Apr 5, 2014
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The ZX Spectrum Golden Years

My first exposure to computers came courtesy of Clive Sinclair. It must have been somewhere around 1980 and the school I went to had somehow acquired a ZX80. Having never seen or even heard of computers before (remember, it’s 1980) I had no particular idea of what it should look like so when I first saw it - small, white, blue keyboard - it was neither underwhelming or overwhelming. It just was. 

Access to it was strictly limited (the school only having two televisions into which to plug it) and restricted to watching one of the teachers typing in programs and running it before our amazed eyes.

I don’t remember ever seeing it actually work, but it can only imagine the reactions of the masses there assembled when the first characters lurched their way across the screen.

Skip forward several weeks and I had somehow convinced my dad to get in on this technical revolution - the future! - and order a ZX80 for us. In those days you couldn’t pop down to your nearest PC World (they hadn’t been invented yet) to get hold of a unit. You actually had to send of for it and they assemble it yourself. This in itself was not easy. Indeed, reviews of the time more or less encouraged people not to go down this route, instead suggesting that people pay a little more for the pre-assembled units. I have no recollection of ever using a ZX80 at home. I think my dad may well have completely failed to get it worked and sent it back when I wasn’t looking.

Shortly after we got a ZX81, and not long after that, a ZX Spectrum. I got the 16k version, a matter of some shame as most of my friends got the one with 48k, closing off a whole world of classic software such as Jet Set Willy, Manic Miner and Atic Atac.It wasn’t until The Hobbit came out in 1982 that I convinced my parents to buy the 32k Expansion Pack that finally saw me entering the big leagues and respectability at school.

I had the Spectrum for a few years, destroying two keyboards along the way (anger destroyed one, crappy glue the other, the keyboard curling up on the corners like an old slice of cheese) before it made way for, in order: a Commodore 128, an Amstrad CPC 464 and an Atari ST.

The site The Spectrum Golden Years has some great information about the rise and fall of Sinclair.

Dec 23, 2013
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Nov 29, 2013
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Subbuteo

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The demise of Shoot! magazine marks the end of another piece of football paraphernalia with which I grew up, and which helped me keep up-to-date with the game in an era before the Internet, satellite television and YouTube. It´s hard to believe, but once upon a time, people like me had to rely on Saint & Greavesy for all our football news.

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Nov 15, 2013
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I was here, and this is what I saw.

I was here, and this is what I saw.

Nov 11, 2013
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I was here, and this is what I saw.

I was here, and this is what I saw.

Nov 1, 2013
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My favourite goal of all time …

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Much has been written about Carlos Alberto’s goal for Brazil against Italy in 1970. 

Sublime individual skill with almost telepathic teamwork, nine players combined to make one of the finest goals ever seen. 

Maradona’s mazy run for his second goal against England is great too, but so is Saeed Owairan’s for Saudi Arabia against Belgium in 1994 who ran pretty much the same distance but who was a much crappier player than Maradona, making his goal better, in my opinion. 

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Oct 29, 2013
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On this day in 1985, Cardinals pitcher Joaquin Andujar is suspended for the first 10 games of the 1986 season as a result of his World Series Game Seven tantrum during which he twice bumped home plate umpire Don Denkinger. 

On this day in 1985, Cardinals pitcher Joaquin Andujar is suspended for the first 10 games of the 1986 season as a result of his World Series Game Seven tantrum during which he twice bumped home plate umpire Don Denkinger. 

Oct 27, 2013
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New York on a Sunday morning is one of the greatest places in earth. Walking down Broadway in the early morning sun, having just eaten at the City Diner. New York Times in hand, ready for a relaxing day before heading to JFK and home.

New York on a Sunday morning is one of the greatest places in earth. Walking down Broadway in the early morning sun, having just eaten at the City Diner. New York Times in hand, ready for a relaxing day before heading to JFK and home.

Oct 26, 2013
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I was here, and this is what I saw.

I was here, and this is what I saw.

Oct 26, 2013
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A fire hydrant on Mulberry Street. 

A fire hydrant on Mulberry Street. 

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