The Women Of Kilobaud Computing
Sep26

The Women Of Kilobaud Computing

Computer programming is seen as a mainly male profession which can probably be attributed to the rise in home computers in the early-to-mid 1980s that were then marketed almost exclusively for boys. I can remember lusting after a Sinclair ZX Spectrum as soon as I saw one in operation and I know that all of my male friends ended up getting a computer of some sort within the first few years of that decade; female friends and relations, though… not a clue. However, prior to the most recent 30 year period computer programming was certainly more equal, if not heavily leaning towards women in the industry. To illustrate this – and just because they’re so full of retro gorgeousness I can’t resist them – here are some covers from Kilobaud Microcomputing...

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Video Smorgasbord
Aug29

Video Smorgasbord

And now for a selection of videos I’ve been watching recently, partly to show the sorts of things that interest me, mostly to put something on the site since it’s been bloody ages and I really have no excuse other than bone-idleness. Insert annual “I really must post more often” statement of intent here. First up is my favourite episode from season two of The Katering Show, the only food-based series you ever need to see on the internet. Hosted by Australian comedians Kate McCartney and Kate McLennan, a food intolerant and intolerable foodie respectively, this episode – The Cook and The Kates – sees the pair channel their inner Maggie Beer (Australian chef/presenter/something) to appeal to a wider audience and attain an inner calm missing in their lives. I look like laundry. Yes, I feel like a wealthy ghost. Watch to find out why there are so many lemons. The second video is one for fans of The Prisoner who want to know where the inspiration came from. The answer is that it came from an episode of Danger Man called Colony Three. The ending of this episode is really quite dark. Finally, a bit of music that I discovered as the album version formed the background audio to a tutorial on painting weapons for steampunk (I’m going to a fancy dress later this year and I need all the help I can get). This video, though, is a live performance of the track This City Means No Love by J.Viewz featuring vocals by Noa Lembersky. It’s just such a great song performed and sung so well, and a real...

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1980s Children’s TV Programmes
Jul30

1980s Children’s TV Programmes

During the 1980s television channels in the UK would alter their programming during the summer months to accommodate children staying home. They probably still do but the toil of modern life and the necessity to work for a living means I’ve no idea if that’s true. Anyway, there are plenty of YouTube channels devoted to saving some of the shows themselves and even idents and trails of my youth so it was nice to discover this preview of kids TV programming in the summer of 1983 from what was my local ITV channel at the time, TVS. I remember all the shows in the follow clip quite fondly. The Dead Zone Animated Series Based on the Stephen King novel and tying in with the film release in the same year The Dead Zone Animated Series was an attempt to saturate the market, tackling the adults in the cinema and the kids at home with the intriguing tales of a man who develops the power of precognition but is haunted by the horrors he sees unfolding. Nine episodes of the cartoon were produced but only six were ever broadcast as the storylines were considered too dark for children which was a shame as the penultimate episode accurately predicted Milli Vanilli. The Missing Link Gang An imported series from Canada about a gang of kids who refuse to evolve but try to fit in with society by solving crimes and helping journalists investigate stories. They are constantly tormented by scientific and religious communities and individuals who find their existence to be in violation of biological and theological positions and are slowly killed off by rational and irrational people from all walks of life. Harrowing and with a deep message, nine episodes of the series were filmed but only six were ever broadcast as the storylines were considered too dark for children which was a shame as the penultimate episode warned of the dangers of internet stalkers long before the World Wide Web was even considered. German New Wave Music Hour Music and the new fad of music videos was considered an easy choice to occupy children’s attentions in 1983 but access to the pop charts was prohibited outside the BBC at that time so ITV imported a hastily-made series of hour-long music shows from Europe with each weekly episode featuring a different country and style. Nine episodes of Music Hour were imported but only six were ever broadcast as the pro-Nazi themes in German New Wave and incessant smoking in French Shouting Poems were considered too influential for children which was a shame as the penultimate episode featured Italian Pouting Dance...

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Floral Photography Of Emi Nakajima
Jul30

Floral Photography Of Emi Nakajima

Someone I follow on Google+ and whose photography always fills me with joy is Emi Nakajima. Her photographs of flowers have such a fabulous, tranquil feel to them; a dream-like quality that comes from the very shallow depth of field and gorgeously smooth background and colours. And while I don’t usually like people watermarking their own photos there’s something about the wording of her name across each image that makes you believe each picture could be a book cover. A small sample of some of her wonderfulo photos is below. If you ever need to ease off the stresses of daily life you could do a lot worse than scroll through Emi Nakajima’s...

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Say No To Toddlers – 1970s Public Information Film
Jul09

Say No To Toddlers – 1970s Public Information Film

Graham Weevilface is not a name that’s particularly well-known these days but in the mid 1970s he was one of the leading producers of public information films on behalf of the British government. He was a recipient of numerous awards for films such as Danger! Slow Worm! and Chalk Cliffs: White Trauma but it’s his 1976 classic Say No To Toddlers that arguably had the most impact on a British public on the cusp of emerging from the darkness of high unemployment and unending energy crises into a brave new world of European integration and booming prosperity. A massive sense of relief following World War II, the rise of promiscuity in the 1960s, and long, dark nights with nothing better to do in the early 1970s led to a state of what was described in government documentation at the time as “too many blasted babies” and so a number of programmes were accelerated in order to reduce the birth rate in the British Isles. Alongside adding bromide to the water supply and inventing a new craze called “aerobics” that was designed to tire people out making sex less likely the services of Weevilface were sought out and in very short order he was able to produce the following classic film clip. Shown in cinemas and on television – particularly before and after schools and colleges programmes as children were most open to the message within – Say No To Toddlers was initially received with the kind of stupefying horror associated with all British public information films; the creepy music and stark voiceover messages were requirements of government-sanctioned movies but Weevilface excelled in the craft. However, in follow-up interviews with childless men and women during the 1980s and early 1990s it’s this specific film warning the dangers that toddlers and children possess that most often came out with a sense of warmth; many interviewees claimed that had it not been for the consideration of the British government they might have inadvertently unleashed swarms of adult-killing, car-stealing babies into the general...

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