Submitted by Dan Dooré on Wednesday, May 23, 2018 - 11:54.
|Editorial||News, FFL, Under new management Darren Wileman|
|Cute Demo||Martijn Groen||M/C Anime Demo|
|Vcr||Matt Round||Video Clip Player|
|Pc Sam||Martijn Groen||Msdos-Sam Disc Utility|
|E-Tunes||Jon Binnie Doug Murdoch Bob Brunsden Peter Moore Roy Oldroyd||E-Tracker Music|
|Interlaced Piccy||David Simmonds||Interlaced Picture|
|Useless Ones||Robert Brady||Start Trek-Esque Story|
|The Show Reports||Colin Anderton||Gloucester Show Reports|
|Unerase||Martijn Groen||Unerase Utility|
|Ffl!||Fantasy Fred League|
CA Under New Management... Hi again. It's me, your roving, raring, ridiculous, ready to please and really sexy editor. Joining me today is none other than celebrity super-hero Spider-man. You know, I'd always imagined he'd be a bit more than 5 inches tall. And I never in my wildest dreams imagined he'd be made of plastic. It's all a bit strange not having Colin Macdonald as my boss anymore. I sent him an e-mail telling him that I hated him the other day, and that he couldn't do anything about it because he doesn't pay me now. Ho hooo. I still haven't spoken to new FRED boss, Darren Wileman. I've been working (in the broadest sense of the word) for him for 16 days now, and not a word. Yippee! Hopefully he won't pay too much attention to my mistakes and swearing and all that too. I had to pay Allan yesterday too. I tried avoiding him by staying in pubs for the whole week, but he caught me up. And boy, does it hurt handing over money. Ouch. CA Chin Up On the positive side of this month's events, I've designed a new Scalextric layout which fits perfectly in my room, and also ensures fairness by making each lane have the same number of inside corners. It's got a bridge, too! Now that's annoying. Someone's set the fire alarms off again. How inconvenient. It happens every day. I got woken up by them yesterday - admittedly it was 5pm, but that's still no excuse for being crap at cooking. Incidentally, I was only in bed that late because I'd been to see The Ozric Tentacles the night before. The place was open until 6 in the morning and as I wasn't high on drugs, unlike most people there, I had to drink bottles of "Pro Plus Adrenaline Drink" to stay awake. Unfortunately, this meant that when I got back, I only managed four hours sleep. And that's why I was asleep in the afternoon. What's worse is that I dribbled all over my pillow while I was asleep. CA FREE FRED VOUCHERS Yes, that's right, folks. You can get FREE FRED vouchers, simply by filling in this form (or a written by you version) ---------------------------------------------------------------- Free Voucher Form Ref: 16996632A4 YES, I would like a free FRED voucher of £5 or £10 value! I agree to tell no-one of this, and I enclose no money. I understand that no further obligation is required and I enclose a contribution for the main menu as thanks. I furthermore understand that if the contribution does not make it onto the main menu, then my form will mysteriously get lost in the post. Signed________________________________ Date ________________ ---------------------------------------------------------------- CA Easy Peasy One Two Three If anyone has a spare plug adaptor they don't want, then I'd be grateful if you could get in touch with me through Darren and post it to me. It's becoming increasingly annoying that I can't listen to music, do FRED and play scalextric at the same time. Where am I supposed to get inspiration from? Boy, it's tough being at the top... Erm, I scored 140 during a game of darts this morning... Nice weather. Tum tum. Rat a tat tat. Ooh, I know - topical joke. As Star Wars is hitting the big screen again (yippee), here's a classic gag. Q: How did Luke Sywalker know what he was getting from Darth Vader for Christmas? A: He felt his presents! (presence) CA I Know Of A Man Who's In Love With Me Hi, it's April now. You'll all be pleased to know that the take-over of FRED has been completed successfully, and Darren is now ready to start shipping out FRED. Which means I have to do some work and get this issue finished. Sigh. I was really looking forward to getting my head down into some university week too (ho ho). I've written a cracking show/nights out report. It's 30K long, and contains a massive 3608 words. The third part is the best bit. Is it considered vain if you read through something you've written yourself and laugh a lot? OK, well, as I've done so much, I'll leave Allan to attempt some humour and probably add billions of comments in my glossy new editorial bit. But I'm off now to work out the final FFL points and see if I can't fix it so that I win. Byyeyeeyyeeeee. AC Kreeeeeeeeeeegah! Hello, my Fred chums. What a long time it's been since Fred 77, eh? And you know what? It's ALL Colin's fault! He only sent his bits to me a week before the Gloucester show, the week that I also started Uni again, and the week in which I had to get Crashed out. And he missed lots of stuff off it, too - the interlaced thing didn't have all of it's files there! And wait 'til you read what he's said about the Gloucester show later... Anyway, enough slagging off Colin, what's been happening recently? Well... I'm in a band now (bass guitar) so I need you all to help think of a name (seriously). We don't want anything grungey or heavy... try your best, eh? Some French dudes have moved into my flat, too. They're very nice people, though I haven't a clue what they're saying most of AC French People the time. Never mind, eh? The Gloucester Show has also happened... Colin Macdonald put in an appearance, as did Ian Slavin, Chris White, Cookie, and most of the other regulars. It was a quiet day, customer-wise, but the April ones usually