THE FAERYTALE OF PIPER AND THE PIPDADBREW by Richard Karsmakers
We leave the office of Mastertronic, happily cherishing the two
newly acquired T-Shirts - that we will be wearing at our next
visit, which will be to Electronic Arts in Langley, near Slough.
As we leave this first company to be visited on our Quest
behind, we again find ourselves amazed at the fact that it is
located in such a rather un-business-like environment.
Sitting in the local "Wimpy" in Oxford Street, London, eating
burgers and chips and drinking ample supplies of Coke (the liquid,
brown, bubbly variation) and Milkshakes.
After getting back to Notting Hill Gate tube station, we decided
it might not be so bad an idea to walk a bit down Oxford Street.
To achieve this goal, we took the Central Line and got out at
In local shops, we acquired about twenty picture postcards to
send to all the people back in Holland that we considered worth
receiving this honour. The rucksacks continued to be an ultimate
menace to us, and at times we simply felt that we could not make
it any longer. Yet our stamina prevailed and eventually we
succeeded in locating this place, where we were able to dump our
luggage and find a bite to eat and a drop to drink.
Outside, it is terribly hot and damp. Traffic causes all this to
be even worse because of all the exhaust gasses.
We're sitting on a small square, I guess to the North of Covent
Garden Piazza. We're to meet Piper (co-conspirator of ST NEWS,
fervent hater of sexist games and utility reviewing specialist)
at Covent Garden tube station at a quarter past five and we had
quite some time to kill - considering that we're already sitting
here for about half an hour as well.
Covent Garden surely is a busy place. Apart from two winos that
seem to lie asleep on a couple of benches opposite us, everybody
seems to be moving and generally having a good time.
The sun is still shining, but as we have dumped our luggage
again and as we aren't moving much, either, we can just about
stand it. We have just devoured some Frozen Yoghurt, something
which isn't for sale at all in Holland but which is rather nice.
We mainly kill time here by reading something in Stephen
Donaldson books we took along with us, and by looking at the
pigeons with awe. There are some specimens walking around with
oily heads that look really too filthy to be able to fly at all.
Yet, some way or another, they manage to do so anyway.
In the piazza, all kinds of people are performing - varying from
someone trying to imitate Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal"
choreographics to some guys playing soccer with a tiny ball
without allowing it to hit the ground.
Finally, after waiting for about ten minutes (six of those due
to our fault, as we were early), we are met by Piper who just
came from college.
We have just arrived at where Piper lives: At his parents' in a
nice semi-detached house in Blackheath, twenty minutes south of
London by BR train (to Kidbrooke Station). So we were able to
leave the havoc of London for a while and now sit back leisurely
after a day of carrying far too heavy rucksacks.
After buying some stamps that would allow us to actually SEND
the bloomin' postcards we bought in Oxford Street, we went to
Charing Cross Railway Station where we took an awfully crowded
train to Kidbrooke.
It was one of those trains with many small compartments in which
only eight people can sit. Yet, some way or another, about
fourteen people got stacked in it, and it became so hot that the
sweat gushed down our bodies like cataracts of sheer tiredness.
They've got a nice long garden here, by the way, with flowers
and all, and I feel immediately relieved. Some orange juice is
being poured down our throats.
Stefan starts exploring the inner depths of the garden, and soon
finds out that there is a real pond - including water. He walks
awkwardly, gently rubbing his shoulders at times as if
remembering the pressure of more than just a rucksack only too
Ouch. My shoulders surely ache, too.
It was like the last steps before death in a killer desert.
Pain, mainly pain was all over my body. Especially my shoulders
were being pierced by the straps of my pack. It hung onto me like
a drowning man would hold on to his saviour; it nearly tugged me
to the ground. Step by step I struggled, fighting to get along.
Then there was the sun. Savage it was, hurtling waves of dense,
thick heat at me that made me feel sticky all over. Subway dirt
made my sight blurry and I was nearly run over by a car that came
out of the haze at quite astounding speed.
Then we arrived at Piper's house - a bit more than a quarter of
an hour's walk from Kidbrooke Railway Station, during which each
more bend seemed to leap at us as from a nightmare. He opened the
door and I stumbled in, letting the cool air embrace me. I stood
in the hallway until somebody relieved me from my pack. Then I
dropped in the nearest chair and drank a glass of orange juice in
one gulp, letting the cold fluid expel some of the dust from my
After looking around the house a little and meeting Piper's
parents, I took a long shower until all the dirt was gone and I
felt like I was alive again. Piper treated us to some nice food
with real spare ribs that were immensely good.
We're watching "Airplane II" (also known as "Flying High II") on
BBC television, as we sit comfortably back in the chairs and
relax. Earlier this evening, we were able to see the concluding
episode of the "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" TV series,
which was altogether quite funny but not quite NEAR the end of
the fourth book.
Which was a bit of a shame.
Violent fits of hardcore laughter shudder through those present
here as the gags and absurd humour of the movie penetrate our
consciousness. We almost seem to forget that tomorrow the whole
God damn Public Traffic will be on strike again - a day on which
we will need to improvise quite a lot in order to assure visits
to Electronic Arts (in Langley, near Slough) and The Lost Boys of
London (which live in Teddington).
I must say I feel kinda bothered by all this, as we wouldn't
want want to miss either of these planned visits.
Piper's dad has sought to silence us by means of a custom-made
drink I'd like to refer to as 'Pipdadbrew'. It contains Wodka,
Rum, Peech Schnaps and Orange/Lemon, and it tastes simply great.
