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.

Rainbow episode review: Mistletoe and Whining

Well, what fucking japes are we going to get up to this time? Let’s find out.

1a

Zippy and George are drawing various occult symbols on paper and giving us an ‘as you know’ speech:

Zippy: “As you know, it’s nearly Christmas.”

George: “Yes. Geoffrey and Bungle are up in the loft, looking for our Christmas decorations, which I am also aware of.”

Zippy. I too am aware of that. Are you also aware that they are taking an unusually long time finding our Christmas decorations, which they are looking for on account of how it’s nearly Christmas?”

Wait, those occult symbols are actually their Christmas lists. I assume, then, that this is one of those episodes where Zippy and George aren’t old enough to write, but Bungle is somehow old enough to dick about in the loft with Geoffrey.

2

It also transpires that Bungle put the decorations back in the loft last year, all on his own. I’ve given up trying to figure out how old Bungle is. 37?

The point is that Bungle has somehow lost the Christmas decorations. “I can’t remember where I put them!” he tells Geoffrey. Can we all agree that none of us would really be surprised to discover he stuck them all up his arse.

A rare view of the Rainbow staircase, which looks dangerous, not to mention overgrown:

3

Geoffrey announces that the Christmas decorations have fucking vanished, and that Christmas is cancelled. George suggests that they could make some Christmas decorations. I suggest that this was all an elaborate plot device. The producers probably hid the Christmas decorations so the gang would be forced to make their own, and it would make for interesting TV. That’s assuming, of course, that Rainbow was some weird Big Brother prototype, rather than a show for 3 year olds.

Bungle gets to work straight away:

4

Can you guess what the hell Bungle is doing?

“I’m pretending to be a Christmas tree!” he yells, with the hint of mania you’d expect from someone pretending to be a Christmas tree.

Fucking good job Bungle. Just one thing – if this is your contribution to the decorations, does this mean that you are now the actual Christmas tree? As in, you’re going to stand like that until early January? You haven’t thought this through.

Meanwhile, George has cut some holes in the Daily Express.

5

Even better – apparently Geoffrey did that for him. Geoffrey, you’re so good.

Anyway, what I want to talk about is this:

6

This is Zippy’s banana snowman, which we can all agree is a genius idea. The others all laugh at him for this; Bungle actually goes as far as to say it’s the silliest thing he’s ever seen, thus proving beyond any doubt that Bungle has never looked in a mirror.

Speaking of which – while all this has been going on, has Bungle been standing in the corner, stubbornly refusing to stop being a Christmas tree?

Later on, Geoffrey is painting that loo roll Christmas tree thing like he’s Bob Ross. I want to know who did that painting of Zippy in a hat.

7

The doorbell goes.

“Bungle, get the door!”

“I can’t, I’m only 3, I can’t reach the door handle. And anyway, it might be a stranger.”

“For God’s sake Bungle, we’ve just had this conversation. You’re 37. Anyway, if it is a stranger at the door, then I feel sorry for the stranger. Now get the door.”

Oh look it’s their friend John, who just happens to have popped round with a load of old newspapers.

8

John tells them a story about (would you believe it) making your own Christmas decorations, and he makes them a paper bell garland thing, which shits all over George’s snowflakes covered in headlines about Diana.

9

Then John just sort of goes away. That’s a shame, I like John. Anyway, George reminds everyone that they’re going to be late for their “carol singing with Rod Jane and Freddy”.

He’s right, because we immediately cut to Rod Jane and Freddy doing a song without them. They are all Victorian. Maybe they’re all in a coma and this is a weird Rainbow/Life on Mars crossover, where they sell chestnuts instead of being the rozzers.

10

Hey, Freddy looks like he can do that weird thing with his hands where your fingers bend backwards. I can do that – I wonder if we’re related?

Ok, credit to them, the living room does look awesome now, although it would look better with a fat, passive aggressive Christmas tree.

11

Right, are you ready for the biggest ‘fucking what’ moment of your life?

The only thing missing, as George points out, is a fairy for the top of the Christmas tree (I assume they mean Geoffrey’s Bob Ross loo roll thing).

No problem, says Geoffrey, let’s just magic one out of thin air using Sooty’s magic wand!

12

As you can see, Freddy’s just had the ‘fucking what’ moment.

WHY DIDN’T THEY JUST USE THAT FUCKING MAGIC WAND TO MAKE SOME DECORATIONS THAT AREN’T SHIT? OR TO FIND THEIR OLD DECORATIONS? OR TO MAKE BUNGLE GO AWAY?