are quieter than the October ones. It was good fun, though, as they always are! Our new boss Darren Wileman broke convention by brining a female along, and Colin Piggot had an incredible 3-D game for sale, which looks incredible. No, really! I don't know what else to put here... I know! I'll finish now... CA News The first bit of news I've got may interest many of you. It's a bit old, but I found it on the WEB pages, and it explains what has happened to Blitz disc magazine, written by Steven "Pickasso" Pick. Steven says that since starting his course, BA Hons Animation, he's had to drop everything on the SAM front and concentrate on studies. I'll let Pickasso continue... "Malcolm Mackenzie, my boss, has hounded me a few times about what has happened with Blitz, and whether I will be going on with it. The answer is sadly, no. Producing Samdisk's 1-16 for so long was enjoyable, though doing Blitz was something else - it seemed that I wasn't 100% in contact with Malcolm, or my old mate, Dave Ledbury. It seemed that there was confusion over titles, as well as lack of payment over several things including (at the time of writing) Blitz 2. I have half the code of Blitz 3 on disk, though they can whistle dixie if they're going to get it." AC News Allan's interruption: As an interesting aside, Mat Beal, editor of Persona's paper based Z2 magazine, is interviewed by Mark Sturdy in the latest issue of Crashed (£1.50, plug plug!). Here's a relevant extract: Did you enjoy doing Z2? "No." Why not? "I don't want to say anything nasty about David [Ledbury, Persona's 2nd in command. -AC]... It was just one disaster after another." So there y'go. Draw your own conclusions! Back to Colin... CA News You'll be pleased to know we're testing Darren's management skills to the full by making this issue really close to the show, meaning he has to stay up all night to be in with the smallest chance of getting it out on time. Hee hee. ** [I've left this in to embarrass Colin! -AC] ** The show is in April and is on Saturday the 19th of April. It will give you the chance to check out the new driving force behind FRED and hopefully Kaboom! will be on sale. Allan will be there, so you can tell him how he's much better than me (I know he isn't, but it'll make him feel better). I'm hoping to be there - it all depends on when I get back to Nottingham. I'm going to try to make it, but I may be going back on the same day. Regardless of me, please try and make it. The success of this show will DIRECTLY determine whether there is another Leeds show this year. CA News As you should all know by now, the show will be held at the Wetherby village hall which is situated right next to Tesco's in Wetherby. Wetherby is an easy drive not far away from Gloucester. If you can read a map, then you can make it to the show. If you want to get a bus to Wetherby, there are regular ones from Gloucester bus station. If you're having trouble getting a bus to Gloucester, catch one to Cheltenham because it is only a quick city-hopper journey to Gloucester. Look out for Simon Cooke who is planning on swimming from Lee Willis' house in The Wirral along the mersey, down to Wales, then climbing a mountain, handgliding to Cheltenham where he will go up in a plane to 6000ft and parachute safely towards Wetherby, then through the side doors of Wetherby Hall at precisely 11:30am. [The more astute readers may have noted that the show is in Quedgeley, NOT Wetherby, which is approx. 200 miles away. Colin was probably drunk when he wrote the above nonsense! -AC] CA Fantastically Fantastic Finale To Fantasy FRED League OK, here we go. This is it. With the show looming on the horizon, this is the final Fantasy FRED League table. Can I say a big thanks to everyone who entered. Thankfully, we got a good number of people joining in - how embarrassing would it have been to have a competition every month between Colin MacD and I over who scored most? Anyway, you don't care about all that - you're itching to know the final league positions. Here's a small scale I've done so you can see how good a SAM boff you are: POINTS RATING 90-110 Wow. You know everything. [I know I do! -AC] 80-90 You're dead clever. Have a pat on the back. 60-80 Feel pleased - you're better than average. 50-60 Hmm. A bit disappointing. Go back to school. 41-50 Rubbish. Write 1000 lines saying "I'm crap" 40-00 Go outside and shoot yourself. This means you Dean! CA The Final Table First up, those glory boys in the top half... Team Name Manager Score 01 Scotland Colin Macdonald 103 02 The Crashed Crusaders Allan Clarkson 096 03 "Headless" Stefan Drissen 089 04 I'll Cheat If I Start Losing... Colin Anderton 087 05 Crikey...My Wig Is On Fire! Andrew Chandler 086 06 Frank Broughton Appreciation Soc. Mark Sturdy 077 07 Children Of Satan (ahem) Stephen McGreal 074 08 Team Mango Chutney Matt Vowles 065 == Real Nice World Andrew Collier 065 10 Sentai Power Sammers NL Robert Van Der Veeke 061 == What's In A Name? A. Francis 061 CA The Bottom Half And finally, the guessers at the bottom... Team Name Manager Score 12 Scorpion Soft Productions Team (?) Paul Dudley 057 == Blue Foot United Stewart Skardon 057 14 Happy Slug Productions Tim Paveley 056 15 NewZealandStory Howard Price 051 16 Death By Electricity Doug Young 045 17 I Still Use My Sam, Honest.. Dave Handley 044 18 Some Dead Good People Graham Goring 043 19 James Curry's Team Of SAM Wierdos James Curry 043 20 Har Har Har Sylvia 042 21 The Kick Butt Crew. Mark Bennett 041 22 Crap Games Co. Dean Nicholas 040 CA Fantasy FRED League Colin Macdonald amazes everyone again. He goes and wins the Fantasy FRED League. As it'd be pretty silly to give Colin six months free subscription to FRED, it'll have to go to the runner