Yes, son Number 1?
Yes, son Number2?
Can we get SinCity, cheetah speed, please? begged Pollux.
Llama speed? negotiated Castor.
No chance. Anyway, it’s SimCity, pointed out Cosmo.
The twins’ father had done his technological homework and knew all
about the video game series, originally designed by Will Wright.
Why don’t you develop SuttonCity? You could work out ways to
maintain the townspeople of Suttonford’s’s happiness and could try to
keep your budget on track, he suggested. You could even alter the terrain
and build different types of housing on it.
The town council are already doing that, said Castor, affecting
But you could have lots of power, Cosmo continued. You could
declare Suttonford a nuclear free zone.
As if North Korea would pay any attention to that, huffed Pollux. We
don’t have any baseball stars, so I don’t think we would get any
favours from Kim.
Well, you could create an earthquake by fracking on the rugby
ground, teased Cosmo.
Don’t be disgusting, dad, chided Pollux. If we can’t have SimCity, we
don’t want any of the spin-offs. Some of the characters are weird:
himbos, for instance.
And what, or who, are himbos? sighed their father, thoroughly
confused by now.
They’re male bimbos who swan around in Speedos with fluorescent nipples
with a rendering mode operated for fog-piercing landing lights,
creating high visibility. They sometimes appear in vast numbers,
Right, said Cosmo. Something like closing time at The Running Sore,
suggested Cosmo, delighted at his own humorous take on the
matter. (He was making reference to a local hostelry run by a
Very funny, dad, said Castor. Not.
You know, reflected his twin, even Snod is becoming more
Mr Snodbury to you, corrected Cosmo.
Yes, but he’s anti sites like Wikipedia, said Castor. He says we are all
becoming robotic. If we encounter the real world of human beings,
he says, we can’t cope. We need online help from a brain that
describes objects we have met and computes things for us.
Yes, Pollux took up the theme seamlessly. Snod found an online
brain called Rapyuta.
Yes, it’s Japanese for Castle in the Sky and he said that’s where all the
robotic beings live.
I expect he was joking, said Cosmo.
No, dad. He said that it used to be called Cloud Cuckoo Land and he
thinks it is where a lot of young people already live- virtually. He
swore that students today will never be able to live alongside human
beings as current kids need calculators and tablets and are restricted to
operating in highly controlled environments, requiring databases to
He might have a point, thought Cosmo. What else did he say?
Pollux added: He said we were living in a tickbox universe and the
current state of educational ideology only encouraged
standardisation and robotic perception.
Hmm, considered Cosmo. Some primary schoolchildren on a tea
time news programme the previous night were quoted as having
challenged their teachers by asking when they would ever use the
material from one of their lessons. Cosmo had thought they were
cheeky, precocious brats and if he had asked a teacher that kind of
question when he had been at school, he would have had a punishment
exercise at least and his parents would have reprimanded him as well. Why
should the uneducated juvenile, or his/her untutored progenitor have any
kind of worthwhile opinion on the curriculum? No wonder droves of
excellent teachers were leaving the profession. If it went on, the
classrooms would be headed up by yummy mummies and their
cowering and obedient spouses and the true educational content of their
modules would be zero.
And, what had amazed him was that the lesson shown on tv had been a lot
of fun too. He’d heard of unsmiling children dictating the content of their
lessons and even complaining if their teacher was ill and therefore absent.
In the Good Old days an absent teacher was a cause for celebration and a bit
of fun. A Head Teacher would have been very popular if he or she had
proposed a half holiday. Now, even if there were snowdrifts the height of
The Shard, some yummy mummy would complain if she was prevented from
risking life and limb in her 4×4 to collect some enfant terrible at the end of the
school day when the snow ploughs would be out and the gritters long gone.
Such parents wanted value for school fees and that meant a full day, no
There must be prep, even if it was just a face-saving waste of time.
It was all about Ms X showing off her A* over Ms Y’s plain A in some
mindless exercise dreamt up to keep nail bar competitiveness alive.
Maybe we should ask Snodbury to create a SnodCity, mused Cosmo
Ooh, yes! enthused the twins. We love boundaries!
Pollux continued, solo: Snod said that eventually young people
might not be able to navigate their own rooms, or understand a
single word uttered by a human being, or fold an item of clothing.
Interesting, said Brassie coming into the kitchen, carrying a basket
with the twins’ discarded clothing, headphones and sports towels. I
seem to have evidence of the latter type of behaviour already making itself
Yes, supported Cosmo, and I sometimes have difficulty in communicating
the meaning of the monosyllabic word ‘no’.
The twins looked somewhat puzzled.
I’ll make it crystal clear for you both, said their mum. No computer
games until you’ve done your prep and tidied your rooms. If they
are still a mess at the weekend, then your pocket money will be
Yes, ma’am, they echoed and scarpered.
See, said Brassie. They do like boundaries.