Facepalms all round.

13

Zippy has a sly go with the magic wand, and accidentally turns himself into a Christmas fairy.

14

“That’ll learn you,” says Geoffrey. “How many times do I have to tell you not to mess about with the occult.”

How they laugh.

I’m going to go lie in a dark room now.

17 out of context pictures from Jackie

The other day I spent a whole sodding morning scanning in some old Jackie annuals. Why is not important. What is important is the scary pictures I found in them.

Because I’m tired and I can’t be arsed to write captions, I present to you – a selection of Jackie pictures with zero context. In my opinion, this makes them better. However, if I were doing captions, I’d suggest ‘Tron for girls’, fanny kicking’, and ‘Steve’.

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Rainbow episode review: Regrets, I’ve had a few…

I’ve been asked to review this episode, and who am I to disappoint one of my three readers.

‘If Only We Hadn’t’ is the last proper episode of Rainbow ever made. It’s about doing things you later regret, such as agreeing to play Bungle.

Let’s crack on, because I’ve got to glue something after this.

Geoffrey is reading the gang a story about a robot. Note that out of all of them, Geoffrey is the most excited about this.

1

After the story, Bungle gets up and starts doing robot dancing like a naked, spherical Peter Crouch. Geoffrey looks on with an expression that says ‘I’m so glad I emailed North Korea yesterday and told them you were a spy’.

2

Geoffrey announces that there’s too much crap in the house, and that he’s getting rid of all of it. Zippy suggests they might want to Ebay Bungle: “Slightly soiled, no careful owners, suitable for deaf person.” Geoffrey pretends to be outraged while laughing and thinking ‘I really must invent the internet so I can Ebay Bungle. And also so I can email North Korea like I just said I did.’

Geoffrey promises to make cornflake cakes later, as long as they don’t do anything stupid while he’s gone, like cut up the cornflakes box (THIS IS IMPORTANT). Then he goes off to sort out the pans or whatever he’s doing. Bungle decides he’s going to build a silver robot, like the one in the story. Zippy immediately pisses on the idea, citing Bungle’s inability to do anything ever.

To be fair to Bungle, Zippy is a complete dick in this episode; he’s winding Bungle up for no real reason. Since this is the last episode, I’m hoping that Bungle will finally snap and eat Zippy.

He doesn’t. He does the next best thing, which is pointing at him. Zippy gives him the sly finger.

3

This somehow evolves into a contest between Bungle and Zippy over who can make the best thing. I’m going to call it now and say that neither of them will make anything good, because Zippy only has one arm, and Bungle is Bungle.

George says “Let’s make a rocket out of the washing up liquid bottle.”

This is the washing up liquid bottle:

4

It’s nearly, but not quite, as good as my imaginary range of cleaning products called ‘Shite Away’.

Also it’s full, so Zippy goes to empty it out. While he’s gone, Geoffrey comes back in and has the following exchange with George:

“Everything all right George?”

“Well…”

“Good.”

Zero fucks given. I love Geoffrey when he’s in this mood.

Zippy comes back, and he’s emptied the washing up liquid down the fucking sink. It’s like Freaky Friday and him and Bungle have swapped minds.

He’s also apparently cleaned the bottle out, despite it still having the top welded on.

5

Next they need some cardboard to make the wings for the rocket. The only thing in the entire house that’s made of cardboard is the cornflakes box. Do you remember the important thing from earlier?

I love the way they’ve gone to the trouble of copying the Kellogg’s font.

6

“All the cardboard we need!”

Kellogg’s should use that as the slogan for cornflakes.

Bungle comes in to say something, but I’m distracted because half of his shoulder flap is missing.

7

Where is it?

Anyway, Bungle launches into an ‘As you know’ speech about how Geoffrey loses his shit if you use stuff without asking, especially when it’s for something shit like a pretend rocket.

Well that shows how much you know Bungle, because the rocket isn’t shit, it’s actually really good:

rocket-2

Oh my fucking God:

8

WHY HAS HE GOT NO FUCKING PANTS ON AGAIN.

“Right, it’s time to make the cornflake cakes” says Geoffrey. He reels off a list of things he’ll need to make them. This list includes washing up liquid, cornflakes, and tin foil.

Three questions:

Why do you need tin foil to make cornflake cakes?

What did Zippy do with the cornflakes? He only needed a bit of the box, so aren’t the cornflakes sat around in their bag somewhere?

