16 memories of old technology

Hello. The other night I couldn’t sleep, mostly due to my depression and the inevitability of death. So to cheer myself up, I compiled a mental list of old electronics and assorted bric a brac (mental as in ‘in my head’, not ‘insane’. To tell the truth, it was both).

Anyway, here’s what I came up with:

My dad’s Psion Organiser

psion-organiser_ii-model_xp-14

I used it more than he did, because it had a cartridge with a game on it. In the days before having any friends or interests, I loved that game. A thing would move around the screen and you had to stop it, I think.

Also, endless fun to be had from the ‘Lang’, ‘Calc’ and ‘Diary’ functions. No one needed the fucking internet back then.

Bright orange headphones

phones

Nothing says ‘I’m cool as hell’ more than having ginger biscuits taped to your ears while you listen to Five Star.

Wanting an electronic typewriter because I wanted to be like Snoopy

jcpennyelectric

Never mind the fact that Snoopy never had an electronic typewriter. But fuck that, because I knew that if a dog could make a fortune writing ‘It was a dark and stormy night’, then I could make a fortune writing the shit I write now. I was very wrong.

Spelling out ‘BOOBIES’ on a calculator

boobies

Never gets old. Somehow, typing out ‘BOOBIES’ in MS Word doesn’t have quite the same rebellious appeal.

Bossa Nova button

bossa-nova

See also: Marimba, Big Band 4, Clavichord.

My Discman skipping every time the car went over a bump

discman

Or – my Radiohead albums being ruined by going over speed bumps near Worksop. Rock ‘n’ roll.

Video Library fake books

video-library

Who exactly were these people they were trying to fool? “Oh, You have loads of books! I love books, let me examine them. A ha, I see you have the entire works of Video Library, that well known author.” No. This was for people who were ashamed of the fact that they liked to watch loads of Minder.

Being desperate for a pocket TV

pocket-tv

So I could watch ‘forbidden’ TV like American Gladiators, while hiding under the quilt. The fact that I had the black and white portable TV in my bedroom, and fell asleep at about 9 p.m., spoiled this sense of mystique.

People with ghetto blasters

ghetto

If you saw one, you were to run away immediately, because they were hard and a ‘no good punk’. You never saw one though, because you lived in Doncaster.

Cassette carousels

carousel

For easy access to tapes such as ‘Baby Come Back’ by UB40 and Pato Banton, Gala’s ‘Freed From Desire’, and my dad’s Shadows albums.

Woolworths singles

woolworths

See above. Also, I think we can all agree on how horrified we were to buy ‘Spaceman’ by Babylon Zoo, only to discover that the song was lying to us.

It is now safe to turn off your computer

turn-off

It has never been safe since, which is why I don’t dare come off Twitter or stupid crap slots games. Ever.

Messing about with the video like you have a clue what’s going on

tracking

As if you dicking about with the ‘Dub’ and ‘Edit’ buttons did anything at all, apart from make the video recorder go off.

 

 

PlayJam

playjam

Surprisingly little exists about PlayJam, the competitor to Sky Games. I mean, it might do now, but I couldn’t be bothered to look. Contained brilliantly addictive games like ‘Outpatients’, ‘Nutz’, and ‘Bok’.

Honourable mention – Challenge TV red button games, which included ‘String ‘Em In’ and ‘Tactiles’. More information on Playjam/Challenge Games is always welcome.

Renting Mega Drive games

1607243-sega-master-cartridge-ecco-the-dolphin-0

Every week a guy came round, and we’d rent Space Jam, Ecco The Dolphin or similar from him. My parents wouldn’t buy me any permanent games because I was rubbish at them. Take they typical conversation I had with my mum or dad every time the guy came to take the cartridges back and I hadn’t finished:

“Never mind, you might get that last jump next time.”

“No, because you turned the TV over to Brookside when I was just about to finally do it for the only time ever, you whore.”

“Bed. Now.”

Trying to see German porn on Sky

porn

On channels like RTL, courtesy of the Astra satellite. Squinting enough always convinced you that you were seeing the sex going on. In reality, you had to make do with the European noises coming from the TV, which you couldn’t even fucking hear anyway, because you had the sound turned down to 1 because your parents were in bed.

6 thoughts on “16 memories of old technology

  1. You’re obviously a bit younger than me ‘cos some of those things don’t seem like old things! One of the oldest bits of technology I remember us having when I was a kid in the ’70s was this old reel-to-reel tape recorder that my Dad had saved up to buy at some point in the 1960s. It was all self contained in what was essentially a little suitcase and had a separate microphone. The whole thing was so big and chunky. he also had this enormous chunky calculator which was brown and grey and sometimes he’d let me ‘play’ on it – no games, just marveling at the little LCD numbers, making up little number games to entertain myself. Similarly my first digital watch was so awesome! And I remember Mum’s old record player she’d got in the ’60s too. Woolworth’s singles – in the pic they’re all on CD. I still have some of my old collection of vinyl 7″ singles amassed between the mid ’70s to mid ’80s. And now I have made myself feel old so I shall go away.

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  2. What about the most amazing friend who had a “tape-toTape” stero? They were the kings of the playground, as they could run off illicit copies of computer games and music as their hearts desired. Piracy was 90% wishing for an Amstrad stereo, I seem to remember. I wish Alan Sugar would justify this by going “Arr!” once in a while.

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    1. I think I must have been that friend; my dad was a musician so we always had loads of gear lying around. I used to make my own shit radio station on our setup, probably called something like “Jenny FM” and just full of me screeching then playing Atlantic 252.

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  3. Some things here have brought back memories, I had a cassette walkman and then later on my Dad got a discman which we were allowed to borrow on long car journeys.

    Also I got a Casio portable tv when I signed up to Natwest in Freshers week at uni in 2001, I sold it on ebay for £90 2 years later.

    Remember regularly browsing the aisles of Woolies looking at music and video games.

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