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Archive for October, 2007

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Jokes on Lolly Sticks

Posted by Big Boo on October 19th, 2007

Jokes on Lolly SticksOne of the nice things about having an ice lolly made by Walls or Lyons Maid, rather than a Tesco or Bejam (remember when Iceland was called Bejam? Well, it was in my home town anyway…) own brand lolly was that you got a joke on the stick after scoffing down the icy goodness. It almost made the ice cream headache (or brain freeze) you got from eating it too fast worthwhile, just so you could be first to read out the joke to your mates.

Of course, the jokes were generally not usually that funny, but that didn’t matter. In fact the ones that made you groan were often more popular than the ones that were funny, just because they were so bad. Here are some examples of the kind of joke you might get.

Q. What do astronauts have in their sandwiches?
A. Launch meat.

Q. Why did the dog cross the road?
A. Because it was stapled to the chicken.

Q. What is the difference between a duck?
A. One of it’s legs is both the same.

OK, maybe not that last one, but it was in one of the joke books that I had. To this day I still don’t understand that joke, yet still find it very amusing for some reason. But that’s just me…

Do kids ice creams still have jokes on them? I really don’t know! Perhaps I should buy one and find out, purely in the pursuit of research of course, you understand.

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Battleships

Posted by Big Boo on October 18th, 2007

Electronic BattleshipsThe rules of Battleships are simple. The game is played on two square grids, one grid to keep track of your ships and if they’ve been hit, the other for you to try and work out the positions of your opponents ships. Each player takes it in turns to call out a grid square that they are going to fire a missile at. The other player then states whether that square is a hit or a miss. Each ship is a different number of squares in length, and in order for the ship to be destroyed a hit must be made against every square it occupies. The winner is the player who destroys all their opponents ships first.

I quite enjoyed playing Battleships as a child. It’s such a simple game that it can be easily played using just pen and paper, although the board game version I had with two plastic fold away grids and little plastic aircraft carriers and submarines was much more fun to play. Even more fun to play was the top of the range deluxe version – Electronic Battleships, as pictured above. Any child who owned this was immediately the envy of all others as it was way cooler than the standard version.

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Penny Sweets – Candy Bracelets and Watches

Posted by Big Boo on October 17th, 2007

Candy WatchEdible jewellery, eh? What an idea. One of the more expensive (if a few pence can be called expensive) penny sweets was the Candy Watch or Candy Bracelet. It consisted of a piece of elastic with candy beads threaded on to it, which could be worn around your wrist as a piece of jewellery, but could also be nibbled on whenever you felt peckish by picking off a bead or two.

The beads were made from a hard, but fairly brittle candy, with a bit of a chalky taste to them. Sometimes the candy had a bit of a fizzy taste too. They came in many different colours, but whether the different colours were supposed to taste different I’m not sure. I don’t remember one bead tasting any different to another, so I guess it was purely a cosmetic thing, although I must admit that personally I wasn’t really much of a fan of the taste anyway, so perhaps I have a clouded judgement.

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Rainbow

Posted by Big Boo on October 15th, 2007

RainbowHigh above the streets and houses,
Rainbow climbing high,
Everyone can see it smiling,
Over the sky.
Paint the whole world with a rainbow.

I have to confess that, as a tot, those words used to fill me with disappointment. ITV used to show two kids programmes at midday, a 10 minute one, followed by a 20 minute one. Rainbow was one of the 20 minute shows and was usually on around twice a week. At the time I didn’t realise that TV programmes were scheduled each week, I thought it was kind of random, so I would sit there hoping that it would be Pipkins that came on next, and was always disappointed when it was Rainbow.

Looking back on Rainbow now with an adults eye view, I must say I have a new found admiration for the show. It is amazing just how risque it could be at times. Geoffrey Hayes was the host of the show, who was sort of a foster father to Zippy, George and Bungle. At least, thats how it appeared. Geoffrey would look after his “kids” by reading them stories, helping them make things and generally teaching them about the big wide world. This was interspersed with a tune from songsters Rod, Jane and Freddy, and an animation of a picture being drawn (called Lines and Shapes, one of Cosgrove Halls first productions I believe).