up, Alla- hang on, that's stupid too. So congratulations, Colin and Allan, but as with most competitions, employees can't win the prizes, so Stefan - congratulations, you win by default! A much more exciting battle ensued at the bottom of the table. I was frankly amazed. Howard Price and Mark Bennett had squabbled over who got to sit at the bottom for the last six months. The only question was who would be there on the last issue. Amazingly, Price pulled his secret weapon out on the last lap, amassing a huge 13 points (over a third of what it'd taken him 10 months to make), and shooting him into the dizzy heights of 15th place. So, Bennett's Kick Butt crew were dead and buried. But no! Six last gasp points from Mark sent him crawling away from doom, making Dean Nicholas the loser by ONE POINT!!! Bet you wish you'd written just one more PD review, eh Dean? Well done, Dean "Butt Kicked" Nicholas - you win a spoon. CA FFL 97/98 Right, I've already had requests to re-run Fantasy FRED League again. I was a little dubious of this, expecting the dazzle to be gone. However, I am perfectly happy to have another year of madness. The teams that are currently there will be scrapped so that everything in started off from new. The prices of people will probably be modified, the points system is going to remain pretty much the same (possibly with a couple of additions) and the same program is going to be used. Start planning your team now, and if you have any ideas, please write to me via Darren and I'll certainly consider using them. Remember, if FFL was just a section which was irrelevant to you and got in the way, you've got a chance now to make it something more to read. It'll only go ahead if we have enough teams, so if you want the editorials to be longer, you know what to do. It's the taking part that counts (no steroids though). CA Disc Contents This issue is quite a looking and utilising issue. No games to be seen in fact - but don't let that upset you because to begin we've got a fantastic demo called "Cute Demo" from Martijn Groen! Hurrah! Some more classic converted Speccy music, two simultaneous and three different scrollies and some awesome graphics from Robert Van Der Veeke. More top class stuff from our foreign desk. It's been a long time since Matt Round sent anything in. So, what a shock when I saw this! It's a clever little video playback demo. The one included is massive and is of the Star ship enterprise, but you can make your own relatively simply. * The .VCR files simply consist of a series of 128x96 (quarter- screen) PUT blocks, each 6147 bytes long. Each file can have a maximum of 60 frames, and must be exactly 6147*no.-of-frames bytes long. * The full-screen display routine isn't exactly lightning fast, CA Disc Contents as it doesn't disable interrupts and isn't optimised. Using MasterBASIC will improve speed by around 10%, or change the SIZE Next up we have an incredibly useful utility. It's used for copying MS-DOS discs or files onto a SAM disc, and is presented in a handy and simple desktop environment. The only snag is that you can't call up SAM directories, but it is never the less very helpful. Can I hear people calling for an updated version already? I am... Firstly, the keys: F1/F2 = directory of drive 1/2 <> F3 = change target drive F7 = copies a complete MS-DOS disc F8 = copies a complete SAM disc F9 = return to Basic m = select mouse c = select cursor keys, return and control CA Disc Contents To copy a file from a MS-DOS disc to a SAM disc insert a MS-DOS disc, DIR, right button to load, insert SAM disc, right button to save that file. When you get a Basic error message, press F4, insert a disc with enough free space on it, press right button to save that file. left button or return = view length of file right button or control = load/save file And this diamond of code is from Martijn Groen! Hurrah! Another utility also on this disc is unerase. If you accidentally erase a file which you wanted (as I'm sure we've all done at some point), this little utility will get it back for you. All you need to do is select it and specify which file type it was. Go on, test it out on your new FRED disc (I accept no responsibility for loss). Remember though, this only works on ERASEd files and not formatted discs. Keys: CA Disc Contents F1/F2 = directory of drive 1/2 F9 = Basic m = select mouse c = select cursor keys, return and control left button or return = unerase a file right button or control = select file type And, yes, it's from Matrijn Groen! Hurrah! Something I haven't seen for a while comes next - it's one of those clever interlaced screens. More colours than possible and more detail than ever dreamed off, all because human responses are slow (or something). It's a picture of a car, and looks a little like my FRED company car. Cheers to David Simmonds. Also, we should have The Useless Ones, as long as I gave Allan the disc and didn't lose it. Also, we have a great show report. And e-tunes. And modules. And FFL! And screens. And letters. And the editorial, and adverts, and music reviews - for £2! Wow. CA Thank The Lord For Creating These People... BABY SPICE : DARREN "Because he's all shiny and new" WILEMAN SPORTY SPICE: COLIN "Because nobody likes him" ANDERTON GINGER SPICE: ALLAN "Because he's not scarey or posh" CLARKSON OLD SPICE : COLIN "Because he uses it and he's gone" MACDONALD And all those exercising Our new address is: Girl Power are: Fred Publishing Martijn Groen [redacted] David Simmonds Matt Round Howard Price and .............. (insert your name here!) AC An Apology I would like to apologise for not writing much this issue, but Colin has left me so much to do that I've not much time...! That and I'm a lazy bastard.
