Adam Chapman

In A Day Before Cliche

Many people ponder the benefits (and possible dangers) of time travel. I’m sure like me, you’ve probably at one time or another debated what historical event you would travel back to given the power to do so. 

Some people will answer with things that would gift them immense riches. Things lik “I would have invested in Bitcoin when it was cheap”. This sort of thing is normally quite popular because we’re all greedy, selfish SOBs. 

Others amongst us lust for culturally iconic events such as seeing The Beatles or being at Woodstock. Of course, these sorts of legendary concerts are normally tinted with rose coloured spectacles. I mean Woodstock was pretty much a humanitarian crisis and I bet the smell was unbearable, but nobody mentions that, they just focus on Jimi Hendrix doing his guitar things. Don’t even get me started on The Beatles gigs, I bet you could hardly hear them with screaming teenage girls clogging up the sound waves. I’d rather listen to any of  Yoko Ono’s ‘music’ and that’s saying something. 

You get the people around us who claim they would go back in time and kill Hitler as a baby, thinking that would solve everything but I’m going to be pessimistic and suggest that the state Germany was in after WWI someone else would have done pretty much the same thing. What you’ve got to remember with the whole killing Hitler idea is that he was an incompetent fool who had a knack for sleeping in until the afternoon and fixating on self-destructive military tactics. Whoever would rise up in the gap left by the now non-existing Hitler would probably have been a hell of a lot better at the whole dictator thing. Worrying indeed, plus this plan requires you to actually kill a baby, Hitler or not, killing a baby isn’t exactly something most of us could live with doing. 

So now we’re around 300 words into this you’re probably thinking to yourself “Well okay smarty pants what would you do” and here’s where the title of this here piece comes into play. 

Personally, I would love to go back in time to the first moment that all clichés in film were officially used and claim ownership of them for myself. Imagine it, people would see you as a creative genius, not just someone playing off of tired old clichés. 

The first one I would tackle would be in the horror film genre. Imagine being the first director ever to incorporate the whole bathroom cupboard mirror being closed to reveal a monster over the person’s shoulder. Jump scares and gasps spread throughout the audience, everyone praises how you managed to tap into the human psyche to produce genuine terror-inducing horror. Amazing right? 

Following the success of my first venture, no doubt I would get greedy and start to tackle different genres in the film industry.

Next up would be war films. I’m going to be the writer who puts in the line “Tell my wife I love her” when a soldier is being cradled in his comrade’s arms after being shot by the enemy. This is a sort of 2 for 1 as then I could incorporate the extended “NOOOOOOO!” and look up to the sky as the cradling soldier realises his buddy has died heroically in battle. Tears fill the cinema, powerful, emotional writing, maybe an award or two.

The world and more importantly history would be my oyster, dropping in and out of time to change the world of film in my image but of course, this raises a huge dilemma. If I’m travelling all about in time won’t people start to wonder why I looked exactly the same in 1895 as I do in 1960? Indeed they would.

There are two ways I could deal with this, either I could employ the use of some rather convincing make-up to hide my age or I could use my time travelling powers to disrupt the careers of all the movie producers, writers, directors and actors who have ever used these cliches so that they never could, save them all for myself and strike when the time is right for my amazing film career.

I’m not going to do anything drastic like murder them, just you know, devious methods like suggesting they take up football instead of film-making.  

This does sound like a lot of work though and I thought the whole point of being able to travel through time was for easy gain. It would probably just be easier to develop my own ideas than it would be to convince a young M. Night Shyamalan to give up film-making. This time travel lark isn’t as much of a blessing as it’s made out to be. 

Ah fuck it maybe I’ll just go the Woodstock and complain about the toilet situation.