Thursday, July 19, 2012

Excavations 3 : A Love As Pure As A Single Malt

EXCAVATION UP MY BACK PASSAGE
A Summer series highlighting some of the discoveries made whilst de-cluttering the back passages of my house.


I know, it's cheating. As I reach into the recesses of my back passage I am carefully working my way around a host of cuddly toys and a heap of rotting VHS cassettes in search of books. But I like books. I can pick them up and flick through the fading pages : try doing that with a stuffed Winnie The Pooh or a cassette of Zulu. 

My objet trouve for today is a book that was once very close to my heart. If you had asked me 28 years ago which book I would have taken to the proverbial desert island I would probably have answered Ian Sinclairs "Introducing The BBC Micro" I bought the book months before I bought the computer and with glorious anticipation I read it again and again whilst I tried to gather together enough money to buy the object of my desires. 

It dates from a time when I used to record the date and place of purchase of books on the title page (try doing that with a Kindle edition!) and therefore I can trace the immediate history of the purchase. It was 1984 : Isobel was still a medical student and I was trying to keep things going by working both as a lecturer in South Yorkshire and also moonlighting for the European Commission in Brussels. It was obviously during one of my regular trips to Brussels that I bought the book and it was with money I earned by working for the Commission that I bought the computer itself a few months later.

I loved that computer with a love as pure, and as brazen, as single malt whisky. I would work on it late into the night and dream of it when I eventually went to sleep. And as with so many old girlfriends - for sure, it was a girl - I wonder what ever became of it. I can't remember ever having got rid of it so perhaps it is waiting for me at the end of a rainbow; or, more likely, at the end of my back passage.

10 comments:

  1. But don't things get out of date fast these days. A computer /phone/ipad all get out of date within a year or so. They don't even print mauals any more but a download site. Tough if you don't know how to do that. Gotta keep up though.

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  2. I do hope your Micro is waiting for you, somewhere amidst the paraphernalia. I remember buying a secondhand Spectrum for our daughter to play games on, and waiting for an age while the cassette tapes uploaded in a strange musical way.

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  3. I love that the book you would have taken to the deserted island is a book on computers. And we get to see your signature. Very nice - love the B with a big flourish. I always sign and date my books, too, and where I purchased it, if away from home. I do hope your Old Love is waiting for you at the end of the passage.

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  4. For a moment I thought you had found a bottle of single malt. But even you wouldn't have been as remiss as that.
    I was in Norway in 1984 so the early computers passed me by.

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  5. Surely it is now a antique worth historical value:)

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  6. I hope that you find it somewhere in your back passage under a heap of Zulus and Winnies :-) It's probably very collectible these days... My sister's mother in law refers to the corridor between their kitchen and their garden as "Ken's back passage" as hubby Ken has similar storage issues :-)

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  7. I believe in 1984 we were using an IBM PC with two floppy disk drives and 256k memory. One would never try to use an IBM manual to figure out how to use one of their computers. They were totally unintelligible. And with the 1200 baud external modem, we thought we were very high tech!

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  8. So piling up a huge amount of stuff pays off dividends as we find stuff and it takes us back to the time when it was acquired.

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  9. In schools of course it was the BBC Acorns which we teachers had to master. I’m sad to say I saw many of them trashed in skips as this was before we had to get rid of hardware in a ‘green’ way. Mr Nell reminds me that we too had a Spectrum for our children to play Jet Set Willy and learn basic programming. My favourite game on that was called ‘Escape’! He also immediately recalled ‘Loading error 12’ the message which was the epitome of frustration.

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  10. If it shows itself I'm sure you'll be posting gleefully about your lost but found love.

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