Teletext in Europe: From The Analogue to the Digital Era is written by Hallvard Moe and Hilde van den Bulck. I don't know who those people are I'm afraid; they could be Europe's foremost serial killers, for all I know (and with names like those, who could blame them?).
I've not read it, mind, even though I do think a book about teletext is long overdue. Frankly though, if that cover is anything to go by, Teletext in Europe is dryer than a vulture's chuff, and if you've got any interest in teletext whatsoever, you should go and join the Teletext Facebook Group (and Digi's one while you're at it).
You should also follow Jason Robertson on Twitter. He's doing an heroic job of recovering old editions of Teletext - including Digitiser - from ancient VHS tapes. Also follow the Teletext R podcast, which covers all things teletext-y in amusing fashion (I'll be appearing on the next edition; probably one of the most enjoyable and ridiculous podcasts I've ever recorded). Other teletext-related folk include @illarterate (and his website Teletext Art), @that_other_carl, and @russty_russ - they're all keeping the flame alive with their teletext ponderings and artwork.
But enough about those unsavoury lushes and their pixellated necromancy: here's what I have managed to recall about teletext that isn't to do with Digitiser.
My earliest memory of teletext as a medium (as opposed to Teletext - capital T - the company) were the Ceefax pages cycling around on BBC2 outside of regular programming hours.
Sunday mornings, waiting for proper telly to start, weekday afternoons when I was off school sick - or pretending to be sick so that I could get off school...
Memorably, I once got awarded with a day at home, because my mother had walked into the room to find a 12-inch cable of nasal mucus dangling from my nose; I'd simply been trying to see how long I could get it without it breaking. I wasn't going to argue.
Typically, the rotating selection of Ceefax pages would include news, the TV guide, the weather, sport... but very occasionally there'd be something more visual, like a birthday cake with a flickering candle flame. Back in those days - we're likely talking the early-80s - I'd grab anything computer graphic-y by the scruff of its goitre, and lick it up and down furiously.
Though we know how basic teletext visuals could be, to my stupid eyes they successfully bridged the Uncanny Valley with a truckload of primary-coloured breeze blocks.
The first few TVs I remember using didn't have teletext as a feature (teletext-compatible sets were expensive, see, such was the cutting edge nature of the technology back then). Indeed, the first remote control telly my parents rented (for years they hired almost all their appliances from DER or Granada, rather than buy them) had to be connected via a wire; they only had controls to flick through the channels and mute the sound.
Ceefax had started in 1974, and ITV's rival service, Oracle, shortly afterwards. It had been around most of my life, and it was just something people used... to check football scores, the weather, to book holidays. It was often on in the background, or used as a way to kill time during the ad breaks - much as we all now watch TV while browsing Buzzfeed and Reddit and Twitter on on our phones, probably.
Once I graduated to using teletext for myself - my parents had finally arrived in the 20th Century - I tended to gravitate towards Oracle, primarily because it was more colourful, and had 4-Tel, an ancillary teletext service within its Channel 4 pages. What really marked them out is that Oracle had Barney's Bunch, while 4-Tel had 4-T the dog.
The two were dramatically different to one another: Barney's Bunch had graphics that were big and bold. 4-T's visuals were angular and minimalist. I enjoyed them equally.
Indeed, on the days I knew a new edition was due, it would be pretty much the first thing I did that morning.
Early on in Teletext's life, the creator of 4-T spent some days working with me, ostensibly to give advice on creating teletext graphics.
It was difficult. On the one hand it was kind of cool to meet someone whose work I'd admired, and cool that he wore a 4-T polo shirt. On the other hand, the guy had just lost his job and here he was suffering the indignity of training somebody far younger, who was going to be replacing him.
He just seemed a bit shell-shocked and distant, and to make matters worse he kept grumbling that I apparently didn't need any training, as he felt I was better at it than he was. It was an uncomfortable couple of days, and didn't make me feel especially nice.
