Clive Sinclair (Alexander Armstrong) pays for drinks (from an uncredited Sophie Wilson
It was a cheesy time, the early 80s, but I’m stuck with it as my youth. Home computers were probably the largest part of my life for rather longer than I should admit.
My brother recommended Micro Men, a BBC 4 (what? they have more than two?) comedy drama about the fight between Acorn and Sinclair for the BBC educational contract. I went to my usual source for quality television, and it was on my computer an hour after hearing about it.
With a mix of vintage film and recreations, it caught the ’78-85 vibe perfectly. Whether all the anecdotes are historically correct, it doesn’t matter – the feeling of the frantic dash to develop new machines in ridiculously short times and then advertise them months before they were ready was there.
There were a bunch of good cameos, too. Nice to see Sophie Wilson (known to me as the author of BBC Basic, known to you as the designer of the ARM processor almost certainly used in your mobile phone) making an apperance.
So, though I was never a BBC B or ZX Spectrum owner, a fun programme, and one you might like.
I came late to the BBC Basic game, but used it on my Z88 to ace an Introduction to Numerical Methods course (yay EVAL!).
Yup, Chernobyl was 20 years ago. Let’s just have a wee pause for a technology that’s still messing us up, yet we’re told it’s the green technology of the future. Yeah, and I bet it’ll be too cheap to meter, too.
There are still farms in Scotland affected by the fallout from Chernobyl. Though, what with all the nuke plants in Scotland, it could be any one of them that’s the real culprit.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a wind farm to survey …
I’ve been working on a couple of medium-sized wind farms in Ontario. For top laughs, I tried overlaying them on Scotland, using streetmap.co.uk for the measurements.
Since I’m a weegie, I started at George Square. One of the farms would stretch all the way west by Wishaw, near Murdostoun Castle (and the comically-named town of Bonkle). The other would run north to somewhere between Fintry and Kippen, in Stirlingshire.
For those of you unlucky enough to be based east of Falkirk, I tried the same starting at Edinburgh Castle. The first wind farm would run west to the hamlet of Gilchriston, which is just north-west of Dun Law Wind Farm, which I worked on in the distant past. (If you run the farm west from Edinburgh, you end up in Bo’ness, which no-one would want to do.) The other design would end up somewhere between Kirkcaldy and Glenrothes, near Thornton — and not that far from Methil, a distance that the RSPB would have us believe is just too far for a wind farm.
So, where’s the news, RSPB? How did your land get somehow more precious than ours?
I’ve just been listening to BBC Radio 4‘s dramatisation of Edmund Gosse’s Father and Son. It’s rather good.
I think I can safely say that this household knows more about Edmund Gosse than any other in Scarborough. Catherine‘s PhD was based on on the Gosse family, and I’ve read the book and proof-read the thesis. I suspect we’re also the only household in Scarborough that relates episodes from the young life of Edmund Gosse as if they were family anecdotes.
I’ve archived an MP3 copy of Arnold Brown’s Radio 4 programme here: Ivor Cutler: Glasgow Dreamer. It’s a good introduction to Ivor Cutler’s work, and it’s a bit more accessible than the RealAudio format I had to convert it from.