Letters & Reviews
Letter From Howard Price Spurious greetings from the doomed planet of Ephemera. Let me take you on a trip through a week in the life of the curious Fred disk that will, one day, belong to me: Orphaned from it's parents in the great plastic moulds, the newly-created disk wings it's way to the bulk manufacturer's vaults, then on, onward, and upward to the great duplicator's pressing and copying factory (CheapunNasty's, Dundee). There it will have it's identity stamped on it forever, as A Fred Disk. Destined to find it's way into one of my disk boxes and then to spend an eternity waiting for me to load it up, briefly, to see if it's the issue with X on it. But before then, there is a twist in the story. Because I'm a student, and have never taken my Sam with me before, little did I know that it would have to go to St.Albans, which used to be my home, and is now just where my parents live. (The one with the water bug, like Delhi belly. Cool) THEN they send it on. But have they? Letter From Howard Price You see, over the last few months, my parents, who've not been known to lie through their teeth that often, have said they always send on the Fred disks. And yet, in '97 I have seen precious little evidence of aforementioned disks..... Also, because I threw away all the envelopes with the expiry issue, I even thought my sub had run out! You're going to have to get your arse into gear and set individual last dates for inclusion for each issue, I'm afraid. You're going to have to warn people or mail them that the next issue's going to be late, or something. The price of a stamp won't go up if you send two disks in one go, so there's no loss in writing and saying this issue is late. (flight of fancy coming up) If that sounds too pricey still, I suppose we could set up a vast phone tree, where I get a phone call from someone and pass Letter From Howard Price on the message to two people. If everyone did this it wouldn't take SO long to get the message round. But it would mean the line could get broken easily. And it's a lot of hassle. Maybe it's not such a good idea. Anyone else got some thoughts? The gaping holes that appear really get me worried, like Fred's just stopped trading or something. * * * WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF HOWARD MOANING, ALLAN! * * * Underground, overground... -Tob PS I'm doing a lot of work with sprites at the moment, and found that Marc Broster's Stack Pointer Sprite Builder is not only fast, but also unbelievably dodgy. Sprites get skewed left and right, but the main problem is saving off the built routines. Erm, anyway, if you *do* want to use it, modify the prog, thus: Letter From Howard Price 100 GET ke: INPUT "Sprite?";file$:LOAD file$ DATA s$ 240 LET routlen=DPEEK (a+&2000)-&A000:PRINT "Length of routine = ";routlen;" bytes" 270 GET a:CLS:INPUT "Save name";file$:SAVE file$ CODE 122887, routlen:CALL 0:REM If you're doing many frames, reload each time It's off Fred 59, by the way, so it can't really be that popular, if no-one wants to use it til now! My main problem is that there's not enough spaces on the disk for all my built sprites... That's because it's a race game, with 13 animations for each bit of scenary... Probably won't see the light of day, but the graphics are okay... I'll send 'em in, see what anyone can do with them (Andrew Collier?? (!)) CA Reply To Howard Price OK, fair enough. I can appreciate your problem. Getting a disk out within a month of the previous one is my main objective. There's always been two things that stop this happening. The first is that I'm constantly being taken out by girls. Well, busy anyway. Work, work, life, work and excuses take up a lot of my time. That's why I begged for more text articles. That's why I said I wasn't going to write as much. And in the end, that's why I brought Allan in. Between us, we can easily produce all the material required in one month. Problem one solved. The second problem is that contributions are low. Frighteningly low at times. There's no way an issue can go out if we haven't got enough stuff to put on it. We just have to hold out and hope something will drop through the letterbox. The whole reason issues have been late recently is purely for this reason. At the moment there's a small circle of people who contribute, CA Reply To Howard Price but, as is becoming increasingly evident, they're all falling into problem one. That's why I need other people to start programming. It's not too late, no matter what you think. It doesn't have to be good - there's nothing better than receiving contributions from the same person once every couple of months and watching the standard rise with each one. My other aim is to make sure FRED reaches issue 100. Ideally, I'd like this to happen sometime before the millenium, so please keep (or start) contributing. THEN we can get issues out on time. Simple as that. Don't panic though - FRED WILL NEVER SUDDENLY STOP. I personally guarantee it. For one thing, it's illegal, and for another, I don't want to see such a well worked and professionally written disczine have such a humiliating death. That'd be such a waste. Just hang on, and each issue will continue to come. We just need your help. Letter From Peter Holmes Dear Allan and Colin, I'd just like to congratulate Mr McGreal on a fabulous game. It's been a while since we've had these sort of Gamesmaster games on, and a welcome return too. More, please! Secondly, I've placed an order for Kaboom! What's the latest on that? I saw it at the Leeds show and it looks fantastic. There you go, short but sweet! Yours sincerely, Peter Holmes CA Reply To Peter Holmes Kaboom! is lingering on, I know. Have patience, it's all but finished. Wayne assures me it'll be ready in the next few days. We're threatening to dock his pay if it's not out soon! AC Latest at Gloucester - the game's finished but the manuals aren't... Hang on in there, you'll have it soon! Glad you liked Colin's Time Trousers. How's about another one, Steven? (You can put me in it this time! With my new haircut! Ooh! Aah! Simper!) HP - The Music section again (wow! two in a row???) - Aah, the sights and smells of a fully working student house. That sock's still not dry! Ha!ha!ha!ha! Oh, I love this existence, wandering around at midday in just your pants, accidentally showing your goolies to your female housemates... What self-respecting student *wouldn't* like this? Of course, there is the down side that there's lectures this afternoon, but hey! life can't all be a perfect lazy haven. Or can it??? Write in with your experience of perfect laziness, usual address (though I won't be able to comment, of course).. It's my sneaking suspicion that retired people have it even easier than me, and they have the knowledge that no-one will suddenly say "stop idling and DO something, man!!". But that's just heresay. Until then, it's the easy life. And me and my Sam sitting in the corner, of course, with Blur, No Doubt and Space on the stereo, to the left of me. Well, let's get to it then, what are you? An ME sufferer or what??! (no offence, like!)