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Stocking Fillers - Suppliers to Father Christmas
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Commodore Amiga

Posted by Big Boo on October 12th, 2007

Commodore Amiga A500The Commodore Amiga was the computer of choice during the days of the 16-bit home computer. Well, I think so, anyway! Its big rival was the Atari ST, but the Amiga just had the edge when it came to graphics and sound. The Amiga appeared in it’s first incarnation in 1985, as the Amiga A1000. This version of the computer looked like a desktop PC, with a separate keyboard and base unit, upon which it’s monitor could be placed. However, most people will probably be more familiar with the version pictured, the Amiga A500.

The A500 was an all in one solution, with the keyboard, motherboard and floppy drive all enclosed in a big chunk of beige plastic. The mains adaptor was a massive beige block, and if you couldn’t afford a proper monitor, you had to plug another sizeable piece of plastic into one of the ports on the back of the machine in order to connect it to a standard TV set via an RF aerial. The Amiga came with a mouse, and was the first home computer to feature true multitasking, the ability to have more than one program running at a time. Workbench was the name of the window based front end used by the Amiga, in those days called a WIMP (Windows, Icons, Menus, Pointing devices – there’s an acronym that doesn’t get used anymore! Not surprising with a name like WIMP!).

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Now That’s What I Call Music Compilations

Posted by Big Boo on October 11th, 2007

Now That’s What I Call MusicThe first Now That’s What I Call Music compilation album was released in 1983, and it’s appearance completely changed the way compilation albums were viewed. It wasn’t the first compilation album by any means. I remember my Dad having several Top of the Pops albums (I don’t think this had anything to do with the BBC TV show) which he had bought when he was growing up. However, the NOW albums, as they are generally called today, changed the way such compilations were viewed from being a selection of tunes you may have heard of to a collection of current hits that you were most likely familiar with.

One of the biggest problems facing compilation albums was the number of songs you could fit on an album. Remember this was before compact discs and downloadable MP3s music had taken over from vinyl records and cassette tapes, so all the NOW albums were sold on two records or tapes. Double albums had existed before, but they were few and far between and rarely were compilations of songs by many different bands and singers – or “various” as most compilations now get classified! The biggest step NOW made was to release on two albums, giving the average teenager access to 30 or so top songs for little more than the price of a regular album.

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Toffo

Posted by Big Boo on October 10th, 2007

Mackintosh ToffoToffo are, unsurprisingly, toffees. I used to really enjoy them as a kid, and was surprised to learn that you can actually still buy them today. Can’t say I’ve seen them in any shops, but I guess since I thought they had been phased out I wasn’t looking for them so didn’t ever find them! I must seek out a packet and see if they are as good as I remember.

Whilst they may be named more like a circus clown than a sweet, Toffo’s were very tasty. Original Toffee Toffo (have you ever noticed how the non-messed with variety of foodstuffs always gets called “original flavour”, rather than what the actual flavour is?) was a tube of small round toffee sweets. I liked them because a packet would last you a long time as you had to suck them first as they were too hard to chew initially. Of course, if you sucked them too long they would become too soft and get stuck in your teeth, so make sure you don’t eat them before a visit to the dentist!

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Labyrinth

Posted by Big Boo on October 9th, 2007

LabyrinthOne of the best films to come from The Muppets creator Jim Henson, and sadly the last film he directed before he died, was the 1986 film Labyrinth. It’s a film with many big names behind it, as it was also produced by George Lucas and Monty Python Terry Jones was involved in the screenplay. It also starred David Bowie as Jareth, the Goblin King, the films baddie.

The film follows the adventures of Sarah Williams (a young Jennifer Connelly) who must brave the titular Labyrinth to rescue her baby brother Toby, a problem of her own doing! Sarah is a daydreamer who loves fantasy stories, which gets her into trouble one evening as she is supposed to be babysitting Toby for her parents. She returns late and is told off, so is in a bit of a bad mood already when Toby starts crying and won’t shut up. She tries reciting some lines from the play (called Labyrinth) that she is learning, which is a story about a girl who is given special powers by the Goblin King. When this fails to calm Toby, she shouts out loud that she wishes The Goblin King would take Toby away.

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