Why is Bungle still wearing that box?

9

The penny drops. Geoffrey realises where all the missing things have gone. Apart from the cornflakes. Will someone answer me about the fucking cornflakes please?

Oh wait, Zippy “gave the cornflakes to the birds”. WHY?

Zippy, seriously. At this point you’re actually managing to look stupider than Bungle. Think about that.

11

Geoffrey’s annoyed for about a second, then forgets it and says “Come on, we’ll go to the shop and get some more stuff.”. Zippy says “If only I hadn’t taken those things.” George doesn’t say “If only I hadn’t been such an enabler and been just as guilty as Zippy while letting him get the blame for everything.” George doesn’t say that, but he fucking should.

Bungle is still wearing the box. Evidently he’s planning to go to the shop in it. I suppose it’s one step up from public nudity, but the shopkeeper will still see his knob, and then say “If only I hadn’t seen Bungle’s knob.”.

Fin.

A tribute to dad shops

The other day I passed a ‘car spares and accessories’ shop. Immediately I started thinking “I’m glad I don’t have any possible reason to have to go in there.” Then an old lady nearly pushed me so I forgot all about it.

But later on it did get me thinking about the shops my dad loved going in when I was a kid. He mostly liked man shops that sold things made of electricity and concrete. If I was with him on a shopping trip, I’d have to spend a lot of time looking at man things. I was fine with this, because I’d probably get a Wimpy out of it.

The following are shops that tend to attract dads like a magnet. Most of them sell magnets. That’s probably why.

Tandy

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Sells: 10m speaker wires. Speakers. Wires.

Do they sell toys? No, and if you try to play with the stuff you die from all the electricity.

Dad appeal: Strong. My dad was forever dragging me into Tandy, leaving me to examine the weird grey carpet while he stood marvelling at things made by Alba and Basf.

See also: Maplin. But we never went to Maplin so fuck off.

Cash Converters

cc

Sells: Video recorders. Old saxophone reeds. One DVD of Only Fools And Horses.

Do they sell toys? Sometimes. But they’re always behind glass cases or some other fucking place where you can’t reach them.

Dad appeal: Medium. My dad hardly ever bought anything from Cash Converters, but that didn’t stop him having to go in there every time we were out, to look at guitars. However, now I’m in my 30s, I can wait for him in the pub instead of attempting to be interested in the stuff people have pawned to pay the gas bill.

B&Q

bq

Sells: 10mm rawl plugs. 14mm rawl plugs. 16mm rawl plugs. Slabs.

Do they sell toys? Do they fuck. But they do have those trolleys, if you can get away from your parents long enough to steal one and have a go on it.

Dad appeal: Strong. B&Q was the bane of my small life. This was made worse by the fact that my mother loved B&Q as well, so I had two parents telling me not to “show them up” instead of one. I couldn’t even play in the mock-up display rooms they had, because I had to accompany my parents to look at brackets instead.

I don’t know why parents are so fascinated with Ronseal and allen keys, but they are.

Car accessory shops

west-kirby-shop

Sells: Mats in various shades of grey. Pine tree air fresheners. Those stretchy cords with a hook on each end.

Do they sell toys? No. They sell lots of shiny things that look like they might be toys at first glance, but turn out to be wheel trims.

Dad appeal: Weak. We didn’t exactly have a pimpin’ car when I was a kid. We had an old Peugeot that apparently used to be light blue back when it had some paint on it. It also backfired every time it stopped/started/moved. This was a cause of much hilarity for my parents, but not for me, as I had to be picked up from school in it, leading to the other kids calling me a “gyppo”.

We did go in occasionally though; my dad would look at steering wheel covers, as if buying one would somehow improve our car and stop it embarrassing me all the time.

Millets

millets

Sells: shock-corded tent poles. Mallets (specifically, Millets mallets). Sensible things.

Do they sell toys? Not really, although display tents are always fun to play in.

Dad appeal: Weak. I don’t remember ever setting foot in a Millets when I was a kid. We didn’t do camping; we had a static caravan in Ingoldmells. I suspect my dad would have been all over their selection of sensible clothing though. He once bought me a pair of “insulated golfing mitts”. I never did get to the bottom of why he gave me those.

Dixons

dixons

Sells: Minidisc players. Curly wires. Amstrad.