... HP Music Space - Spiders Quite old, this one, you know. But with the release of Dark Clouds about to get them momentarily in the music programs (OZone, etc) maybe you won't notice how long ago it was released. Space are a strange entity. Definitely defying categorisation, but about to be snapped up in the No Doubt craze in USA. More on that later. If you haven't ever heard a Space track before, you're in for a) a bit of a kicking (ha! just my little joke, all you tone-deaf people out there) and b) sort of less ridiculous Ska and Mexican/40's style singing. Sounds an awful combination, but it's been done before a lot (anyone remember the Fun Boy Three from the 80's?). And it's absolutely wonderful. If you don't believe me, check out the singles (Neighbourhood, Female of the Species, Me and You vs the World, and now, Dark Clouds), which were all at odds with the music scene when they HP Music were first released (everyone was completely into Oasis then - Knebworth and all that). Not only are they interesting to listen to (no quick-and-easy 4-chords-a-bar stuff, and *always* with good tunes) but they also like to experiment with sounds, so you don't just get the same guitar all through, for instance: The keyboard man in it is really into drum n bass, etc etc, so not only does he get a track all to himself ("Growler"), but he also adds in samples from films and weird effects over the top of the songs. Remember the xylophone in Female of the Species, in the introduction? Now listen to the rest of the album, (standout tracks Mister Psycho, Money, No-one Understands and Drop Dead) and you also get a sense of comedy - utterly missing in loads of music - all the way through from "Encore Une Fois" to Alisha's Attic to Elastica. HP Music Have I missed anything? Well, there is the odd dodgy track, like "Charlie M", which I don't even recall, it was that bland. But then you DO get 14 tracks (at last bands are giving us decent value for money), and lots of Spiders on the front. One last piece of advice - get hold of Spiders the B-side to Me and You... It's ace:"She's afraid of the Spiders and afraid of the dark, she's afraid of the boogeyman in the park. But if anybody comes near me, I know she'll cut their balls off." HP Music No Doubt - Tragic Kingdom The American Space: infinitely better-looking, a hundred times more successful, and half as good. Lucky I copied it off my mate Ian, eh? Actually, that opening paragraph isn't really fair on them, as they haven't copied anything off Space, they were probably there first. But they did used to be a lot more Ska (like Madness, as opposed to 2-Tone bands (The Specials, The Selector etc etc)), and they have retained that brassy type of sound. You know less No doubt than you think. To be honest, the "Don't speak" hit on this has been played to death, and since I'm scared of silence, I've heard it too much on the radio. However, they have released "Just a Girl" before, and it plummeted out of public recognition almost immediately. I don't know why, as short bursts of No Doubt are fantastic: HP Music Just A Girl has a great riff that sounds like Green Day playing Oom-pah riffs with extra Hammond organ thrown in, and Different People is equally ripsnorting. They put the title track last so people would remember it for it's tune progression (it goes down, and down, and DOWN! Very tragic), which is great. However, this time you get the feeling that the 14 tracks aren't really the same standard as Space's, and they would have done better to cut the dross out, later on. Most people will forget the brilliant vocal warbling thing she does on "Excuse me Mister" by the time they have to drag themselves through "You can Do it". Which is a pity, because when they can be bothered to write whole songs, it's a glorious sound. Oh God, I'm turning into a sad reviewer. "Glorious Sound"???!! No Doubt the band are apparantly really modest about their success - they sold about 5 million of the currant album in USA and managed to be number one in the album charts (American) and HP Music singles charts (Britain), which is clever. It's not really that surprising that the album hasn't done so well here though, as Mansun have just released their excellant "Attack of the Grey Lantern" album, and this is just a bit mediocre to make a comeback after such being released such a long time ago (last year, I think). Oh well. Record it off your mate, that's what I say. And finally tonight... HP Music Blur - Blur Bands deliberately do this, don't they, so I look a fool writing their name twice. Is it "Blur" by Blur? or Blur's "Blur"? I go with the second one, but that's only cos the last two reviews have the title second. ... Okay, so I'm bored! Blur have got a lot of stick from the music press about changing their sound, and I suppose it's healthy for the press to question bands, but this seems unfair on them in this case. Just how much of the "Life" trilogy do you want? They've invented Britpop, so there are a million other bands who can carry it on (Sleeper especially, as they've actually got the right idea, when Radiohead and the Longpigs aren't really Britpop). Also, they've done three whole (long!) albums, and countless singles, they deserve a bit of a break. After all, it's all Blur, which Blur do best really. So it's a big surprise when this album turns out to be HP Music structurally identical to Parklife. It's almost a parody. They have, on a superficial level, the fast "hit" songs ("Beetlebum" is "To the End", Then you've got "MOR" and "Song2"), then there's almost a miracle correlation: You're so Great = Far Out (token not Damon song) Movin' on = Jubilee (speedy album filler) Chinese Bombs = Bank Holiday (1m30s punk song) Essex Dogs = Lot 105 (last song weirdo one) Look Inside America = Magic America (USA is great!) Theme from Retro = Debt Collector (odd waltz) Strange News from Another Star = This is a Low (atmos. heavy) Beetlebum = To The End (hit - sad one) Song 2 = Girls & Boys (bound tba hit) Country Sad Ballad Man = Tracy Jacks MOR = Parklife (bound tba hit) I'm just a killer for your love = Badhead (melancholic ballad) On your Own = Clover Over Dover Death of a Party = End of a Century HP Music With only a couple of ones left over (London Loves and Touble in the Message Centre from "Parklife", which are my favourite!). Luckily Parklife is an astounding record, and if you can get used to the surplus surface noise of "Blur", and the occasional distorted vocals, you should love this. Also, I might add that the best song is definately "You're So Great", a Graham Coxon one, which is nice, cos he's my favourite Blur bloke. Who's your's? Well, I hope you've enjoyed our time together today... Sometimes it just gets so hard to sit back and enjoy the... *finer* things in life! So, until the next time... Ta-ta! Heheh. Next time, if I can get hold of the stuff in time (this ain't cheap, you know) we'll probably be reviewing that Mansun album I mentioned before, and maybe some Beck, U2, 18 Wheeler or you never know, I might take the piss out of Veruca Salt! Don't hold your breath though, I'm not completely stupid. What have they been telling you? -Tob
