Urgh, what can I say, I promised to make more blog posts, and have left it nearly a year between posts....I really must do better!
I could wheel out all the excuses in the world about a busy home life, and permanently slaving behind an easel, but the fact of the matter is, that despite being a computer whizz kid when I was at school....technology and I simply don't get along! I'm a technological dinosaur these days!
1980's Computer Whiz Kid - he looks nothing like me (and I don't smoke!)
Back in the glorious 1980's, I loved my ZX Spectrum and Commodore Amiga computers. I was so good with computers, that I even created a game which I sold* to publishers Newsfield to appear on the cover tape of Crash ZX Spectrum magazine (more on that later...and yes computers loaded games through cassette tapes back then....what do you mean 'what's a cassette tape?' I give up, I really do!). While I wasn't quite up there with the likes of the Oliver Twins (well, there was two of them, what do you expect!?) I knew my way around my computers far more than your average person....so what happened!?
Luckily the Oliver Twins eventually lost their hair
Well, obviously life happened to an extent, I grew up, started a family, got bogged down with a 'regular' job, and drifted away from computers, and even my art for a while. After a day in a 9-5 job, with a couple of hours of rush hour traffic added in, and small children to amuse after work, there was just no time left to take an interest in computers. I had a PC on a desk connected to the internet, but it was the old style dial-up internet, and you had to really really want to log in to the internet to bother yourself sitting in the corner of the room at a desk, and waiting while the computer screeched at you (I actually really miss the old modem sounds). I still used computers, and in fact worked in a computing job, but there was just no time to take an interest in the latest happenings. We had broadband eventually which was more convenient than dial-up, but I would imagine that most people with a computer were in the same boat, you had to really really want to use that computer to move yourself off the couch to the desk. You wouldn't for instance do as you do these days and use your device to look up random trivia. The internet was a real time consuming event. Laptops and Wireless Internet made things easier, but it was still something that you had to really want to use at that moment.
My first issue of Crash Magazine, I loved that magazine.
Then Steve Jobs and his iPhone changed everything! From Computers being something that you had to make a real effort to use, all of a sudden you could have a computer permanently in your pocket, and the internet was available anywhere and anytime you needed it. Yeah there had been attempts at small mobile internet devices previously, but this was the first device that was this user friendly and mainstream. It was so easy to use, suddenly everyone was on the internet. Computing and the internet went from being slightly niche, to being something your gran could use. Kids were born who never knew a world without the internet.
Now you'd think that all of this user friendliness would make it easier for someone like me, who is mildly technical, to use the internet. It actually made it much much harder. All of a sudden social media was a massive thing, people taking pictures of their lunch and sharing it with the world, people dancing in their pants for likes. The YouTuber and the Influencer were born. Me being quite a quiet person, who doesn't really like attention, felt a little bit lost. Also the amount of choice of devices and apps was bewildering, I was paralysed with choice. The internet had went from a small nerdy pastime to a huge unstoppable behemoth. It was vast and scary.
Mavis checks how many likes her Photo of 'Mr Frisky' received on Facebook
It has taken me quite some time to get used to these new fangled modern devices and the multitude of ways of using them. I wish I could say that I've fully embraced them, but I haven't. I could have typed this blog post on my phone, or a tablet, or even a laptop. Instead I'm sat at a desk like I would have done in the glory days of the 1980's. I truly am a dinosaur!
(* Newsfield, who owned Crash ZX Spectrum had financial difficulties shortly after a gentleman by the name of Richard Eddy had Written to me to tell me they'd be publishing my game - 'Fred Egg' on the magazines cover tape. Fred Egg never was published, and sadly I lost my tape copies of the game, so unless someone at Crash kept a copy, it is lost forever)
Crash Magazine has been relaunched by Fusion Retro Books, covering brand new games for the old hardware (and emulators), it's well worth a look, check it out here