Do they sell toys? No, but they did have those boxes of software, and they were always fun to look at. Usually called things like ‘Corel Graphics Pack’ and ‘Quicken’, but sometimes they had stuff about Batman or The Magic School Bus.

Dad appeal: Strong. My dad was forever in Dixons looking at the minidisc players. In his defence, back then he was a musician with thousands of backing tracks to store, so he at least had a reason to be looking at minidisc players. Also: floppy disks, packs of 1000 batteries, watching Richard and Judy with the sound off.

Rainbow episode review: All hail Satan

Good evening. Today I pay tribute to the original anti-social triggering shitlord. In this episode Zippy goes on a rampage, grinding the feelings of Bungle, George and Geoffrey into the dirt where they belong.

Just kidding. All he does is piss Bungle off, which is always worth doing.

Bungle’s building a shit tower. Geoffrey is laughing at how shit the tower is.

1

Go on Geoffrey, crush his dreams. It’s the only way he’ll learn.

They’re all having a competition to see who can build the highest tower. the current record is six bricks.

Pop quiz. Will Bungle:

A) beat the record

B) fail like a big failure and then blame someone else

If you answered B: congratulations.

Zippy comes along and decides to knock Bungle’s shit tower over so he can build a better one. In Bungle’s defence, this one was sort of Zippy’s fault. In Zippy’s defence, Bungle fucking deserved it.

Plus, this is a hell of a face:

All the others gang up on Zippy and decide to use beat the shit out of him by saying words at him, like that will have any effect whatsoever on Zippy. Zippy’s having none of it. He fucks off.

He fucks straight back on again, waving a spoon around. Why he keeps a spoon under the table is not important. It’s like the old saying: ‘It’s not where you got your spoon from, it’s what you do with your spoon.’

He’s waving that spoon dangerously close to Bungle’s shit tower 2.0. So dangerously close that he twats Bungle’s tower over again, completely accidentally on purpose.

Uh-oh, someone needs a safe space:

Geoffrey manages to prevent Bungle’s PTSD by getting him to choose a story from the book. As regular readers know, Bungle has a unique style of reading. Today, however, he decides to break with tradition by not holding the book one fucking millimetre from his fucking face. In an unorthodox move, he decides to hold the book against his armpit, and also to look in the opposite direction of the book.

5

“You’re such an unbelievable bastard Zippy. I can’t believe how much of a bastard you are. I bet you vote UKIP as well don’t you.”

“Fuck off Bungle, you’re the one who’s Paul Nuttall under that bear suit.”

Zippy tries to confiscate the book, leading to a bitch fight. Geoffrey intervenes and loses his shit, while Zippy looks like he’s just realised there’s a bear standing next to him.

6

Zippy fucks off, this time for really, extremely real. This leaves a big gaping hole in the tableau, so I’ve used some artistic licence.

7

While Zippy’s gone, Bungle suggests they all have a story without him, so they can all point and laugh later when he finds out he’s missed it. Geoffrey reminds Bungle that “Perhaps Zippy wouldn’t be a prick to you if you weren’t such a prick.”

“Fuck off Geoffrey, stop oppressing me,” shouts Bungle. George probably says something too, but no one really cares.

Geoffrey reads Bungle and George a story, despite having a go at Bungle for suggesting it a minute ago. When Zippy shows up three hours later, Geoffrey has to break it to him that he’s missed the story. Zippy sinks into a deep depression.

8

Poor Zippy. All this because Bungle was a whining bitch.

To make matters worse, the others have eaten all the sausages they were going to have for tea, and now Zippy has to starve. Bungle appears like a big, looming Bob Ross painting of himself to tell Zippy this.

9

The smug bastard. Go on Zippy, glue nails to all the books so he’ll stab himself in the eyes next time he tries to read them.

Turns out they were just joking about the sausages, but before they let him have any, they make him say the following things:

“Bungle’s feelings are just as important as mine.”

“It isn’t Bungle’s fault he’s a stupid loser.”

“We have always been at war with Eastasia.”

10

Zippy finally gets his sausages. Eating tubes of meat revives him, and soon he’s back to his old self.

“I didn’t mean a word of that you fucking diseased nipples. And I tell you what, I voted for Donald Trump, because he’s the same colour as me, so fuck you!”

“No you didn’t,” says Geoffrey. “A) You’re not American, and B), we’re in the past. At best, you voted for John Major.”

And then they all immediately forget everything and are all friends again.

11

Don’t worry, Bungle is holding a sausage, he doesn’t have a broken finger. I wish he did.