I appreciate that this makes it sound like I was some terribly spoiled brat, with hugely wealthy parents, but - while I accept that I may have been spoiled - my parents weren't particularly well off. The caravan cost about fifty quid.
It was only small - barely a poortaloo on wheels - but they had to remove a fence panel to get it into the garden; it just about fitted into the space where my dad's shed had collapsed.
Despite being well-used, it had that unique caravan smell - one I was deeply familiar with, from summer family holidays.
The closet where the chemical toilet used to be still boasted the stubborn stench of urine, and occasionally, my mates and I would lock one another in there for an hilarious wheeze.
Or we would sit on the roof - until we were shouted at to get down (which was a shame, as from up there we had a much clearer shot at the kids two gardens over, when we were throwing clumps of mud at them...).
At some point, going to pubs replaced hanging out in my back garden lobbing hard mud at eight year-olds. From then on, the caravan became little more than an extension of my bedroom wardrobe. Specifically, it was the bedroom wardrobe where I kept my collection of games magazines.
Consequently, I probably had - up until the late-80s - a near-complete collection of Your Sinclair magazine.
It's fair to say that I was not a voracious reader.
If I did read anything, it was either because I was forced to by teachers, or it was in the form of comics. My loyalties on that front tended to side with Fleetway/IPC's Whoopee and Krazy, rather than DC Thompson's Beano and Dandy.
Even in the 70s, Dennis the Menace and - irony! - Biffo the Bear seemed to belong to another era. All the more so when IPC's 2000AD was launched in 1977... born from the phlegmy crucible of punk, and speaking directly to the Star Wars generation.
1984 was the year that games journalism, as we know it now, slithered forth from the womb. If, prior to then, I did as little reading as possible outside of comic book speech bubbles, games magazines awoke in me an appreciation of the written word. Not only an appreciation, but an understanding of its potential.
I know that probably sounds like an art historian reflecting how his journey began through his admiration of public lavatory cubicle scrawls, but it's regrettably true. We've all got to start somewhere - I just happened to start at the arse-end.
Your Sinclair and Crash launched within a month or two of one another, and though I would spend pocket money on them both, it was the former that I stuck with. Fleetway had a brief flirtation with games magazines, launching Big K in the spring of that year, but editor Tony Tyler launched his inaugural editorial by quoting Chairman Mao. As a 13 year-old I no more knew or cared who Chairman Mao was than I did Steve Wozniak - who was also featured that month.
Oddly, much of the content of the first issue talked about the huge money that could be earned by being a programmer. I just wanted to see pictures of the new games, so it all felt quite wordy, and - despite boasting a Tharg-like mascot in the form of desperate, bespectacled punk, Video Kid - wasn't what I wanted from a games magazine. Frankly, it was dull.
5 FORGOTTEN VIDEO GAME MAGS
IT'S BACK! ADVANCED LAWNMOWER SIMULATOR 2015
THE GAMES OF MY YEARS: THE ZX SPECTRUM PART TWO by Mr Biffo
Your Spectrum (as Your Sinclair was initially known) was different. It felt a world away from Big K.
Looking back now at those early issues, it seemed to arrive almost fully formed. It was bright, alive, fun, and irreverent... and like the computer magazines which preceded it, early issues of Your Sinclair featured type-in programs.
Numbers not being my strong point, I only ever attempted these a couple of times - once successfully creating a sub-Space Invaders-type game that hadn't been worth the two hours it took to input.
Later, it came with games on cassettes - including, memorably, Advanced Lawnmower Simulator (an April Fool's joke that had spiralled out of control) - and an audio "single" by "Whistlin'" Rick Wilson, a pseudonym for YS team member David Wilson.
Wilson later went on to do PR for Electronic Arts. If I'd know he'd been that "Whistlin'" Rick I might've treated him with slightly more respect when I was writing Digitiser.
Wilson's pointless song was typical of the Your Sinclair tone. Games - whether reviewed or typed-in - took a back seat to nonsense. Your Sinclair became about the humour and the writing more than anything else. It was self-depreciating, immature, and smart all at once. As my relationship with the magazine consolidated, I bought it more for that than any games content.
I often picked up Crash, but those striking Oliver Frey covers somehow made it look dark, and oppressive. Plus I could sense, instinctively. that the writing wasn't as sharp or witty.
Your Sinclair was somehow bright and welcoming, and surreal, and clever in a puerile way. It was the Beano versus Krazy all over again, Tiswas versus Swap Shop. Your Sinclair somehow spoke in my language. Reading it was like hanging out with mates - and my mates and I would rarely sit around talking about Chairman Mao.
Your Sinclair was a friend, and maybe that's why I struggled to throw away my collection, and stuffed them in the caravan. Such is a metaphor for life, right? Hanging onto things past the point at which we need them, as they collect mould and fall apart...
Your Sinclair continued until September 1993 - the year Digitiser launched. Admittedly, it had been some years since I'd picked up a copy, having long since graduated from my Spectrum, but it had seeped into my DNA.
It wasn't conscious at the time, but looking back at it now, Your Sinclair must've heavily influenced Digitiser's irreverence and tone. When we created Digi it felt like the most natural thing in the world to write about video games in a way that didn't wholly talk about video games.
If we were enjoying ourselves, we reasoned, then the audience would enjoy what we were doing; whether or not that was the case, the YS team always looked like they were having a laugh... but never in a way that excluded the readership.
Suffice to say, without it, it's likely that Digitiser would've been all press releases, Chairman Mao quotes and dry features about Steve Wozniak.
TO BE CONTINUED...