Saturday, 31 December 2016

Time Travel Update: CERN, Year Solver & Sri Lanka!

It  has been over a year since I updated this blog. Partly this is because I have been finishing off my PhD on Mayakovsky, partly because my time travel progress seemed to slow down a little (although there have been some very interesting points, as you will see below!), and partly because the two main occasions on which significant things happened this year both also happened to correspond with the deaths of people who were very important to me, and so I didn't feel like writing anything at all.
In mid-January I received a letter from a physicist at CERN, inviting me to go there for a visit. This was really exciting because in the 1928 letter I received from my 2017 future self while I was in Russia last year it said that I would be given a static generator "on the CERN trip". At that time (August 2015) I had never even really heard of CERN, and had no plans to go to Geneva to visit it, so to have an invite from the organisation itself seemed too amazing to be a coincidence! Here is a scan of it:

At the time I received this letter I was feeling super miserable because David Bowie had just died (in fact, although for us in the UK he died on the 11th, the letter from CERN had actually been written on his official death date of the 10th!) I had left Facebook and didn’t feel much like socialising with the wider world, so I thought I would just go along to Switzerland and see what happened. The guy who had written to me said that April would be better, so I waited till the very start of that month and went over there. Of course I felt very excited and anticipatory about the prospect of this “static generator”, and given that I knew he had read my letter, I knew that he knew that that was what he was supposed to give me… But in the end he didn’t give me anything! We had some really interesting chats, and he certainly gave me some very useful information (which I'll go into another day), and I had a private tour of everything there, including the LHC itself, which was really cool, but then it all ended quite abruptly with other people who worked there arriving and the guy I was meeting having to go into a meeting. He gave me a bag of cool CERN souvenirs, and that was that!

The day after, I flew back home to England, and on that same day I found out from her son that my friend Yelena, Mayakovsky's daughter, had died. Yelena was an amazing woman, extremely loving and witty and intelligent, and very influential on me and my work – I won't say anything more about that now except that it was a very sad time, and again things slipped off the radar, time travel update-wise.

SO... that brings us to the present day. Having heard nothing whatsoever for over a year from Year Solver (the most promising-sounding person out of all the responses I got to the Gumtree ad I posted last year asking for technical assistance, and the name that mysteriously showed up in my book acknowledgements)... this morning I got a series of mad replies!

The easiest thing here is to just screenshot the emails – here they are!

So there we are – that's where I'm up to now, and here is the data tape in question:


The question is, should I actually go to Sri Lanka on the 13th of January?

I'll keep you updated...


  1. Sri Lanka = Serendip[ity]

    Horace Walpole

  2. If thou couldst time travel five and a half hours into the future along the west coast mainline to Penrith, then that would be wonderful x

  3. where were you from November 2015- December 2016. What are real updates with time travel machine ? What if everything is in a loop. What is a wrong step can make u land in Russia 1929 and stuck there.

  4. Just admiring your work and wondering how you managed this blog so well. It’s so remarkable that I can't afford to not go through this valuable information whenever I surf the internet!
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  5. I received a letter from a physicist at CERN, inviting me to go there for a visit.

  6. In mid-January I received a letter from a physicist at CERN, inviting me to go there for a visit.umbrellas