Ambience Engineer: #1 – Futuristic Consumerist Dystopia

We live in banal times. You may deny this; but you would be wrong (and stupid) to do so.

Today the masses are entertained in increasingly inane ways by increasingly moronic individuals. Pursuit of the arcane has been abandoned, in favour of pursuit of superficial fame, despite the fact we are still largely ignorant to the true nature of the Cosmos and the muted whistling of star-bound chimaeras. Terrible, ultimate Knowledge lies within our grasp, but our hands have grown withered and taut, and (to continue the analogy) several of the tendons of our forearms have actually snapped (i.e. making it even more difficult to grasp at our full extent).

Young people wield lipsticks, and copies of “Nuts” magazine, where once they wielded telescopes and the Scouting manuals of Baden-Powell. Old folk comment with ribald derision on the “packages” of tight-trousered celebrities, where once they spoke of the mystical encounters of their youth ‘twixt fairy-riddled mulberry bushes. Noble warriors are a thing of a past; replaced have they been, by heavily-armed delinquent simpletons careering around Arab lands in mucky Jeeps.

The question is….. how to escape from it all?

It turns out that time travel is not in fact yet possible, so we are unable to escape the mind-numbing dullness of our times through that particular avenue. Transportation to different physical locations is of course an option, but we remain confined to this planet in this age, and, to be frank, the whole place is rubbish.

We can immerse ourselves in great literature and retreat for a time into our own minds, free from the clawing, lifeless hands of a Humanity long dead. But is that really enough?

No. It isn’t.

But luckily the Ambience Engineer can help us!

Using everyday tools, we can temporarily escape the sordid reality of modern times and exist for a while in fantastical realms that transcend temporal and celestial boundaries.

Ye of sound mind and stout heart, prepare for a journey…



Track: The Model by Kraftwerk

1 x highly polished chrome micro-scooter;
1 x one-piece spandex body suit (grey);
1 x large Perspex salad bowl;
1 x Sharpie marker pen (black)

Location: Modern shopping centre, preferably around closing time (it should at least be dark outside)


1. Using your marker pen, scrawl an eleven-digit number (proceeded by the “#” symbol) on your inner wrist in a blocky, sans-serif font.

2. Dress in your one-piece spandex body suit and make your way to the modern shopping centre. (Ignore the hecklers on the train/bus, or your father’s look of disappointment – instead gain confidence with the realisation that you are a pioneer of the peripheral pursuits of mankind).

3. Arrive at your chosen shopping centre – it should be cavernous and furnished in the minimalist style. (If you are a provincial type, you will be required to temporarily relocate to a major metropolitan centre in order to source a suitable establishment, as a LIDL is completely inappropriate.)

4. Secure a pair of large, good-quality headphones to your ears (cheaper earphones will do if you are a stranger to affluence).

These German men have made this journey possible.

5. Play Kraftwerk’s The Model on repeat, and crank it to a level that blocks out the everyday sounds of banality. To test this, shout something. If you can hear your own voice, you need to turn the music up. (Don’t be stingy with the volume dial! Bohemians have never let concerns for their wellbeing interfere with their extra-curricular pursuits).

6. Place the Perspex salad bowl on your head like a helmet.

7. Climb aboard your micro-scooter. Inhale deeply – you are about to embark upon a startling journey of self-discovery, into a dystopian world of the future.

8. Proceed to push yourself around the mall on your vehicle.

How to attain the illusion that you are a member of a futuristic consumerist dystopia:

-Allow the tune to permeate your being; to penetrate your very soul. Imagine the music perfectly encapsulates the mood of this society. (The lyrics should be the secondary focus, it is really the sound of the piece that sets the mood for this experiment).

-Although you are exerting physical effort in order to propel your chrome micro-scooter, imagine that it is actually powered by a futuristic mechanical source. This may be any of the following: magnetic levitation; a mini Thorium nuclear reactor; the power of thought.

-Your attire is commonplace in this society of empty consumerism. Your amazing thought-helmet is actually the height of fashion.

-Imagine that any people you pass on your journey are dressed in a similarly outlandish fashion (though as creepy late-night shopping loners, chances are good that they’ll actually be wearing bizarre outfits). When people stare at you, they are simply admiring your Thought-Helm, as it is one of the newest models.

Salad bowl
An innocuous salad bowl – or a futuristic mind-channelling helmet? It’s up to you.

-Ensure that you pass close to any security guards. Imagine that they are in fact the brutal henchmen of the dictator who runs this society, and if you were to ask them a question about the Enlightenment, or speculate about the shortcomings of totalitarianism, they would batter you and whisk you off to a remote concentration camp where you would be tortured by a man who is basically Michael Palin’s character from Brazil.

-If you find it difficult to think of the security guards in this way – particularly in the absence of any obvious pulse rifles – glance at your wrist. Look! Printed there is your identification number. Every citizen in this world is similarly tattooed. You are just a number; you have no name, no individuality. You do not matter*.

This man awaits any wrong-doers (or wrong-thinkers)…

-Observe the customers at the tills of the shops you cruise past, paying for their purchases. That look on their faces – a mixture of moroseness and addiction – underpins the materialistic ethos of this world.

-Obviously any pet dogs that you pass are actually robotic, as all domestic animals were harvested decades ago in order to create fur-lined greatcoats for the Leader’s Stormtroopers; such furs necessary due to the freeze caused by the melting of the icecaps during the Third Atomic War, which diluted and shut-down the North Atlantic Drift oceanic conveyor.

-When you have had enough, emerge back into the real-world, re-invigorated by your journey through time**.

*Some pioneers have been known to get so involved with this experiment that they have physically attacked security guards, in an attempt to free themselves from totalitarian enslavement. Such an action is not recommended, as legal authorities have shown they will not accept “participation in an experiment” as a mitigating factor in a GBH trial.

**If you have followed the instructions properly, you will be emerging from the shopping centre around midnight, probably into a high street packed with drunken thugs sourcing kebabs. Be prepared to have to hurry to the nearest taxi in order to escape their violent disdain of your experiment.