Can you feel the fiery breath of Beelzebub on our faces? Is the air positively thick with frogs? No, thought not. In light of all the doom and gloom merchants relentlessly banging on about Trump, Putin, Assad, King Dong Un each itching to beat the other to hit the big red button marked 'Nuclear Holocaust' I thought it was about time to put a cork in the gloom machine and look at just how unsuccessful these soothsayers of the apocalypse have actually been! Given the chance, most folk would have you believe that the future looms like a large crow perched on our collective windowsill and the bogeymen are lined up round our garden fence! They're out in force like never before, foretelling dark days and wars of attrition all the way to the finishing line. Throwing a wet blanket and a bucket of warm piss on the future, promising horrible times for everyone and his auntie.
Never known to look on the bright side and constantly chirping about how blissfully happy we're all likely to be a bit further down the pike. Still at least we can console ourselves with the thought that these scaremongers are usually barking way up the wrong tree. That's the cast iron law in all of this; when people start making predictions about the future, they're almost certain to come a cropper. For want of a better name I'm calling it 'Corbyn's Rule'. You see, it's the Devils arse of a job trying to crystal ball the future. As the good, the great and the just plain mental have discovered - poets and fools, philosophers and fuckwits, they've all been known to take a pot-shot at the great beyond. Usually with awful results. As the following examples demonstrate beyond all doubt.
BOOK OF REVELATIONS
Written by St. John the Devine near the end of the First Century AD, this is the big cahuna in the wacky world of prophecy. According to the Book Of Revelations (you'll find it in any Craig David bible) a whole lot of heavy shit is coming down real fast, man. But, in typical biblical fashion it's boldly vague about when and where all this bad stuff is going to happen. Whatever - if this St. John bloke is to be believed, at least some of the following events are supposed to occur at some point: Stars will plummet, cities will collapse, fish will be boiled in the sea alive (this will definitely be on a Friday) and people will be amushed by hailstones the size of Christmas puddings. As if that wasn't enough for one day, the four horsemen of the Apocalypse will ride into town, followed closely by a freshly scrubbed Jesus. The Day of Judgement will follow shortly. Dircted by James Cameron with TV rights secured by Sky and BT Sport. Commentary supplied by a recently resurected Terry Wogan.
Born in Provence in 1503, Nostradamus first discovered his 'amazing' gift for prophecy in his teens when he hunched it out that King Henry II of France would suffer a grave injury during a jousting tournament. Lo and behold, his nibs got a splinter in his finger and the medieval red tops went daft! After that, there was no stopping the lad. Most famously he wrote a bunch of books which were probably edited judiciously then grouped together in centuries, which predicted all the big things to come. Including the birth of Napoleon, men on the moon, the poisoning of the pope and Newcastle winning the 1969 Fairs Cup. All very impressive til you actually get down to reading his work, which consists mainly of mad symbols, impenetrable metaphors, made up words and the 16th century equivalent of memes. A load of old horseshit, really. Nostradamus's biggest prediction was that the world would come to an end in July 1999. Well it hasn't has it? Unless there's something that they're not telling us. So we shouldn't worry too much about his future predictions of asteroids hitting Earth (in the year 3742) and the world being eaten by a large shark (an idea plagiarised by the writers of Sharknado 5).
An exception, this one. According to experts, of the 137 predictions or indicators of the 'total surveillance future' envisioned in George Orwell's classic novel, an astonishing 125 have already come to pass. Including the space shuttle, two way video calling, databanks of detailed personal information and self-propelled 'smart' bombs. In fact, the only things Orwell didn't predict were the widespread use of computers, the Hoxton fin haircut and that geezer who got a game for Southampton on the strength of a letter he alleged was written by his cousin, George Weah.
THE EVIL ONE
Predictions that the Antichrist is about to arrive have been going off for donkeys' years. The Bible predicted that the bad guy would come 'in the form of a beast from the sea'. The fifth century book 'Apocalypse Of The Holy Theologian John' was much more precise, declaring that the scoundrel in question would have a gloomy disposition, rough eyebrows, fingers like sickles and the word 'Antichrist' tattooed on his forehead. UKIP can probably relax in that case as there's very little chance of him sneaking in through customs without arousing suspicion. Same goes for the fiend predicted in 'The Story Of The Antichrist' contained in the Book Of Lismore from the 15th century, who had one eye in the middle of his forehead, no upper teeth and no knees, and from whose mouth firey fumes would rise. More recently, various websites have argued that the Antichrist has been/is already with us. Contenders have included Saddam Hussein, the late Ayatollah Khomeni, Colonel Gaddafi and of couse, Prince Charles.