I've doubtlessly written before about how my friends and I got hooked on Buzz, Oracle's teenage pages.
Being able to call up and leave messages on their answer machine - which, if chosen, would be broadcast the following day - was a bit like using Twitter from the fringes of the Solar System. It was slow, but addictive; I managed to get on there twice, simply by carpet-bombing them with messages.
As weird as it sounds, and even though I was more a graphics artist than writer, I occasionally thought it would be cool to edit a section on Oracle; maybe because of my success with getting on Buzz, working for Oracle didn't seem as unobtainable as being a proper journalist for a print magazine.
And then, as I've written elsewhere, the summer that I left school, I got a job at the head office of Ladbrokes Racing.
As well as working for the company's in-store betting service, I doubled-up on what was dubbed the Oracle Department, getting a crash-course in teletext editing.
For a long time, the Oracle Department (it was little more than a desk in the corner of the office) consisted of myself and one other person: my line manager Julian Edwards (who later went on to run Bamboozle for Teletext).
Though I still think writing Digitiser was the best job I ever had, working at Ladbrokes was the best working environment I've ever known. There were barely any egos, and precious little ambition; something I can't say about every job I've had subsequently.
I liked pretty much everyone there, and I enjoyed having a job far more than I ever enjoyed school. I liked getting paid. I liked the socialising. I liked that nobody seemed to hate me, except for one manager (surname Moran, but pronounced - I swear - "moron") - but he seemed to hate everyone (himself more than anyone, most likely). The rest of the staff would practically throw a party if he called in sick, so volatile and unpredictable was the man.
While I may not have been working for my beloved Oracle, it wasn't far off. The Ladbrokes teletext pages were mostly lists of odds, but from time to time I'd get to do something a little more creative and visual (see the football graphic above: I probably drew that more than 25 years ago).
I even got them to agree to let me run sports-based word searches from time to time, arguing that if you could give the customers added value, they'd be more likely to return, or stick around. Alas, the same approach was viewed less favourably by my Teletext bosses when it came to Digitiser.
Throughout my time at Ladbrokes, Oracle was always on a TV somewhere in the office, cycling through its news and sport pages.
I can remember reading the headlines on the day Margaret Thatcher: Child-Snatcher resigned.
I also have a faint tickle of memory about reading that - thanks to Mrs Thatch's government - Oracle had lost its licence, and was to be replaced by a new service.
It's unlikely I really knew what that meant. I doubt I thought it'd affect me much - there'd still be teletext pages on ITV and Channel 4, even if they were to be provided by somebody new.
I was working at Wembley Stadium, upsetting people like Bryan Adams and the prog rock band Yes, when I got an invitation to interview for the company that was to be taking over from Oracle.
You know the rest.
THE LOVE ORACLE
Much as I loved Oracle, I've never really considered what Teletext accomplished before now. My time there has always been overshadowed by Digitiser, and subsequent battles and politics. Sometimes you're too close to something to get sufficient perspective, like pressing your face against a mountain.
Looking back now, Teletext Ltd. was an incredibly ambitious service. It was vibrant, colourful, and had I been a punter, I'd have loved it. I'd have loved the music section, the teenage pages, and probably would've been hopelessly hooked on Bamboozle. I'm pretty certain that I'd have loved Digitiser and Turner the Worm too.
It may have had a rocky start, and courted more than its fair share of controversies, but in that pre-Internet age, Teletext Ltd did so much right. The fact it was slow to capitalise on its position once the Internet began threatening its dominance - and is now nothing more than an online travel agency - is pretty much a tragedy.
Yet it's also somehow appropriate that a service now remembered so fondly for its archaic technology, and slowly-scrolling pages, should prove equally sluggish when it came to keeping up with the times.
I'm glad that it's no more - and that only fragments of it remain, unearthed via a form of digital archeology. And I'm actually secretly kinda proud of every part I played in it. So that's nice, eh.
THE COMPLETE GAMES OF MY YEARS