Monday, March 18, 2013
A bright sunshine spring morning in London on a train. For some reason I get flashbacks of other spring mornings in the '80s waiting for trains in London, or the Isle of Wight, or in some suburb north of London where I used to live. Reading about the guitar world and reading about computers and how they would change our lives. And the instruction manual for Windows 2 or the 'Second Manual for the Atari ST', all those magazines and books promising to open the gates of the future in the comfort of your own home. We had moved from St James' Road, from Pete's brother's house, to that little house in Benskin Road. I had the front room, sunshine streaking down as I read about all the wonderful things you could get to do with a computer. You could even make music with it, fancy that. I could write that novel that had been buzzing around my head forever but never seemed to take shape. All the possibilities. I had more or less decided on an Atari ST rather than the other possibilities -the PCs of the time, the 'IBM compatible; PCs as they were still called, were primitive and expensive, Amigas had better graphics and lots of games but I wasn't going to play games, Ataris had MIDI ports built in so you could plug in an electronic music instrument. They also had a superb mono monitor which was 'better than the Apple Mac display'. And what I really wanted and couldn't afford was an Apple Mac, that was what my friend Oswaldo had back in Caracas and the first time I had thought that I could get to do stuff with a computer, you didn't have to type in arcane commands to get it to do things. So the Atari was second best choice. I never did write that novel, my machine music making efforts have been perhaps less than stellar, I never did learn to program properly and eventually decided also that that was not what I wanted a computer for anyway, but it was a good thing, I still think, that I learnt some basics (err....) about this and how the machine worked.