In an ordinary town in an ordinary part of the UK in 2014, it is rush hour on a Monday morning.
On the packed commuter train, faces are hidden behind acres of broadsheet newspapers. Some people even talk to each other as the packed service chunters slowly onward.
Others listen to music on iPods, CD walkmen and minidisc players. A few are on their mobile phones, making early business calls or sending text messages and emails.
Loading article content
On the High Street, shops are opening up for the day. The financial crisis brought hardship but retailers are recovering and there are few empty premises.
Slowly the shutters rise at Woolworths, Our Price, Blockbuster, Barratts, Game, HMV, Jessops and Alders.
Away from retail, other businesses are booming, with employment rising and impressive statistics showing how focused and undistracted workers are in the office.
Children make their way to school, eager to see friends they have not seen or spoken to since the previous week. The older ones are discussing their favourite bands, who are going to be on Top Of The Pops later in the week.
A whistling postman returns to the sorting office. Letters are less popular that they used to be because of email, but at least he did not have a lot of parcels to deliver.
The same cannot be said for the poor young lady labouring around the houses on foot delivering bulky Yellow Pages to each and every home, every piece of paper full of adverts for local services.
It sounds a lot like today but for one nagging omission. This is a world where the worldwide web was never invented. People here cannot just tap in their password on their phone or tablet, or boot up their laptop, to connect with friends, find out information, read the news, shop or do business.
25 years ago, this fiction was fact. The world was a vastly different place when British physicist Tim Berners-Lee, now Sir Tim, came up with what was meant to be a handy way for boffins at the CERN research centre in Switzerland to access data on massive experiments.
The Cold War was still chilly, though defrosting rapidly. The Soviet Union was still just about holding together, The Berlin Wall was still a barrier, but not for much longer. Jason Donovan was top of the charts with Too Many Broken Hearts.
Today 2.4 billion worldwide have access to the internet and world wide web, and use it - to widely varying degrees - throughout their daily lives.
"Clearly it has had a massive impact, transformational in many ways," said Professor Andrew Hugill, director of creative computing at Bath Spa University.
"It is part of the environment now to the point where you are not even aware of interacting with it."
Figures for last year from the Office for National Statistics lay bare Britain's love affair with the web.
In 2013, 36 million adults (73%) accessed the internet every day, which was 20 million more than in 2006, when directly comparable records began.
A full 21 million households (83%) had internet access in 2013. Seventy two per cent of all adults bought goods or services online, up from 53% in 2008.
A survey of 5,000 people in the UK for Nominet, part of Sir Tim's W3C organisation, found that 87% believe the web has had a positive effect on their lives.
A third (33%) have learnt a new skill and a quarter (25%) have used it to find a new job
More than a third (36%) said that the web helped them in their love life.
From a business perspective, the digital economy now accounts for 8% of the UK's GDP.
Just think about how different things might be without it as things we have come to take for granted disappear.
No online shopping, no Amazon, no eBay, no ordering your weekly shop from the supermarket with a few clicks and having it delivered to your home.
No Google, meaning research and even finding a phone number for your local curry house might actually take some legwork.
No social media. No Twitter, no Facebook, no Instagram, so friends half-way around the world really are half-way around the world. Mark Zuckerberg would not be a geek-billionaire. There would be nowhere to show selfies to a wider audience. And no "social media gurus".
No YouTube, no Spotify. Justin Bieber might still be a successful crooner but his career path may look a lot different. And Psy would probably still only be big in South Korea.
If something "went viral", it would be a matter for medically-trained personnel.
A whole swathe of jobs reliant on the web would disappear, from digital marketing to web design. And businesses are robbed of a powerful marketing tool. Though they may benefit from a rise in local trade.
No news websites: News comes via newspapers, television and radio.
And no online dating. There might be less cybercrime, from fraud through cyber-bullying to child pornography. But there might be an offset rise in other areas because people have a lot more free time.
As suggested in the fantastical opening of this piece, high streets might be booming because of the lack of competition. But that might be at a cost to consumers.
Andreas Pouros, from digital marketing agency Greenlight, said: "Prices would be higher for consumers as the web has created price transparency - it's very easy and very quick to determine who has the cheapest price for a product with access to the web, and if that's 1,000 miles away you can still order it and have it delivered.
"Without the internet, prices would be perfectly competitive almost exclusively in micro-economies, eg Tottenham Court Road with the historic electronics shops one after the other all competing on price and keeping prices low. But in the main, consumers would have to pay higher prices."
The changes might be more pronounced for "digital natives" - those under 25s born since the advent of the web who, more so than for others, are at ease with their life being meshed with being online.
But how far-reaching has the web actually been?
Digital anthropologist Nik Pollinger does not think very much at all.
"Personal behaviour and social life would look much the same as they do now and as they did before the web," he said.
"This may come as news to those who believe the internet is the origin of unprecedented changes but who cannot see many of those changes are superficial or that substantial changes have their origins in other long-standing trends.
"The much criticised individualism that many believe is brought about by incessantly distracting devices that isolate people from their immediate surroundings and their families can instead be linked convincingly to people living more urban lives and the possibilities to get away opened up by affordable travel.
"Without the web those trends and individualism would still be there, although intriguingly digital anthropology is finding evidence that the web may actually be combating them by bringing back a sense of connection with localities and families."
The other question is whether such a world without the web is even likely.
Prof Hugill points out that other people were working on similar concepts to Tim Berners-Lee around the same period, he happened to get there first with a system and source code that was made free to all. Had he not done so, there were others waiting in the wings to do so.
Rob Symes, chief executive of predictive analytics firm The Outside View, added: "There is no chance that the world wide web wouldn't have been invented; had Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau not done it, someone else would have.
"The evolution of the world wide web reflects our unlimited natural curiosity and desire for advancement. My business is founded on the principles of the world wide web. It has infiltrated every single business in any industry from the City to the local newsagent."
Which leads to another question: where does it go from here?
What experts seem to be most interested in is the concept of an "internet of things", a world where interconnected objects communicating through the web, from cars to refrigerators.
Peter Kelly, managing director of Virgin Media Business, said: "When it comes to the next 25 years, much has been said about the potential of the internet of things, with over 50 billion connected devices predicted to exist by 2020. Everything from televisions to fridges to cars will be hooked up."
So, 40 years ago people laughed at John Cleese playing Basil Fawlty shouting at his car. But using voice control technology, it could soon become quite unremarkable.
And if your fridge can remind you to buy milk, so much the better.