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Old 7th Aug 2009, 11:59 PM   #1
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Lightbulb Ride on time

In The Time Traveler's Wife a librarian goes on a romantic journey through the past. Why don't movie time travellers do the sensible thing and hit the bookies, asks David Stubbs

Working as a shelf stacker during a student holiday once, I befriended a fellow for whom this job was a permanent gig. Or so it seemed. For he informed me, in all solemnity, that he was working on a time machine in his garden shed. He would update me on its progress, which was clearly not great as his continued daily presence at work attested. Far fetched as his ambition was, one could at least sympathise with the modesty of his aims once he finally located the sprocket from the dismantled lawnmower that would get the machine going. He had no intention of going back to 1919 in Versailles and trying to amend the Treaty so as to avoid the second world war, or assassinating Margaret Thatcher, or doing anything that might disturb the delicate socio-historical continuum. He merely wished to go back to early 1973 and place a large, combined bet on Red Rum to win the Grand National and Sunderland to win the FA Cup, and, having taken advantage of the long odds, convert his winnings into gold bullion before returning smartly back home. Nice work.

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