We just came up with the idea of striking. Why not start a
strike and bring out an issue filled solely with spaced documents
- especially made for (and maybe even utterly DEDICATED to) the
British Rail and Tube employees?
We are becoming a slightly teenie weenie bittie tipsy here. This
brew is surely getting to our heads faster than we would have
imagined possible. Maybe, this is also caused by the fact that
we're slightly bodymurderingly tired. I think it would be a good
move to hit the sack.
Wednesday, July 5th 1989
We are awake. Piper is fetching us a nice cup of English tea as
we get by from the Pipdadbrew and still feel violent throbs
smashing through our shoulders. Today will be hectic. No doubt.
But we MUST survive, and we SHALL.
Stefan spent the night sleeping on his personal non-inflatible
mattress, and I slept extremely well on an expandable chair annex
I think I can safely assume that I slept a whole lot better than
that last and very nervous night in Holland.
Sipping some wholly English tea, I am still in the process of
waking up. My shoulders aren't that bad, my head feels slightly
heavy but I feel up to the things England is about to throw at us
England has the filthiest stamps to lick.... It is much harder a
job than I imagined to put the stamps on the postcards!
Various sounds are reaching us from the kitchen TV, where a
constant newsflash (yes, British TV between seven and nine is
mainly made up of news flashes) brings the Public Traffic Strike
to everybody's attention.
We're now proudly wearing the "Well 'Ard" Mastertronic T-Shirts.
If anybody mentions the word 'strike' to me again I will
disembowel him with by left fingernail, just like Cronos Warchild
does with his enemies' heads. AAAAHHHHH!
Piper is momentarily away, trying to get to lend the car of a
friend of his, thus allowing us to be brought to a nearby Coach
Station. The coaches, or Green Buses, are not on strike and are
thus the only means of Public Traffic in England at the moment.
The nearest coach stop is Lewisham, but it's far beyond walking
distance - especially with those murderous rucksacks!
It's amazing what you'll do to get rid of some people! I've
just gone out and delivered fifty loaves of bread so that I can
borrow a car to give Stefan and Richard a lift to somewhere where
they can GO AWAY and maybe leave me with something to drink,
since they've already nearly cleaned out the drinks cabinet. In
return for all this hassle, Richard has just given me an empty
Z88 box. Thanks Richard, I'm touched (you're ever so welcome,
We just entered the Green Bus. We entered in Lewisham and we
have to go to Victoria Station. Because of the strike, the fares
have gone up and we had to £3 for a single ticket!! This is
ridiculous! Those Green Bus drivers are but a bunch of
Our parting with Piper was accompanied by the usual emotions,
also because he had found out a perfect way to adapt our power
sockets to the English mains plugs.
We are now sitting in a bus that is going to take us to Slough,
so we can visit Electronic Arts. It leaves in about 5 minutes and
we were immensely lucky to get it for there are only four buses
going a day. By the way: This one only costed £2.
Also, we were utterly lucky to catch the bus that took us here
in the first pace for it only stopped at bus stops where people
had to get out. So we were lucky SOMEONE actually had to get out
at Lewisham. In spite of the strike, we now seem to be lucky for
This bus terminal (Victoria Coach Station) is undescribably
crowded. There are hundreds of people loaded with bags and stuff,
waiting for the various buses to arrive. Since the coaches are
about the only means of public transportation today, everybody
must have come to this place as a last resort.
As I write this, our bus is trying to pull out but there are
people with trolleys all over the road. It looks like there is
some kind of crisis going on and people are fleeing from London.
One could easily mistake this for a war-like situation with the
enemy due to bomb London in half an hour.
The only thing we miss is the sound of the air alarm sirens
wailing through the thick, hot summer skies.
A frantic man pounds on the window next to the driver.
"Whe' a ya goin'?", he asks.
"To Windsor, mate", the drivers responds.
The man shakes his head, lifts his enormous trunk and heads for
the inquiry office to join a very, VERY long queue.
Richard is complaining about the fact that he is thirsty.
Sometimes he is just a little boy who can't get what he wants -
and in such a case he will start yearning. All Soft Drink
machines at the Coach Station seemed to refuse our coins - or
maybe they were simply defect (or on strike).
On our way... We just passed one of those roofed markets that
could have been directly ported over from "My Fair Lady". London
traffic is quite quiet - obviously, everyone is either already
at work or simply enjoying a leisure day off. We are supposed to
arrive at Slough at approximately noon.
We just entered the county of Berkshire. Electronic Arts is now
not far away!!
We arrived at 12:10 at Slough coach station and headed for the
nearest payphone. Lesley Mansford, our contact at Electronic
Arts, had instructed us to call her when we would arrive at
Slough, so that she would be able to fetch us and transport us to
Electronic Arts' Langley offices.
Alas! Phone dead.
After asking around we found another phone but it turned out to
be occupied by two of the ugliest people we had seen in a long
time. They even had a kid - whereas most little kids look kinda
cute, this one was even more ugly. People like that should be
forbidden to multiply themselves, only to get rid of some of
these revolting persons on this earth.
Anyway, they have been occupying the damn phonebooth for 20
minutes now and we are getting impatient. We already swore aloud
in Dutch, but they didn't seem to get the message.
Richard is now looking for another phone and I am here getting
rid of some anger (which is quite clearly obvious).
I found another phone. I called Lesley. She'll come and get us.
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.