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
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
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
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
Never gets old. Somehow, typing out ‘BOOBIES’ in MS Word doesn’t have quite the same rebellious appeal.
Bossa Nova button
See also: Marimba, Big Band 4, Clavichord.
My Discman skipping every time the car went over a bump
Or – my Radiohead albums being ruined by going over speed bumps near Worksop. Rock ‘n’ roll.
Video Library fake books
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
As if you dicking about with the ‘Dub’ and ‘Edit’ buttons did anything at all, apart from make the video recorder go off.
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
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.”
Trying to see German porn on Sky
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.