Archive for the ‘Jay's Wafflings’ Category

How the ZX Spectrum will never die.

Kids these days are continuously nagged for spending way too much time on computer games or on the internet, and not enough time playing outside.  Trouble is, there are a few significant changes to remember –

1) Once upon a time, it was quite safe to let your kids roam free.  Paedophiles hadn’t been invented yet.
2) Modern computer games are so deep and involved that it takes a few solid hours of playing them in order to advance anywhere within the game!
Finally, 3) The arrival of Social Networking has reduced the need to spend all our time out and about, because we can read all about David’s new Labrador (and even see photos of it) on Facebook.

Job interviews, and even advanced space exploration, can now be carried out using a computer connected to the internet, so it’s probably time for some people to accept that computers are a way of modern life, and unless you want to be left behind, or live as a hermit, there is no avoiding them.

While all these significant lifestyle changes have taken place, one thing remains constant – computer games have been around for decades, and despite the countless hours I used to spend playing on my ZX Spectrum 48k+ or my Amiga 500, I like to think I’ve grown up not all that bad!  Since the arrival of computer games, kids have always spent most of their childhood locked in their bedrooms blasting aliens away, and I don’t recall hearing that it has ever done anyone any harm (apart from the aliens).  So what is the point in telling a child that they will damage their eyes if they spend so much time glued to a computer screen, when they are probably going to get a job in an office and spend the rest of their life glued to a computer screen anyway?  Most jobs in this day and age require at least some computer knowledge, and so many are almost entirely computer based.  There is so much that you can do with a computer these days that I believe a child probably learns more in front of that screen, rather than kicking a spherical bag of air around on a field while knocking back bottles of Thunderbird.

My ZX Spectrum was one of my best friends when I was growing up.  I remember standing with my mum and dad in the Oldham branch of Boots, where we purchased this fine piece of technology for around £300.

 

SpectrumPlus_1

 

Unbelievable, isn’t it?  You can pick up a Nintendo Wii for about half that price these days.  I was so excited, and went on to collect almost every game in the catalogue of Spectrum games that ever existed.  Being on audio cassette, they were relatively easy to “clone” too, just in case your mates wanted to hang on to a back-up copy for you, or vice versa ;-)

Wind the clock forward 15 years to the mid-90s, and these games became available to play on the modern day PC, through the magic of an emulator.  No longer did you have to sit there for 10 minutes, listening to the awful screeching loading noise (which is now music to the nostalgia geek’s ears) only to get the infamous “Tape Loading Error” message – these emulated games were now loadable on your new PC instantly with the double-click of a mouse!

 

ChuckieEgg

 

Wind the clock forward another 10 years to present day, and these games are now carried around in my pocket, ready for action whenever I get a spare moment to whip out my iPhone and start gaming.  This fantastic advance in technology in such a short space of time still amazes me, and allows me to geek-it-up fairly regularly.  The guy who has invented the ZX Spectrum iPhone app, which plays these games, is certainly a genius, and an evil one at that.  Sneakily, there is an in-app store, where you can purchase further game releases as and when he decides to be gracious enough to dish them out.  He holds back on you, watching you sweat anxiously, like a heroin addict who can’t get his drugs, and then occasionally throws you a ZX Spectrum hypodermic for the glorious in-app price of £1.19.  All the emulated games on the PC are freely downloadable, but for the iPhone, this guy is holding all the cards and if you want to play them on your little portable device then you have to cough up the dosh.  The additional crafty move by this guy is that the purchases come in game packs of six, generally consisting of one classic game that you know and love, and five others that you either hated or have never heard of.

 

zxspectrum

 

Either way, I am more than happy to pay, because we all love things that take us on a path back to our childhood, and for me, this is mine.

So imagine my excitement when I read a very guarded report recently that the ZX Spectrum is being relaunched as it approaches its 30th anniversary in 2012!  This is going to get massive press and attention among the gaming, geek, nostalgia and 30-somethings communities alike in the coming months.  It is unknown, as yet, what form the relaunch will take, but you can be sure of one thing – while children continue to blast away those aliens in their bedrooms, there are soon going to be a hoard of nostalgia seeking parents who will be joining them.

