If you're in Cambridge this weekend, then please ensure you head on down to the Centre For Computing History, for Block Party 2017 - two days of teletext-based shenanigans. Sadly, I won't be there this weekend, but I'll be there next Saturday for the public premiere of Episode 1 of Found Footage. Tickets to this charity evening of geek-themed comedy are just ten pounds! Come hang out with us.
Those who can't make it will be able to watch the first ep of Found Footage on the following Sunday evening on the Digitiser2000 YouTube Channel. Subscribe now to ensure you miss NOTHING.
As always, it'd be great if you can help spread the word about Found Footage. We know it won't be for everyone... but as much as it's for me - and for those of you who backed it - and for all the insecurity that comes with creative projects, I think its level of ambition goes beyond what you generally tend to see on YouTube. I'd hate for it to just vanish into the ether. And I'd love to do a second, even more ambitious, series.
But look: it is time for the letters. If you would like to appear on next week's page, or you've something you'd like me to give some attention to in our occasional Plug Zone - please send your emails for next week to this place here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Y'all remember this? I just had my memory jogged and holy shit. :o
Speaking of... Teletext very kindly ran some ads for Digi in Electric Brain, which featured a hand-drawn Man With A Long Chin. That was in the days when Teletext's marketing department also tried to get a Digitiser Fan Club off the ground, before we told them it was a stupid idea. Our argument went that Digi was daily, so what exactly could a monthly fan club magazine offer?
It's funny to think that, at one point, Teletext actually viewed Digitiser as a positive thing, rather than an aggressive cancer eating away at the heart of the service.
For the first time in an age, I went into a physical videogames store today. You see, due to a set of circumstances I’d really rather forget, I found myself in the centre of town on a week day. That is to say, IN HELL (student city).
In a desperate attempt to soften the blow, I sought shelter in the glowing, warm (and faintly sticky) aisles of a well-known high-street videogames store. For many years such a thing has been unnecessary thanks to the wonders of the internet, feeding as it does my staunch aversion for any form of actual human contact.
I’d forgotten it was half-term. Well. What can I say? The horror. Not only was the store full of mewling hell-spawn and their cranially vacant forebears (all of which seemed to be buying them curiously age inappropriate games, it must be noted), but there was a gentleman INSISTING that, no, his ratty two-year-old console was definitely an ‘A’ grade and not a ‘B’ grade and by crikey he wasn’t going anywhere until he got his extra tenner.
Twelve year olds with the vocabulary of a well-seasoned sailor scurried along the aisles, perusing shelves filled with terrible, glossily-dull “AAA” titles and festering copies of FIFA 16. Everything smelt vaguely of desperation and cat urine.
When I got home, I hugged my router.
aka: Mr Jalco
PS: Should you fancy plugging my competition (http://mrjalco.co.uk/imperial-walkies/), I shan’t complain. Ta muchly.
For the first time in living memory I had to go into one last year to buy my daughter a computer for uni - she had a miserable friend who worked there, who could get her a discount, see. Anyway. Yeah. It hadn't improved any, and I was pretty sure I got slagged off the second I was out the door.
Many years ago, I tried to sell my copy of Duke Nukem 3D at my local CEX, but they refused to take it on account of this: "It has bird shit on the box".
Which, to be fair, it did, but it felt a bit rich coming from them.
I don't really have a letter for you.
Instead, I have made this 80s album cover that I think you may get some enjoyment from, maybe.
Loved the Found Footage teasers so far. Can't wait for the full release.
You know those magazines that come out where you can collect something with each issue, like a couple of matchsticks to complete a matchstick ship in a bottle over 300 issues etc? Issue 1: £1.99, subsequent issues: £SHIT.LOADS?
Just seen an advert for one with Assassins Creed "vinyl figures".
I've never bought one of those magazines, though I was tempted by the Star Wars build-a-Millennium Falcon one. I haven't got the patience, though, and know I'd lose all the bits in the ten or so years it would take to complete.
I've gone until nearly March before I made the most daft purchase of 2017.
It is beauty personified. Want one? I got it here (and it has nothing to do with me): https://shop-ballyhoo.com/products/nicolas-cage-rage-faces-t-shirt
I am fit and strong and that is all.
That was funny when you typed that thing wrong.
Biscuits The Character
P.S. I am greatly anticipating Biffo’s Found Footage, and would like to offer sincere congratulations on completion of episode 1. It’s not every Kickstarter project that sees completion, and I have been very impressed with the high quality of the clips so far; they are ‘rich’, with all sorts of textures and sounds and what have you, and also, crucially, they are very funny.
I have also been greatly enjoying the ‘tribute’ series of articles, great writing in there. I was so taken with ‘shrivelled up like a walrus in a kiln’ I found myself telling my mum about it. She liked it too.
Somehow - without it meaning to happen - a whole ton of work I took on all ended up with a deadline of "End of Feb". Plus...! I'm in Cambridge next weekend, hosting the Centre For Computing History's Retro Comedy Night - at which, as mentioned, I promised to show Ep 1 of Found Footage - thus giving me yet another deadline (do come along though - tickets are just a tenner, proceeds go to charity, and it's going to be a good night, probably... plus you might get to be in a future episode of Found Footage).
Which is all to say... this is why Digitiser2000 was a little on the light side this week. Sorry. I've gone and knackered myself out again. Want me to do nothing but Digitiser2000 and Found Footage, and video game tribute articles and stuff? Then you can join the ranks of lovelies who already back me on Patreon!
