This was primarily due to people flinging themselves under trains, something which never seems to happen in the morning (I suppose if you know it's your last day on earth, you might as well have a lie-in).
If you've ever commuted into London on a regular basis, you'll know what a regular occurrence this is. If you've ever commuted into London on a regular basis, you'll understand why someone might want to do this.
The best thing I can say about the minimum three-hour commute is that I got to read a lot of books. The second best thing I can say is that - being at the far end of the line, where people were smart enough not to travel into London during rush-hour - I generally got a seat.
The third best thing I can say is that at least I don't have an abundance of best things to say about my journey into Teletext, and can cut this off right here.
In the early days of Teletext, I was eager. I aimed to get into work for about 8am.
My day would start at the bus stop shortly after dawn, chatting to Maggie, a blind woman who I'd struck up something of a friendship with (she almost always wore odd socks), followed by a half hour bus journey, and then the choice of two trains or one train and a walk. I'd work until 6pm at least.
Within a year or two, I'd realised that I could rock up to work at 10am - sometimes later - and slink off about 3pm via the fire escape, and nobody would notice.
I'd still get all my work done, be home in time for Neighbours, and if anyone asked I was off doing "arcade reviews" or "having a poo".
"Or would you rather I pooed in my pants at my desk?"
"As you were..."
Questions were raised at one point - officially, I was still employed as a "graphics artist" rather than a "shirker" - and I reigned it in for a while.
Admittedly, it was hardly a young doctor timetable, and I was being paid well, but such were the hours and debilitating journey that I've virtually no memory of my middle daughter's first couple of years. Work was all-consuming. And 40% of that was the travelling. With hindsight, I feel I got my priorities right.
It should be entered into the record, however, that I am a very diligent worker these days. The hours I work are long, I rarely miss a deadline... I'm anything but lazy, much to the chagrin of my other half, who would rather I was fixing the towel rail in the bathroom instead of writing this.
The first six months of Teletext's existence were fraught. There were technical foul-ups, complaints a-plenty, and you could almost see the steam hissing out from beneath the collars of the management.
In its report at the end of the year, the Independent Television Commission, damned the company by stating that it got off to "a very poor start" and that Teletext had "seriously underestimated the size of the task it faced and the service failed to meet many of its basic licence conditions".
Following an intervention from the ITC - which received "well over" 100 complaints from members of the public - Teletext made changes, and by spring was "broadly complying with the terms of its service".
This meant ditching the After Hours section - "which contained sexual material unsuitable even after 10.30pm when it was transmitted" - so goodbye to Turner the Screw - and increasing news, regional arts and leisure coverage. By the end of the year, ITC was satisfied that Teletext was "of good overall quality".
By spring, Teletext looked markedly different, with a new editor, and most of the features sections were shunted off to Channel 4 - including Digitiser.
It was certainly during this first year that Tim and I started to get a reputation as troublemakers. I wish I could say it was otherwise, but we certainly brought it upon ourselves.
Looking back, I suspect that Digitiser's style was allowed to develop because they expected we'd be a harmless little video games page.
The management had bigger fish to fry, and in doing so missed the whale of a time that was swimming right past them. The more Tim and I got to know one another, the more fun we had.
Digitiser ceased to be a job, and became a way of entertaining ourselves. We'd have competitions to see who could swear the loudest without getting into trouble, or suddenly attack the boxes under our desk with a tennis racquet, or fling grapes at the wall on the far side of the office, or ring colleagues and play sounds from the Mega Drive version of Jungle Book down the phone at them.
The dirtier the looks we got, the more it encouraged us, and the more it made us laugh. I have absolutely no doubt that there were people in that office who utterly hated us. Yet because we were doing the sorts of things that nobody of our ages should've been doing in an office job - we were so outside their rather conformist frame of reference - it was like they couldn't quite wrap their heads around it.
Instead, over time, they started watching us with hawklike eyes, just waiting for the day that one of us put a foot wrong...
The first out-and-out silly thing I can remember being put on Digitiser was The Man With A Long Chin Wearing Pink Beret (as he was originally called - later being contracted to The Man, due to our limited word count; roughly 60 words a page).
We used him on the letters section as a way to encourage people to write in, promising that particularly good letters would be rewarded with a gift from The Man's "secret pocket" (or as it actually was, a cupboard full of tat that we'd started to accrue, as PR people began sending us things). The subtle innuendo of "secret pocket" made us laugh.
All the more when we got away with it.