CA Part One - Leeds Is Grate Friday afternoon. Time to pack the bags. Two shirts, trousers and shoes, spare T-shirt, underwear, socks, a toothbrush, shampoo, a book for on the train and.... there's something missing... oh crikey, computer stuff. It's another Leeds trip. Two nights out and a computer show, all in the course of one weekend. What a treat. The train journey was pretty dull. No good-looking females to talk to, just some fat business man who sat on the edge of my coat, meaning I couldn't move anything apart from my left hand. Interestingly, the train journey took 3 and a bit hours going to Leeds and only one and a half back. How strange. Anyway, I turned up at the Bed and Breakfast and, ooh, surprise, Colin MacD wasn't there yet. It was the same place as last time and the same woman talked rubbish at me for a bit. Tempted as I was to point out the resemblance between her and Sybil Fawlty, I decided to just ignore her and wait until she gave me the key. CA Part One I managed to catch the end of TFI Friday and then proceeded to get changed. Then, the most unimaginable thing possible ever happened. Colin turned up - only 10 minutes late! What a shock. A miracle, even. Anyway, we had a quick "who can put most deodrant on" competition, then made our way towards the city centre. Bearing in mind I'd only eaten a bowl of porridge that day, I suggested some food. Colin pointed out it was already half seven, so we went straight for the first pub. A large, but empty pub and a really posh and full of old women pub later, and we found ourselves in a really good place we went to last time called Berlins. If you're male and you ever go to Leeds, you have to visit Berlins. The, erm, view is fantastic. We went to another good pub that stays open until 2am every morning and serves cheap beer called The Conservatory. It was huge and cheap, but did appear to be the venue for school-kids' first attempt at under age drinking. [Has been for a long time! -AC] CA Part One The night rolled on, and the mix of alcohol and a bowl of porridge took its grip. We ventured into a club called Planet Earth which had a revolving dance-floor! Well, we were entertained for the night. On, off, on, off. What a novelty. It's around this time that the night becomes pretty hazy. At one point, I went to the bar to get a drink and said something to a girl stood there with her mate (can't for the life of me remember what I said - or her infact). Anyway, Colin 'whispered' "You've pulled there Colin" which they both heard and despite the other girl saying "No he hasn't", apparently a conversation arose. Feeling slightly merry, I kept wandering off, leaving Colin to the task of talking. At some point, I disappeared completely and the one who Colin wasn't chatting upkept asking for me (ego boost). After a bit, they told Colin they were off to the toilet and, well, never came back. Ho ho. Later on, Colin decided to leave and stumbled his way back to the B&B. He wasn't sure which room I was in, but soon realised when he heard a TV on full blast. Despite knocking loudly and CA Part One shouting, apparently I didn't awake. The next morning, I awoke, still with my trousers and one shoe on, and of course a really loud telly blaring cartoons out. With no recollection of getting home, I stumbled out to find Colin, and thankfully he hadn't seen what I'd done or how I'd left the club (or I could be telling some highly embarrassing stories). Colin couldn't eat his breakfast. I was still drunk. On to the show.... [Indeed, Ando was drunk at the show. -AC] CA Part Two - The Computer Show The drive to Wetherby was long. I'd forgotten how far out from Leeds Wetherby is. It's at least 15 minutes by car. A couple of wrong turns and frighteningly close over-taking maneouvres added a little spice to the journey, though. Erm, cheers Col. We pulled up alongside Wetherby Methodist Church Hall and took a deep breath. Colin concentrating on his hangover, me trying to sober up. Suddenly, Graham Goring came running out of the hall. One quick press of a button ensured Graham couldn't get in the car and we heard some murmered insults about how late we were and how short my hair was. Sigh. One. Two. Two and a half. Two and three quarters. Three. FRED Publishing are go! Within seconds (well, fifteen minutes) we made our way into the hall and through the volley of lateness insults and onto our stall. CA Part Two To our right was Crashed, looking magnificently white and exciting. To our left was some foreign fellow who had an assortment of wierd software, Crash magazines, interfaces, joysticks and everything under the sun for sale. Next to them was the refreshments stand where Allan gave food away to people who moaned enough. Next around, James Curry was selling an assortment of Speccy software. I can't remember who was along the back wall. Erm, speccy people, I think. Oh, hang on, it was Format mainly. Sorry Bob. Yeah, Format were there with their impressive coat hanger stands and thousands of issues of Format, and an issue or two of Format PC. Persona had the stand along the other wall and had their usual large range of software on view (and on a sexy blue cloth). Noticeable absences were Derek Morgan from SAM PD, who we all desperately wanted to question about the digitizer and Darren Wileman, new FRED owner, who I still haven't met. Sigh. However, the morning was well spent. Between sales, I was able CA Part Two to play Wayne Coles at his new game, Kaboom! Naturally, being the programmer, you'd expect Wayne to win. Did he? Did he heck. I completely thrashed him. Devastatingly sharp and with lightening reactions, I easily outwitted Wayne at (literally) his own game. Ha ha. And what an absolutely storming game it truly is. Easily the most addictive game on the SAM by a mile and a half. If you haven't got it yet, you're a fool. The game