The idea of alternative realities and parallel timelines has become so entrenched in popular culture, its starting to look like an altogether plausable and not entirely unwelcome prospect.
Comic books are full of twisty tales about multiverses and revised histories. For instance, there’s a version of the Superman story that imagines the Man of Steel raised in Russia.
For the sci-fi writer there are limitess possibilies. A world where humans evolved from pineapples? One where everyone stopped talking about Brexit on June 24, 2016?
How about a universe where Perth won the City of Culture title, instead of Coventry?
In that reality, we would today be launching the countdown for a 365-day programme of events, exhibitions and activities in 2021.
Perth’s bid for City of Culture was a valiant one, but it was always going to be a long-shot. Throughout the campaign, we got glimpses of what could happen if the Fair City won and how we would celebrate.
For example, the New Year’s Day launch was meant to revolve around a huge city centre procession that would mark the return of the Stone of Destiny.
Our hopes of becoming the UK’s official City of Culture may have been shot down, but there is still a chance we could reclaim the historic Stone of Scone. And that would be worth shouting about.
After a high profile consultation during the summer, the Scottish Government is expected to announce at some point this year if Perth’s campaign for the artefact has been successful.
At this point, we don’t know when or how that announcement will be made. We don’t even know for sure if it will be decided this year, although the group responsible for the stone – the Commissioners for the Safeguarding of the Regalia – have been made aware of Perth’s plan to house the treasure at its new look City Hall, due to be transformed in 2021.
Perth is up against Edinburgh Castle, which submitted a bid to keep the relic in the captial but didn’t seem to put up too much of a fight.
That’s probably because Edinburgh’s argument for the Stone was extremely weak compared to the one put forward by Perth and Kinross Council which contended that the Stone would be more accessibe in a more central location and – perhaps most importantly – free to see.
If Perth doesn’t win the battle for the Stone, it will be an actual scandal and the Comissioners will have a lot of explaining to do.
Edinburgh Castle – visited by more than 2m in 2018 – would hardly miss the Stone, but it would mean the world to Perth. In fact, the Fair City’s future hinges on an uplift of tourism.
For now though, all we can do is wait with bated breath.