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Archive for February, 2009

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Tetley Tea Folk

Posted by Big Boo on February 10th, 2009

The Tetley Tea Folk were a group of little characters who were used for many years to advertise Tetley Tea Bags.  The first advert featuring them appeared in 1973, and they were used right up until 2001 when they were finally deemed not modern enough and were dropped.

The folk were obviously only around three inches tall since they were usually spotted walking about on a table with a blue gingham tablecloth amongst the teapot, cups and plates.  They all wore blue overalls, except for Gaffer who was the oldest and obviously the guy in charge – he wore a blue suit.  Over their clothes they wore long white coats, and each had a pair of comfy brown slippers and a strange peaked cap that flopped down most of their back.

As already mentioned Gaffer was in charge, and had a thick Yorkshire accent as he was voiced by the late Brian Glover.  Over the years we gradually were introduced to various members of the clan, probably the most memorable of which was Sydney, who was a little simple and often ended up being chosen as the fall guy for anything that might turn out dangerous.

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Call That Snow…

Posted by Big Boo on February 9th, 2009

snowmanAs anyone who lives in the UK will be aware, the entire country seemed to grind to a halt last week.  Schools closed, London buses and underground stopped running and the roads and trains were severely affected too.  The cause of all this mayhem?  A few flakes of snow.

Now, I know that there were some areas of the country that were severely hit by the snow, but round where I live this massive snowfall amounted to about an inch worth of snow! Big whoop!  Now, back when I were a lad (cue the music from the Hovis ads) that was considered a small snowfall.  I certainly remember going out in the snow when I was still at primary school and the snow coming over the top of my wellington boots in places, so I have to wonder why everything was so badly affected.

I guess part of the reason is that these days there are far more people who work a great distance from home, and also a great many more cars on the roads, so that explains some of it, but I do find it rather depressing that London was so severely crippled.

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Home Computers v. Games Consoles… Fight!

Posted by Big Boo on February 7th, 2009

The 1980’s was the decade when microprocessor technology became cheap enough and powerful enough that computers became affordable for the average member of the public.  Parents saw these wonderful new machines and many decided buying a ZX Spectrum would help little Johnny with his homework, and allow them to do their accounts.

What they didn’t realise of course is that doing the accounts on a Spectrum was pretty impractical, and completely useless for Johnny’s homework – no Internet in those days!  No, the average home computer was of course used solely for playing video games.

It was also in the 1980’s that Games Consoles really started to become popular as well.  Basically a home computer stripped of a keyboard but possibly with better graphical capabilities, the Game Console was looked on with disdain by many parents, though they would normally cave in eventually once Johnny had harped on long enough.

So, with all that in mind, would you say you played more videogames as a kid on a Home Computer, or on a Games Console?

On what did you play videogames?
View Results
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80s Rewind Festival

Posted by Big Boo on February 6th, 2009

80s rewind festivalNews has reached me about a great sounding new music festival – great sounding because it’s a celebration of 1980’s music!  The 80s Rewind Festival is to be held on August 21st, 22nd and 23rd, and if you love eighties music it’s most definitely the place to be that weekend.

The Rewind Festival is being held in Henley on Thames, south Oxfordshire, right on the banks of the River Thames and is set to be the biggest line up of eighties acts since Live Aid!  There are over 20 acts currently confirmed to appear over the course of the weekend, which are:-

Saturday 22nd AugustSunday 23rd August
Kim WildeGloria Gaynor
Rick AstleySister Sledge
Belinda CarlisleGo West
Heaven 17Paul Young
Kid CreoleHoward Jones
Doctor and the MedicsT'Pau
Nick HeywardMidge Ure
Billy OceanNik Kershaw
The Real ThingThe Christians
China CrisisThe Blockheads with Phill Jupitus
ToyahChas 'n' Dave

As you can see there are some very big names amongst the list, and indeed between them they’ve notched up 171 top twenty hits and an incredible 47 years combined in the charts!  Pretty astounding I’m sure you’ll agree.

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Stocking Fillers - Suppliers to Father Christmas
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Sega Master System / Game Gear

Posted by Big Boo on February 5th, 2009

sega master systemThe first half of the 1980’s, in Europe at least, most people played videogames on their home computers.  This started to change when the first truly popular games consoles started to emerge from Japan.  Whilst Nintendo ruled in the US with their Nintendo Entertainment System (NES – or Famicom as it was called in Japan) in Europe it was Sega who ruled the roost initially with their Master System, launched in the US in 1986, and in Europe the following year.  It did appear in Japan before this, but under the name Sega Mark III.

