Back to the future

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If there’s one thing that strikes fear into the heart of any self-respecting editor, it’s the anniversary issue. Of course, we all love an opportunity to celebrate, but it’s the one edition of the year when all the rules go out the window and the result can look like a navel-gazing nostalgia trip – a look-at-us-aren’t-we-great statement that pleases very few actual readers.

So when we started talking earlier this year about easyJet’s impending 20th birthday, we hatched a plan. There would be no birthday cakes, no candles or balloons and absolutely no dewy-eyed looks back through the annals of what we – or the airline – has achieved in the past. Instead, we’d adopt the opposite tact and focus squarely on what’s to come.

To their credit, the powers that be at easyJet loved the idea, feeding, as it does into their own, tech-savvy forward-looking vision for the airline. And so the Future issue was born – a birthday edition with a difference, channeling some of the best bits of our favourite crystal-ball gazing magazines, equal parts Wired and Popular Mechanics, but more orange and with quite a bit less budget to play with.

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So we asked futurologists what life, love and travel would be like in 2035 – i.e. in another 20 years – and the answers they provided were illuminating. Apparently, we’ll all be polyamorous meat suits, hooked on virtual reality and food pills. Or possibly, all Uber drivers. Illustrator Megapont did a great of job of realising this brave new world.

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Elsewhere, we told a cracking tale of modern derring-do that also doubles up as a possible vision of the future of aviation. Pilots Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg are half way into a daring attempt to circumnavigate the globe in a solar-powered plane. So far, the Solar Impulse II trip has been fraught with difficulties, such as when their stability controls failed in the middle of a five-day flight. And I won’t even discuss their biggest challenge: how to go to the loo in the tiny cockpit. But the terrific pics enabled our art director Mat Wiggins the opportunity to be a little self-indulgent with some full-bleed DPS images.

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We also pulled together a group of sickeningly high-achieving 20 year olds from across Europe, all of whom were born in the same year as easyJet (you can read more on Florence’s entry below), and revealed why Amsterdam is – and has actually been for the past four centuries – the most futuristic city around.

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All in all, we’re happy with an issue that feels remarkably fresh in terms of its content and yet still manages to celebrate easyJet’s birthday in suitable style. Check it out when it arrives for November. And I got to reel out a Back to the Future quote in my editor’s letter, so everyone’s happy.

words: Simon Kurs

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