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Archive for February, 2008

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Commodore Vic-20

Posted by Big Boo on February 7th, 2008

Commodore Vic 20The Commodore Vic-20 was the precursor to the massively popular Commodore 64, and indeed you can see the family resemblance as the two machines look outwardly identical, with just a change in colour from cream for the Vic to beige-brown for the 64. The Vic-20 arrived on the scene in 1980 and took it’s name from one of it’s components, the Video Interface Chip, and was my first real computer (actually, that’s not strictly true, I did have a Sinclair ZX81 for a week, but we had so many problems getting it to load we took it back and changed it for a Vic-20).

The Vic-20 was one of the first computers to have colour graphics, in this case having access to a range of 16 colours, 8 of which could only be used as the background or border colours. It also had a proper keyboard, unlike many computers of the day, which made it a joy to type on. It’s tiny 3.5K of RAM could be expanded by adding a RAM pack in a slot at the back. The one I had was pretty nifty in that it had a switch on the back that let you boost the RAM by either 3K or 16K. This was necessary because the Vic-20 remapped its memory differently depending on how much RAM was added. This meant that a program written for an unexpanded machine wouldn’t run properly on a machine with an extra 16K!

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Junior Senior – Move Your Feet

Posted by Big Boo on February 6th, 2008

Junior Senior - Move Your FeetJunior Senior are a Dutch band formed in 1998 comprising of Jesper Mortensen and Jeppe Laursen, who were both previously members of the band Ludo-X. So what are they doing being featured in a sight about the 1980’s, I hear you cry? Well, the reason is for the amazing pixellated video that accompanies one of their best known songs, Move Your Feet.

The video is extremely colourful and animated in a way that anyone familiar with computer systems such as the Commodore Amiga will instantly feel a pang of nostalgia for. It was created by design outfit Shynola, and it’s best watched rather than described, so hit the play button below and enjoy! The video is also included as a multimedia extra on the bands album D-D-D-Don’t Stop the Beat, which incidentally is one of the songs lyrics.

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Monster In My Pocket

Posted by Big Boo on February 5th, 2008

Monster In My PocketMonster In My Pocket was a series of small collectible plastic monsters first released by Matchbox in 1990, so it’s possible that if you were born during the 1980’s you will remember them. The reason I’m writing about them today is because I was reminded of them after seeing an advert on TV the other night for something incredibly similar – unfortunately I didn’t catch the name of these new ones, but it appears as though Monster In My Pockets are still available now as well.

Originally the monsters were made from a rubbery kind of plastic and were available in bright primary colours, a single colour for the entire monster. Later editions added painted details or glow in the dark plastic, and the most recent editions are actually quite intricately painted. They were generally bought in packs of four, although there were special edition ones that were made available in packs of breakfast cereals. The idea behind them was that they could be used as a kind of Top Trumps style game – or at least I think that was the idea. Each monster had a number moulded on it’s back or underside which was it’s point total. I presume that you were supposed to use them to battle with your friends, but I’m not sure of the exact rules.

The Monster In My Pocket series was available in both the US and Europe, but it seemed to have more success initially in the UK and Europe than America. They also courted controversy in the UK by the fact that several of the so called monsters were actually Hindu deities, which obviously was deemed to be quite offensive to the people of this religion. The Hindu Gods Kali, Ganesha and Hanuman were all removed from the line up in the UK, although Yama, god of death, wasn’t for some reason.

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Joe Dolce – Shaddup You Face

Posted by Big Boo on February 4th, 2008

Joe Dolce - Shaddup You FaceIt may be looked back on with distaste now, but at the time Joe Dolce’s hit Shaddup You Face stormed the charts around the world. The song was first released in Australia in 1980, where it went to number one and was the most successful Australian produced single in Australian music history for 26 years, selling over 350,000 copies. Total sales worldwide of the song including the 35 different foreign language versions (including the aboriginal dialect Indjubundji) are set at 4 million copies!

The song also stormed the charts in the UK, hitting the top spot on February 17, 1981, denying Ultravox from reaching number one with their hit Vienna. In total, it reached number one in no less than 15 countries!

It was sung in a broad Italian accent (presumably not Joe Dolce’s normal voice), with the main chorus being the unforgettable:-

Whassamatta you?
Gotta no respect?
Whaddaya think ya do?
Why you look-a so sad?
It’s-a not so bad.
It’s-a nice-a place.
Ah Shaddup you face.

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Stocking Fillers - Suppliers to Father Christmas
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Posted by Big Boo on February 1st, 2008

Masquerade BunnyMasquerade was a book released in 1979 that sparked the hunt for the pictured jewelled hare. It was written and illustrated by artist Kit Williams, who decided that he wanted to do something a bit different, and came up with the idea of a treasure hunt that was to be solved by decoding clues in the lavishly painted images held within the pages of the book. The book also told a children’s story about the journey taken by Jack Hare to deliver a treasure from the Moon to her love the Sun. Upon reaching the Sun, Jack discovers he has lost the treasure, and it is therefore up to the reader to solve the clues to discover where it might be.

The book sold in droves as the general public all leapt at the chance of solving the mystery and discovering the whereabouts of the hidden treasure, but the puzzle was not solved until 1982, when the hare was found by Ken Thomas. Unfortunately Ken Thomas was a fraud, his real name being Dugald Thompson. Instead of solving the puzzles fairly, he had got information out of Veronica Robertson, an ex-girlfriend of Kit Williams which led him to the rough location of the hare. Annoyingly, the treasue hunt was solved fair and square a short while afterwards by two Physics teachers, Mike Barker and John Rousseau, but by then the prize had already been awarded.

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