was being compiled at the show, and should now be in everyones hands. It's got a great little menu as well, with a wibbly wobbly thing crawling over it. Freaky. Naturally, we took quite a few orders for it. Crashed had a new issue out. Naturally, it's up to its normal high standards, and you can't tell the difference between the layout of this issue and the last issue, evern though the new one is done on an Archimedes. Stewart Skardon has done a good job, there. In particular, there's a great quote in it about the last Northern show. It goes, "Hint: if you're ever out drinking with Colin and Colin, don't try to keep up with them. CA Part Two It's not humanly possible for a start." Amazing. [Don't mention it. -AC] The bring and buy stall was operating reasonably successfully. Except when I put Colin Macdonald's coat on it for sale for 50p. Some interesting stuff did sit on there, though. Stuff with millions of wires. And a Z88, too. The guy next to us instantly sold all his copies of Crash, and baffled even the most intelligent people with words I didn't even know existed. He tried to sell me some hard-core pornography at one point. Wierd fella. Just for the record, I declined. Some tasty baps at the refreshments counter. And some crisps, chocolate bars, sandwiches and hot chocolate. Yummy. James Curry, on his Speccy stand, kept trying to flog me Spectrum games, even though I didn't have a Speccy, or a lead to load them into my SAM, or any desire whatsoever to buy a CA Part Two Spectrum game. "But this one's a limited edition..." James said. Sigh. Bob was next up. He's not in the best of moods with me for printing that Elite review, even though I never wrote it. Well, being a professional, I'm sure he understands my need to be unbiased. In my opinion, Elite is one of the best games written, but if Stewart says it's just a re-botched Speccy version with a few disc commands in it and stuff, then that's fair enough. Can't argue, eh Bob? I'm not looking forwad to the Gloucester show though. Some of the things he threatened to do to me are still making me wet the bed. I generally kind of avoided the Persona stand because they were avoiding us and I could do without a lecture on Manic Miner belonging to them. Incidentally, we sold a copy of Manic Miner. Tee hee. They did have an impressive range of software though. All Revelation's old stuff (nearly) and a couple of their own, including the new Ice Chicken and the great Booty. CA Part Two Then I was back round to Crashed (great quote, lads), then back to FRED, stocking a gorgeous range of software and all manner of other bits and pieces. The T-shirts were sold though. Lew Farmer and his mate (sorry, forgotten your name!) snapped them up. There was quite an amusing moment when some guy came up to me and asked me where Colin Anderton was. I said, "Who?", and he said, "That long-haired lad who writes all that rubbish in FRED." I started laughing loudly, so Colin MacD pointed out it was me. Ho ho ho. That's three times I've been told I'm crap. And only about 400 times I've been told the reverse. Bloody misery. Colin showed off his Tetris skills to everyone, amassing 176 lines. Graham Goring then showed off his Tetris "skills", amassing 28 lines. The attendance was sadly continuing it's trend of decreasing, CA Part Two with about 150 people coming through the door in the day. The absence of Stewart Skardon meant FRED took less than the 40 thousand pounds he normally spends. Never mind. [Erm... actually, we had about 20 percent more people in than last time, and all the stallholders said that it was busier. Colin was drunk, though, so he was probably at an antiques fair, or something. -AC] Having just read Colin MacD's last newsletter, I'd just like to point out that his little claim about spending the whole day behind the FRED stand is completely untrue. I spent the whole day behind it. Colin watched. I'd like to say FRED will be back, but I haven't spoken to Darren Wileman yet (still). Allan is considering a new show, and no matter what, I'm going back to Leeds at some time in the next year. So, if a show goes ahead, I'll be there. CA Part Two Anyway, the show ended at 4pm, and we headed to the pub in Wetherby for a pint and a game of pool. And then the night began... CA Part Three - Beer To begin the night, we went to a local pub for a traditional SAM owners and friends pint. You could see the look of excitement in Mark Sturdy's eyes as he sensed another chance to grill Colin Macdonald about the ever-so deep and double-bluffing world of the SAM. Colin cunningly changed 20 pounds worth of 10p's and challenged everyone in the pub to a game of pool with their pint (apart from Allan, who was drinking Coke because he's not old enough to drink alcohol yet). [Ahem! -AC] Colin Macdonald is possibly the jammiest player at pool I have ever seen in my whole life. Ever. Our game, for example, came down to the black, and Colin, who had already notched up a good nine or ten flukes aimed at the bottom corner pocket; completely missed it, but 4 cushions later it trickled into the middle pocket. Jammy spod. The foreign guy impressed us all by being wierd. His most impressive act of strangeness was when he shoved a pound coin up his nose and snorted a bit, then pulled it out his mouth (don't CA Part Three try this at home kids - it really hurts). Colin was driving, so we only stayed for one. We then headed off back to the B&B, making a few detours to foreign girls' houses. A quick shower, and we were ready to take the city by the scruff of its neck once again. First stop - curry. I've never been impressed with the curries you get in Leeds, and although it was all fancy, this one was no exception. Anyone know where to go for a good curry in Leeds? Still, it tasted alright, and it filled me up, and we had a pint of Kingfisher (which Colin swears by - probably because it's strong). By the time we got out of there, it was close to 9pm, the time we'd arranged to meet Allan at Berlin's (remember that name, lads). Once again, they had their novelty wheel spins to see what the offer is. I cleverly bought two pints of Caffrey's for £1.90 each, then, before I'd even taken a sip, the wheel span CA Part Three and all draught beers became £1.20 for the next fifteen minutes. Sigh. I know I've been guilty of this, but as far as I'm concerned, falling asleep in a pub after you've had a few too many is perfectly respectable now and again. However, falling asleep at 8pm at home when you've arranged to meet Colin and Colin at 9pm in town is not. Utterly disgraceful, Allan Clarkson. You'd only had one coke, you bloody girl. [I was tired! I didn't mean to! And of course I'd only had one coke, I don't