbacked incredible hulk.

"Aah." as my image is wrapped onto that fiend of children everywhere, Freddy K.

Eventually we get bored of rending, maiming and dismembering each others visage although the 'Lookout Point' bonus level where you have to slice and dice a slutty teenage school girl and her boyfriend - that was pretty amusing.

We bid that kindly soul goodbye. At Phins suggestion we head for the demonstration area where people can try out the latest hightech telecommunications technology.

Kids are talking into little microphones and whenever they say a questionable word or phrase, such as Cocaine, I.R.A., Devolution or Windsor, a red light comes on to show that the machine spotted it. The suggested test word is Eschalon but it's not an easy word for a kid to immanentize.

There is only so much fun to be had shouting subversive words into a microphone. It get old very quickly. If only some had told Rage Against the Machine. We try to figure out the best route to get out.

The way is acrros a balcony, well stocked with ruggedised Internet terminals. We allow ourselves a little bit more geekery as someone had set up the system to prevent you from looking at anything other than officially sanctioned sites. I'm not exactly firing on all cylinders and it takes me the best part of a minute to brutalise it into showing the Temple ov thee Lemur pages.

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