BRAVE NEW WORLD
Like Orwell, Aldous Huxley seems to have had his finger right on the pulse. His best known novel describes a place that is unsettling, loveless and deeply sinister - all too familiar to anyone whos strayed into Gateshead on a fags and papers run late of a foggy Saturday night. Among other things, Huxley anticipated designer drugs, genetic enineering, the rise of the political spin-doctor, the decline of the family and vacuous escapism via TV. It also introduced us to the ficticious drug 'Soma' which Ord Miekel and Stuart Mcmillan named their record label after. The whole thing was written while Huxley was off his dish on acid, apparently. Which just goes to show....
Collapse Of The World Order
This is much favoured by certain religious cults, especially the ones who bang on your door early on a Sunday morning - the sort who are big on prophecy and past-masters in the art of getting it spectacularly wrong. Indeed, by the late '70's, Jehovah's Witnesses had predicted an end to the current world order on no less than eight occasions. Undeterred, they decided it was all going to go off in 1975. Well, a few things did go off in 1975, Newcastle United under Gordon Lee, sold Supermac to Arsenal for 333,333 quid, Bill Gates founded Microsoft and Disco took off. But remarkably the world order remained intact. Since then, they've given up making exact predictions of things that are going to happen, preferring to keep things hopelessly vague. Still, as long as it keeps them happy, innit.
It's 1997, beak fueled Rastafarians and cops are at war with each other while aliens prowl the streets killing all and sundry and use their victims skulls as ashtrays. Meanwhile, inner-city collapse results in Kung-fu gangsters running amok as New York gets walled off into a huge no go area. Sound scary? Well, it's probably nowhere close to how bezerk America is today!
The Sleeping Prophet
Under the influence of a force he called The Universal Mind, Edgar Cayce predicted the return of the lost city of Atlantis in 1968, the destruction of a large part of the globe by 1998, the advent of a third World War in 1999 and the end of civilisation in 2020. Though we shouldn't worry too much about the last one as he badly misfired on all the others. Before he passed away in 1945, Cayce predicted he would return to life at the end of 2017 as the worlds liberator. Chop, chop. Come on, then.
The Worlds End
At the start of 1987, Edgar Whisenaut published a book titled 87 Reasons Why The World Will End In 1987. It recieved blanket media coverage and sold like the clappers. However, as you may have noticed, the world failed to call it a day. So, at the start of 1988 he published a sequel called, yep, you guessed it, 88 Reasons Why The World Will End In 1988. As far as I can determine, he pulled this stunt every year up untill 1999. The geezer has more cheek than a cows arse.
Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150 AD
Large, bug eyed dustbins on wheels have invaded the Earth, transforming the planet's human population into mindless zombies. From decrepit underground stations, the native resistance try to fight back. Peter CushIng and Bernard Cribbins turn up in a phonebox, only to be captured by Dalek's and have their brains sucked out by a futuristic vacuum-cleaner that looks like a normal vacuum-cleaner except with futuristic flashing lights on. Just like real life it all goes tits up in the last 15 minutes, and Cribbins saves the world with some home made mustard gas and some grenades.
The Prophetic Chicken Lady
The final entrant in this list of recklessly incompetent crystal ballers is a mad 19th century bint called Mary Bateman who was thrust into the limelight when it emerged that she owned a chicken which laid eggs scrawled with prophetic messages on them. One of these eggs bore the date 1809. This, she said, was proof that the world was going to end in that year. As it turned out, 1809 was a spectacularly quiet and uneventful 12 month. Napoleon divorced Josephine. William H. Wollaston invented the reflecting gonimeter (whatever the fuck that is), and the 2,000 guineas had its first run at Newmarket. Apocalyptic it most certainly was not. Later, Bateman was exposed as a fraud when she was caught shoving doctored eggs up the chicken's arse. She later poisoned one of her rich clients and was hanged. The chicken, meanwhile, went on to have a lengthy and successful career in the music hall but was sadly killed in its retirement when it ran into the road and was trampled by a horse. Should have seen that one coming, kidda.