Sunday, June 29, 2008


One of my first memories of television was watching the trade test transmission films on the fledgeling BBC2. This is probably because they were shown at least once a week for several years and in the pre-video era, it was unusual to see any programme more than a couple of times.

My favourite film was Evoluon, made in 1968 and shown regularly until 1973. Evoluon was a flying saucer-shaped science centre, built in Eindhoven, Holland in 1966 and this short film is like a homage to the Space Age.

At a time when many people are feeling fairly pessimistic about the future, there is something terribly poignant about Evoluon's optimism and blind faith in science as the guarantor of health and happiness.

This was, after all, the age when we thought it was a good idea for families to live on the eighth floor of a tower block. We also looked forward to living on the moon and eating pills instead of all that miserable food business. What were we thinking?

Interestingly, Evoluon's fortunes mirrored those of the Modernist movement and by the 1980s, visitor numbers had dwindled to the point where the science centre was closed. Tragically, Evoluon was re-launched ten years later as a conference centre for businesses. From the sublime to the tedious.


The Poet Laura-eate said...

What a great cheesy ad!

And how right you are about the over-optimism of the 1960s. A reaction to the end of post-war austerity no doubt - that everything new was WONDERFUL.

Or the drugs.

Sadly it seems this has now transpired into change for the sake of change, moving forward, and a continual erosion of nice architecture in the name of modernity that has a shelf life of of 40 years or less. Often wonder what the historians of 100 years hence will find to celebrate about this age. Not much I would have thought as nothing is built to last anymore.

pierre l said...

More memories. We went to a car-club rally in 1981 and stayed at Centre Parcs in Einhdoven, and visited that museum; the children and I greatly enjoyed it.
You do find good films. Thanks

Steerforth said...

The Millennium Dome is a case in point.

I don't know if you saw the recent programme about what would happen to the earth if people suddenly disappeared, but the conclusion was that in 1000 years time, the only buildings left in London would be places like St Paul's Cathedral and the Tower.

Today's modernist masterpieces would be the first to go.

Pierre - I also managed to visit Evoluon, in 1976. I was too young to really appreciate it, but it was still very exciting to visit the place in the test transmission film!

Lucy Fishwife said...

What happened to all the silver plastic clothes that Blue Peter swore we'd be wearing in the year 2000? And all that exciting spacey stuff they used to have on "Tomorrow's World" ? Was it just a peaceable version of Robot Wars?