More information on the ZX Spectrum: http://www.nvg.ntnu.no/sinclair/computers/zxspectrum/zxspectrum.htm

Play ZX Spectrum games in your browser: http://www.zxspectrum.net

ZX Spectrum on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZX_Spectrum

More info on the 30th Anniversary: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/video-games/8304237/ZX-Spectrum-relaunch-gaming-goes-back-to-the-future.html

Happy Pancake Day!

Just a quick entry to say hello, as I notice I haven’t “blogged” since September!
I guess with this being the first of 2011, I’d better say Happy New Year too!
I’ve come across an appropriate picture that I thought I’d share with you throughout the pancake festivities of the evening.
There is something rather sinister about this…

pancake

 

Happy Birthday 96.2 The Revolution

The official birthday of 96.2 The Revolution is actually August 30th, from when we launched back in 1999.  However, since its rebirth in 2008, it now has a second birthday (just like the Queen) on 22nd September.  By pure coincidence, this is also the date that we originally moved to the building we are now in, from our little temporary box room at the Spindles Shopping Centre, to the old Sarah Moor Restaurant in Oldham Edge which was officially presented by Jack Duckworth!

96.2 The Revolution - Officially opened by Bill Tarmey in 2000

Funnily enough, that’s exactly the same date that the plane crash happened on the TV series “Lost” in 2004… but that’s just me being a big old geek.

In light of these occasions, it’s always nice to celebrate such occasions.  Not plane crashes – radio station birthdays.  It gives us an opportunity to remind listeners how long we’ve been around and how bloody great we really are.  So, 96.2 The Revolution has turned both 11 years old AND 2 years old this year, and it was with this in mind, listener John Hall kindly penned a rather long poem for us and sent it into the station.

Enjoy…

Happy Birthday, to the Revolution,
Two years since your new evolution.
Good tunes combined with endless fun,
The entertainment has just begun.

Sara starts her show at five,
The Revolution has come alive.
Then at six, the airwaves rock,
Penky’s show, at stupid o’clock.

Wake up songs, sound out North West,
Listeners awake, from their rest.
But whatever the weather, sun or rain,
Steve’s Revolution will entertain.

Birdie hosts the Top Ten at Ten,
TUnes from a year, to reminisce again.
He gives out clues and loads of cheer,
As listeners attempt to guess the year.

In Studio One, Big Al is along,
It is eleven o’clock, his coffee song.
He also asks for registration,
Reads out texts sent to the station.

There’s questions, flowers and of course,
Battles against the work force.
Music and laughter, all the way,
As Big Al takes you through the day.

At 3pm, with the airwaves alive,
Elliot present his show called Drive.
Fun and laughter in many slots,
With updates on bad travel spots.

The ultimate tune of the day,
anecdotes and BIG questions all the way.
An afternoon of music heaven,
As Elliot eases you through to seven.

Jay’s Jukebox is the feature next,
Your records played, just send a text.
Relax and enjoy your favourite dinner,
The Evening Show will be a winner.

There is much to do, with games to play,
Questions and teasers posed by Jay.
While all the greatest hits flow,
He prepares you for the Wind Up Show.

Penky presents the show ahead,
As listeners prepare themselves for bed.
But for anyone, not sleeping light,
The hits roll on, throughout the night.

Saturday morning, it’s Danny at six,
Continues the great music mix.
More wind ups, then an eighties treat,
Before, Birdie, again will greet.

His Saturday show is very amusing,
Fronting four great hours of Cruising.
The most fantastic jukebox sound,
A show, nowhere else, can be found.

The jukebox hits flow and flow,
Keep tuned in for Jay’s Love Show.
Smooch around as the clock ticks,
John will wake you up at six.

It’s Sunday, relax, as you should,
Preparing yourselves for Phil Wood.
He gargles songs and taps out morse,
With Sunday classics played of course.

Big Al, then Elliot, continue the flow,
Leading to Steve’s Rewind Show.
Four hours of hits, from the past,
Before more wind ups, what a cast!

John Hall.

Be Careful What You Wish For

There are certain pleasures in life, such as holidays, chilling out with a cool glass of beer, or simply just finding five minutes to enjoy some “me time”. I am a fan of all three, but seldom get the chance to do any.