Anyhow, having thought it was done, I'm actually going to be slightly re-editing Ep 1 of Found Footage, now that I've shown it to a handful of people. Everyone was very polite about it, so of course I spent all day yesterday fretting that they were actually trying to hide their disappointment. And then again at 4am this morning. I got terribly down about it, which isn't something that generally happens to me.
It's good in a way that I'm fretting. It makes me work all the harder. With most of my TV jobs, I've got a producer and script editor to help steer the script in the right direction - who then hand it over to a director and cast and editor and production team to make the thing. It has been years since I've needed to worry whether or not my work is rubbish. I can pass the buck to them, see.
With Found Footage that buck stops with me, and given the huge amount of work that I'm taking on single-handedly - writing, directing, animating, editing, and actually being in one sketch (which I hope to do less of, given that the acting doesn't sit comfortably with me) - I accept that there's always the risk I may be too close to it. It's terribly exposing, especially on something that's such a direct portal into my subconscious.
That's what was getting to me yesterday: I feel proud of it... but fear that potentially what I'm proud of isn't that Found Footage is good and funny and weird and confusing and multilayered in the way I've intended, but simply that I worked really hard on it, and can't see that it's actually shit. Which is why honest feedback helps. I can always take it; I've been a writer for nearly 20 years; I've had more feedback/criticism in that time than ten people get in a lifetime.
Anyhow... that was all a bit of a ramble of a blog post. Way to build up hype, Biffo!
You can judge for yourself when you get to see Episode 1 on March 5th. Or March 4th, if you're coming to Cambridge.
Last week, when Mr. T introduced the Friday Letters, his abs looked like Batman.
Has the Caped Crusader been searching bins for sustenance, or special publications? And I don't mean the Lakeland catalogue.
Sorry that the last image wasn't quite what you wanted. I took another shot, though as I was in a hurry I didn't check exactly what you asked for. I'm pretty sure it was a picture of the Little Chef kicking Klonoa off a bridge?
PS: Klonoa: Door To Phantomile - boxed with the Point Blank demo - goes for a surprising amount on eBay these days. So I guess choosing to buy games that none of my friends wanted to play because back then they were all about Tomb Raider and Gran Turismo actually paid off in the end. Hooray?
While it wasn't especially good, although not as bad as it is remembered as being, I always thought that The Order 1886 should have been a Witcher style action RPG. Its setting and story were very good and I think that it would have worked better as a different style of game.
Have you ever played a game that you feel would have worked better as a different style?
In an imaginary world where Sega still made consoles and had the money to do so, do you feel that their franchises would capture the imagination and wallets of the modern public?
I dunno. I'm playing For Honor at the moment. I sort of like it, but I can level many of the same complaints at it. Plus everything just looks the same. Castles... forests... people in armour.
Which leads me to your second question. I miss the days when every game felt different - or, at least, looked different - but my gut tells me that, no, you couldn't just put out old-style Sega games. They would need an overhaul - you couldn't just do, say, Crazy Taxi now that Grand Theft Auto does Crazy Taxi as just part of its sandbox.
But why couldn't you do a new Golden Axe? That's effectively what For Honor is - albeit without the magic, and the thieving imps. I could see Shinobi working as an Uncharted-style game - but with swords!
Out Run would work... Zaxxon could... Heck, let's have a new Jet Set Radio, in a massive open world - but with that same aesthetic and attitude as the original. Do the same for Streets of Rage. Of course, none of this is going to happen, because Sega - with the exception of Sonic - has pretty much ignored its heritage since the Dreamcast coughed its last.
You want another celeb incident, do ya?
Once, while walking through Covent Garden, I noticed the unmistakable face of Mark Gatiss - he of League of Gentleman fame, and having just presented an excellent series on horror movies. I wanted to say hello and compliment him on his "history of horror" series, but social anxiety wouldn't allow it.
So I, stupidly, went for the casual option - as I passed him, I did that slight, upwards tilt of the head that all guys do to each other. Like a silent "alright, mate". Gatiss replied with a facial expression, half confusion, half disgust. He turned his head away, like a cartoon posh person, and I felt like throwing myself off a fucking cliff.
So my question is, have you ever made a knob of yourself in front of someone you respect?
I'm out of my depth anyway with something so achingly middle class as a drinks party, but knew literally nobody there, so I was even more uncomfortable than usual.
Still, I got introduced to a bunch of chaps who - being a massive geek - I knew instantly were writers on Doctor Who. They were clearly mid-conversation, and evidently didn't appreciate me being crowbarred into it. Steven Moffatt - who is married into the Hartswood family - asked me what I was doing there, at which point I just repeated what somebody had said to me earlier in the evening: "I've just had my script green-lit for a pilot, so everyone here is going to hate me."
Somebody mumbled "Confratulations" Moffatt looked down his nose at me, then dragged the other writers away to continue their conversation, and I was on my own again, wanting to die.
I should add that I met Steven Moffat again at the wrap party for said sitcom, and he was funny and charming, and I liked him very much.
Later in the evening at that same drinks party, I got chatting to somebody else that I'd been introduced to, and we'd been moaning together about the miserable life of the struggling writer.
"Sorry, what did you say your name was, again?" I asked after a while.
He replied: "Stephen Poliakoff."
Something very similar happened to me at the Royal Television Society Awards a couple of years ago, when I asked somebody why he was at the awards, not realising that he was Cbeebies icon Mr Bloom.
Sorry if that's all a bit showbiz. Trust me: in an otherwise beautifully mundane life, I have to hang onto these specks of glitter.