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Old 25th Nov 2011, 16:13   #1
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Default Steve Stack: 21st Century Dodos

I wasn't much of a home computer kid. In fact, I don't think I laid my hands on a keyboard until my twenties (this is not a euphemism), and all that ZX Spectrum, Vic 20 and BBC/Acorn micro gubbins pretty much passed me by. Strewth, I've still never played Manic Miner or Jet Set Willy.

But I do remember my pals at Uni, back in the early 80s, loading a football manager game onto a Commodore 64 using an audio cassette and a rudimentary tape player. It seemed like a palaver even then, and I thought, "bugger me, this'll never last". But for a while it hung on in there. Still, try and tell people now and they will think you mad. But it's true; for a while, instead of a disc or even a floppy, you had to hook up a cassette player to your glorified boffin's typewriter and sit there for minutes as it beeped and clicked and whirred away, loading up an ultimately dull and tedious timewaster.

And what of audio cassettes themselves. Does Bow Wow Wow's seminal sweet punk anthem C30, C60, C90 Go mean anything any more? Of course it doesn't, because people haven't used such things in years. Mind you, CDs, they're on the way out, too.

This is, as Connecticut disco dance band Odyssey would no doubt argue, a use 'em up, wear 'em out point in our popular culture, where we are simply rolling over aspects of our old lives that previously we thought would stick around forever. But who remembers Athena poster shops (one on every High Street), Rumbelows (same), smoking sections and intermissions at the cinema (let alone a supporting feature)?

In 21st Century Dodos, Steve Stack, better known to long-standing Palimpians as Scott Pack, opens up his memory banks - not a phrase anyone uses any more - and presents us with a smart and funny gazeteer of all the vanished or missing presumed dead detritus of the last thirty years or so. The Football pools, the cafe at the top of the Post Office Tower, Buzby and ring pulls...I could go on. You'll all be thinking of them now, won't you?

Dickie Davis's World of Sport, usherettes, your weekly copy of Look-In.

I'll stop.

Calculator watches.


Anyway, all these and more are lovingly rounded up and given a moment in the sun with a happy dollop of wit and and an almost teary cheerio as their memory trundles off into the distant past. If you're looking for a stocking filler to nick for yourself and make you wonder why you couldn't buy a Christmas selection box this year, 21st Century Dodos is just the ticket.

White Dog Poo.

(stopped now)
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Old 25th Nov 2011, 22:57   #2
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Default Re: 21st Century Dodos: Steve Stack

Ooh, this sounds good.

As thee and me are more or less of an age, a, I remember most of the stuff you're name-checking - I do remember the very first computer lessons on BBC computers at school, learning Basic (?) command functions to programme multi-coloured letters (of, say, your name) to come bouncing in from all sides of the screen to form words. Log 30, and such. It was tedious! The first proper computer game I ever saw (or played) was King's Quest in the mid-80's. on a friend's computer at uni. That remains about my skill level on such things

Until last Christmas though, oldest Col son was asking for C90 tape cassettes to do tapes of CD's on. You can still buy them in one of our stunning local emporiums.
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Old 29th Nov 2011, 19:59   #3
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Default Re: 21st Century Dodos: Steve Stack

A vast proportion of my music library is still on C90s. Fortunately, I used to copy vinyl LPs to cassettes when I first bought them, so I wouldn't wear out the LPs with a needle. I haven't even got a turntable any more, but it was a Thorens and the cassette recorder was a Pioneer, so the copy quality was good, and they still sound great on my (hard to find) twin deck hifi cassette player.

I'm in danger of drivelling on like the three Yorkshiremen here, but I must add that the first computer I used was a Ferranti Orion, in 1964. On this machine, much less powerful than a mobile phone of today and occupying two floors of a building in Newman Street, I wrote a program that analysed seismological survey data and identified one of the earliest North Sea Oil strikes.

"Kids today? They don't know they're born."
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