I have a number of commitments that require a lot of my time, from work related duties, to family related activities, which leaves me a short amount of time to actually indulge in any of my own individual interests. Not that my work, or family, don’t interest me… it’s just always nice to grab a bit of time to yourself now and again.

I often find myself wishing for a little bit of a break. Maybe three or four days to just do NOTHING. Or maybe just to do a few of the things I keep meaning to get done, ie, read a book, fix that wobbly shelf, feed the dog…

So imagine my surprise when (and this doesn’t happen often) I become sick.

Throwing a sicky is often the way the average Brit gets to indulge in a few of the things they didn’t leave any spare holidays for. It’s that inner childish mischief that was always a firm favourite when wagging school. But when you actually become ill for real it’s a whole different story…

I’ve had some sort of weirdness attack my back for the past few weeks – an affliction which began over two months ago and has decided it likes me. It’s evolved from a niggling twinge into wrenching debilitating agony, and it’s given me the break from my responsibilities that I had been craving for so long.

However, this break comes at a price.

The price is an obscene charge for a ridiculous amount of prescription medicine which doesn’t work, and an illness which still continues to prevent me from carrying out any of the things I’ve been wanting to do.

I begrudge forking out money for tablets that don’t work. I feel like I’m paying for the privilege of having a pointless chat with some bloke who likes to fob me off, and gives me some horrible tasting sweets to take home with me for a laugh. At least the dentist gives you a sticker.

So, my point? Be careful what you wish for. All that spare time may sound great. But if you’re unable to actually do anything with it, then what’s the point?

There’s nothing I would love more than to make use of all this precious time, but some days I can barely move. I’ll pop the pills, feel dizzy and light-headed for a bit (some of the side effects even include hallucinations – that’ll be a treat) and then I’m given the wonderful treat of insomnia, which is why I’m writing this entry from my phone at 4am.

I love reading the “side effects” leaflets that come with new medicines. We shouldn’t read them, but we all do. So, if I survive the sweats, mood swings, heart failure, nightmares, hallucinations and strokes that are listed in these pill’s side effects, then hopefully all will eventually be well!

Truth is, I’m getting nothing done at home and I actually miss working.

I’m gonna toddle off now. My gran has just arrived and she’s been dead for about 7 years, so we’ve got some catching up to do.

Good health to you.

Busy Old Weekend / Shameless Merchandise Plug

First of all, if you’ve not seen Shrek 4 yet (I know, “Shrek: Forever After” for the picky ones) then I suggest you go and watch it – in 3D!

This new batch of 3D films that they’ve started to roll out are a fantastic idea.  I had my daughter staying with me this weekend so we decided to take her to go see it.  Now, I’ve never seen one of these new 3D films, I rarely have time to go to the cinema in general, but the quality was amazing!  Makes me want to buy one of those new 3D TVs that are due out later this year.  Then again, are we going to have to sit there in the front room looking like idiots with our 3D glasses on?  Not to mention, when you leave the cinema, your eyes do feel a bit funny from wearing those glasses for almost two hours straight.

I say two hours straight, it was more like an hour and a half for me.  My daughter Kallie, being only six years of age, didn’t realise that sticky popcorn fingers and glasses don’t really make a great combination, so I gave her mine while I  spent about half an hour polishing hers back to clarity.

Great film though, well worth seeing in 3D, and I reckon it’s the best Shrek film since the first one.  Loads of little in-jokes that tie into the others, and a worthy finale to this movie franchise.

Spent the rest of the weekend at the zoo and the beach.  Not been to a beach since last summer and it was a fantastic day for it.  Kallie and her friend Abby decided to take it upon themselves to try and rid the beach of every single razorfish shell that they could find.  They weren’t happy until they had enough shells to make it a struggle to carry.  Thankfully, when she went home on Sunday, she insisted on taking the shells with her!

She also took home her brand new “daddy badge” as she called it.  It’s part of the new range of Revolution merchandise that is now available through the Revolution website.  I gave her the badge and she was thrilled, bless her.

So here’s a picture of Kal, sporting her new badge, along with a Rev coffee mug.

My daughter Kallie, sporting the latest range of Revolution merchandise.

Return top
 
© Copyright 2019 Jay McCreary. All rights reserved.