The Master System was an odd looking beastie.  Made of shiny black plastic that sloped up at the sides, it had a cartridge port on the top and a card slot on the front.  Two rectangular joypads, each with a D-Pad and two buttons, could be connected.  The card slot was used for a handful of games releases but most came on chunky black cartridges which slotted in the top of the machine.

The Master System was built around a Z80A CPU, a processor from the same family as that used in the Sinclair Spectrum.  It could display 32 colours on screen from a palette of just 64, and had just 8K of RAM, with a further 16K devoted to the screen display.  However, the cartridges could provide extra RAM if required, and far greater amounts of ROM which were used to store the game code, graphics and sound data.

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Valentine Sweeties

Posted by Big Boo on February 4th, 2009

valentine sweet boxValentine’s Day is just around the corner again, but do you have anything lined up for your sweetheart yet?  If you haven’t, forget roses or perfume, what could be more sweet (if you’ll forgive the terrible pun) than a big box of sweets?

A Quarter Of have a range of Valentine's Day goodies available to suit all pockets, from chocolate hearts, heart shaped jelly sweets and jelly beans in the shape of (wait for it) hearts.  If all that seems a little twee then why not consider one of their Bumper Boxes?

The Bumper Box of Love for Him contains a total of 3kg of sugary goodness, including chocolate footballs, drumstick lollies, space dust, black jacks and the grown up equivalent of the jelly cola bottle, lager tops and pint pots.  There are also a few jelly bean hearts and a couple of packets of Love Hearts just to keep things romantic.

The fairer sex need not feel left out either as the Bumper Box of Love for Her also weighs in at 3kg and as well as the obligatory Love Hearts also includes jelly hearts, alphabet letters, candy bracelets and a whole lot more.

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So You Think You Know The 80s

Posted by Big Boo on February 3rd, 2009

so you think you know the 80sA little while back I reviewed The Classic Children’s Television Quiz Book (it’s fab! – get a copy) but if children’s television isn’t your strong point then maybe a copy of So You Think You Know The 80s by Clive Gifford might suit you better.

As the name suggests this is a quiz book covering our favourite decade, the 1980’s.  As it say on the cover It contains “over 1000 yuppie-tastic quiz questions!” which range over a number of topics.  The book contains 21 quizzes comprised of 50 questions each, with subject headings including Events, Sport, Music, Advertising, Television and a whole bunch more.  There are even a couple of quizzes devoted to Children’s Television exclusively if my previous recommendation has left you thirsty for more.

The book is guaranteed to get you scratching your head and it gets quite exciting as question after question drags back memories of long forgotten things.  I found the quiz on advertising particularly entertaining with the question “Which computer advertised itself as capable of running a nuclear power station?”.  Scarily enough the answer to this question was the Sinclair ZX81!  Just make sure nobody jogs the 16K RAM pack otherwise we’re all in grave danger…

The book is available from a great little gift site called Stocking Fillers, and is a bargain at a penny less than a fiver.

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Posted by Big Boo on February 2nd, 2009

Prior to the 1980’s if you switch on your TV before around 9am you would likely be met with a test card transmission, as unlike today British television didn’t air 24 hours a day as it does now.  In the early 1980’s the powers that be decided to take a leaf out of American television’s book and begin broadcasting during the early morning when people were having their breakfast and getting ready to go to work.

The BBC were first to begin when on January 17th 1983 the first edition of Breakfast Time was aired.  Featuring noted presenter Frank Bough sat in front of a rather garish orange and yellow sunrise logo made from horizontal lines with bent ends, it was popular but a little too stuffy for me as a kid, as it seemed to be little more than endless news reports, although I did like the little blue clock that was permanently on screen in the bottom right hand corner.

A couple of weeks later, on February 1st, TV-am started airing on ITV with their show Good Morning Britain, although it was no means a blinding success, despite a rather impressive title sequence featuring sky divers and aerial footage of loads of people (and pigeons) forming words.  Unlike me, the rest of the nation seemed to prefer Breakfast Time’s more serious approach than that of TV-am, despite an initial strong line up of presenters including David Frost, Angela Rippon, Anna Ford and Michael Parkinson.

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