drink. -AC] Anyway, Colin and I kept chuggin away at the Caffrey's. With every pint, we vowed to make it our last pint before we moved on, but every time, just as we were finishing it off, some amazing offer would be spun, and we had to get "just one more". Time passed and we decided it was clubbing time. Majestics was high on our priorities list, being a very new and extremely huge venue. We made our way towards it, and then saw something which appeared to shock Colin somewhat. The queue from Majestic's CA Part Three trickled out along the side of the wall out of our sight. Then to our right, nearly up to the Majestic's door was the end of some queue. Colin put 2 and 2 together and thought the queue went all the way round the block! Could this be it? No SAM weekend has ever gone completely right, and up until now, it had gone very smoothly indeed. Were we to be stuck without a club to go to and have to resort to watching telly semi-drunk in our B&B? Thankfully, on further inspection, it became clear that there were in fact two clubs and the queue for our was only about 15 minutes long. Fifteen minutes was fine by me, but another twisted, astonished look of horror came on Colin's face. Colin needed the toilet. Really badly. Ho ho ho. I've never seen a man squirm so badly. But the queue moved CA Part Three quickly, and we soon started to get towards the front. It was then when Colin and I noticed a poster. It was over 20's night. OVER TWENTIES?!? I was only 19. This was it. This was where the weekend went wrong. I'd be refused admission, Colin would get in a strop, then proceed to wet himself. We would walk away, make our way silently back to the B&B and then ignore each other for the rest of our lives. Then it kicked in. The adrenaline, or something. I don't quite understand it myself. It's that hormone that kicks in when you're 16 or 17 and you need to look a couple of years older to get served at the bar. You stand slightly taller. A new look of seriousness and maturity spreads across your face. And then you stride, quickly and confidently, to your destination. You pay your entry fee, leave your coat at the cloakroom, then ascend the stairs into the club. You've made it! What a feeling. Boy, have I missed that feeling. You 17 year olds don't know what you're going to miss when you turn 18. What a thrill. CA Part Three Majestics is one of the biggest clubs I've ever been in. Set on three floors, with a large dance floor in the centre and a wonderful circular dome window above, it's amazing. Add to that some dancers suspended over the dance floor and the most impressive laser display I've ever seen at a club, and you've got Majestics. Stunning. Stunning prices too. £2.70 for a bottle of Fosters Ice. Ouch. Nothing much happened for most of the night. Drinking and dancing, dancing and drinking. I made a tit out of myself when I bought a round and offered one of the bottles to a Colin Macdonald look-a-like who was stood where I told Colin to wait. What he must have thought, I don't know. If some random bloke offered me a drink, I'd leg it. The night drew on, and we managed to lose each other. I had a bit of a dance and watched the lasers. Some-one kindly informed me her friend was a lesbian (?), one guy got hauled off the CA Part Three dance floor by a million bouncers and Colin was no-where to be seen. It was getting close to 2 o'clock and I couldn't focus properly any more, so I decided to try and find him. During my rounds, I had one last try to get into the VIP section and was politely told to turn around. Colin had completely vanished and the bouncers started telling everyone to make their way downstairs, so I assumed Colin had fallen asleep in the toilets, or stumbled home, or (as a long shot) pulled. So, I stumbled home via the kebab shop. After about forty minutes of getting lost and wishing I'd caught a cab, I found the B&B. Suspecting Colin to be in his room, I went up and knocked. And shouted. No response. So, I pulled his door number off in the hope that he'd still not got home and wouldn't be able to find his room! I decided to wait up for a bit and watch telly. For some reason, I decided to prop the door open with my coat. I turned the telly on and fell asleep. CA Part Three Colin Macdonald, on the other hand, remembers nothing from 1am to 2am. A complete black-out. If only I'd known this, I could've made up some great stories. Anyway, for all Colin knows, he could've danced for an hour or, more likely, spent an hour sleeping comfortably in the puddles of urine in the men's toilets. Colin stayed in the club until 3am. That was my mistake - being a young inexperienced lad who only ever goes to student nights, I thought all clubs closed at 2am and when the bouncers told us to make our way downstairs, I saw that as my cue to go. Loads of other people were leaving too, so it didn't seem at all strange. What actually happened was that they closed off the upstairs bit and the bars and let people dance away downstairs until 3 o'clock. Doh. At about half past three, Colin remembers realising he'd been walking in completely the wrong direction, and another hour later turned up at the B&B.... to find my door wide open. CA Part Three Highly suspicious, you can imagine. Colin carefully peeked round my door to find me fast asleep, half on my bed and in all my clothes. Colin's attempts to wake me (which included shouting at me and shaking me) failed miserably. I was in a comatose state - he'd have had more luck waking the dead (although he probably did wake all the other residents). And then Colin went to bed, kindly shutting the door for me. Unsurprisingly, my hilarious "remove the door number" gag didn't work. In fact, it went completely unnoticed. Have you heard that Police song that starts off "Woke up in my clothes again this morning, Don't know exactly where I am."? That applied to me. I stumbled down to breakfast to recall bits of memory and how-we-got-homes with Colin, then climbed back up to bed, only to be woken half an hour later by Sybil Fawlty emptying the empty bin and informing me I couldn't go back to sleep. She left, and I went back to sleep. CA Part Three I awoke again ten minutes later to what I am absolutely positive was the sound of "someone" vacuum-cleaning the ceiling beneath my room. Bloody strange woman. Then Colin came in, all ready to go, so I decided it was about time for me to get ready. [Colin and Colin came round to my house for a few hours at this point, but it was obviously so thrilling and exciting that he forgot to mention it... -AC] So, I got dropped off at the train station, Colin drove off into the distance and the train took me home. And then we all lived happily ever after.