The Man had nothing to do with video games, and that opened the floodgates to a whole bunch of other stuff that had nothing to do with video games, or was to do with video games in only the most tangential aspect. People would start writing in about The Man, wanting to know more about him, and that led to Man Diary - a daily bulletin on his activities.
Over time, Man Diary would be hosted by further, equally pointless, characters; his brother DIY "Kelly", Duncan (a hive mind comprised of several prawns in a jar), his nemesis The Man Who Taunts Fear, Edward Lear, Mike Reid soundalike Pat Walker, The Artist Formerly Known as "Prints" - and others.
The Man's Daddy was probably the most incongruous of the lot, with his non-sequitur jokes that were designed specifically to annoy the sort of people who would be annoyed by non-sequitur jokes. We were trolling before anybody knew what trolling was.
Sorry to continually refer to myself having as a poo, but I was - in the most literal sense - having a poo when the wheels came off the apple cart.
It was a Saturday morning, in early 1993. The previous day we'd run a review of the Super NES version of Street Fighter II, written (or rewritten, most likely) by Tim.
The review had begun "Now you too can develop epilepsy" - mocking the "video game nasty" horror stories that the tabloids were (and still are) obsessed with.
Though nobody ever suggested that Street Fighter II gave people epilepsy, there had been concerns raised over its violence, and how it might encourage kids to shoot fireballs at one another, or deliver spinning bird-kicks to each other's faces.
Shortly after the review went up, we took a call from a representative of the British Epilepsy Association. As I listened in, Tim had a convivial and reasonable conversation with him. He came off the phone confident that was the end of the matter.
The following day, I was reading The Sun on the toilet, when I turned a page to be confronted with the following headline: "TELETEXT RAPPED OVER SICK VIDEO GAME JOKE". That friendly, convivial, and reasonable man from the British Epilepsy Association had - after coming off the phone from Tim - given The Sun newsdesk a call to further express his outrage.
If you bear in mind that Teletext was part-owned by the Daily Mail and General Trust, and was considered - at that point - new media, you might have some idea of why Rupert Murdoch would jump on the chance to give it a kicking.
I rang Tim, and told him what I'd read, which was difficult - primarily because it meant confessing that I'd been reading The Sun.
As I remember it, Tim called the office, or they called him, before they called us... but I think he was otherwise on his way out.
This meant that I had to spend a while on the phone with our rattled Features Editor, going through every line of that weekend's Digi looking for anything which might upset epileptics, or give Rupert Murdoch further ammunition.
It just happened to be that we'd chosen to run one of our first, all-stupid, features that weekend.
I liked our Features Editor. I always thought she fancied Tim a bit, which probably helped in our dealings with her, but I could tell she was shaken, as we came under her jurisdiction.
For the most part, there wasn't anything particularly controversial on DIgi that weekend, but the stupid feature raised questions. We got to one section - something about Noel Edmonds manifesting form the top of faulty Mega Drives - and she asked me if it was true, and whether we had proof to back it up.
"It's just meant to be, um, sort of funny," I mumbled.
"So, it's like a parody?" she replied.
"Well, not really, it's just stupid."
"But it's like a parody, like satire?" she insisted rather than asked.
"I suppose - "
That seemed to placate her; parody and satire is as good a defence as any against a corporation that's suing you because you made people think a bearded TV host would emerge from their consoles.
It was just the start, however, of a protracted game of cat-and-mouse between ourselves and our employers. Things were going to get a lot worse before they got better. Although, actually, they never got better...
GAMES OF MY YEARS: DIGITISER - Part Two by Mr Biffo
GAMES OF MY YEARS: DIGITISER - Part One by Mr Biffo
GAMES OF MY YEARS: 16-BIT - PART TWO by Mr Biffo
GAMES OF MY YEARS: 16-BIT - PART ONE by Mr Biffo
GAMES OF MY YEARS: THE ARCADES - PART ONE by Mr Biffo
GAMES OF MY YEARS: THE ARCADES - PART TWO by Mr Biffo
GAMES OF MY YEARS: SEGA MASTER SYSTEM - PART ONE by Mr Biffo
GAMES OF MY YEARS: SEGA MASTER SYSTEM - PART TWO by Mr Biffo
GAMES OF MY YEARS: ATARI - PART ONE by Mr Biffo
GAMES OF MY YEARS: ATARI - PART TWO by Mr Biffo
GAMES OF MY YEARS: THE ZX SPECTRUM PART ONE by Mr Biffo
GAMES OF MY YEARS: THE ZX SPECTRUM PART TWO by Mr Biffo