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a blog by Chris Barrow

Back to a Future


In September 1970 I was due to attend at the offices of the Friends Provident & Century Group in central Manchester, ready to start my first full-time job as a junior clerk at £360 per annum salary.

That month, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine boarded a flight in Bahrain – the first British plane to be hi-jacked.

Jimi Hendrix died, age 27.

The first Glastonbury Festival took place.

Jesus Christ Superstar was released on vinyl.

BP were just about to announce the discovery of oil under the North Sea.

Edward Heath had been elected as Tory Prime Minister and the miners were gearing up for action that would bring the country to its knees in the following 4 years.

My expectation was to develop a career in insurance and escape from the police-owned council house of my childhood. Perhaps to make something of myself.

The night before my first day at work, I was walking home from my girlfriend’s house when a DeLorean sports car pulled up alongside me, driven by an eccentric scientist who, introducing himself as “Doc” Brown, told me that he was going to take me for a ride 45 years into the future. To the month of October 2015.

OK – I made that up.

(in the actual movie it was October 21st 2015. That’s a Wednesday and I’ll be travelling to The Dental Showcase and attending the Bridge2Aid curry night. Allow me the artistic licence)

Imagine, however, that 16-year old Chris Barrow had indeed witnessed the activity the 62-year old version of himself had in store this last week:

  1. Monday evening dinner at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen (London) and a fascinating conversation with a gracious audiologist and his live-wired daughter

  2. Tuesday guest and speaker at a product launch from one of the world’s leading manufacturers of digital hearing devices

  3. Wednesday signing on a new dental business coaching client in London and a lovely dinner the same evening in Stockholm with a superb Swedish dentist

  4. Thursday morning and afternoon – two power walks around Stockholm beauty spots as book-ends to a lively day of in-practice business conversation. Dinner alone back in London

  5. Friday morning talking to an innovative lady, the Spanish-born founder of a 12-month old private dental practice in the shadow of the Bank of England

  6. Friday afternoon talking to the founder’s son of a 30-year old practice in North West London about refurb, rebrand and re-marketing

  7. Each morning writing blog posts that would be circulated in a nano-second to over 4,500 enthusiastic followers and shared in India and Australia, then recording and broadcasting a 5-minute video blog to participants in a 3-month personal development programme

  8. Saturday presenting on marketing to an audience of 25+ in the West End, then home for dinner in Manchester with a wonderful lady who “gets” me

Further imagine the time-travelling me then also discovering some of the highlights of the intervening years:

  1. 2 marriages, 5 amazing children, some business failures and successes (failure is an event, not a person – Zig Ziglar), 22 marathons, 1 African mountain, Everest Base Camp, two published books, residence in 3 countries, a television BAFTA (what??), competent crew on a Caribbean catamaran

How do you think young CB would have reacted to “Doc” Brown’s vision?

If we jumped back in the supercar and fast-forwarded another 45 years to 2060, could any of us even begin to imagine the scene?

I await my actual journey to the future (by more natural methods) with great wonder.

Unless, of course, “Doc” Brown shows in 11 days from now, outside the Rajnagar restaurant in Solihull.

If you can’t find me the next morning, don’t look back.

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