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A PERSONAL VIEW ON THE SALON DE LA MICRO
PARIS, OCTOBER 26TH-29TH 1990

by Richard Karsmakers

- or -
WHY PARISIAN TAXI DRIVERS SHOULD NEVER BE TRUSTED
- or -
HOW TO FEEL GENUINELY UNCOMFORTABLE IN PARIS
- or -
THAT WHAT`S CAUSED BY WORKING ON AN AZERTY KEYBOARD
- or -
SIX DAYS OUT OF A SOFTWARE PROMOTER'S DIARY


------------------ THURSDAY, OCTOBER 25TH 1990 ------------------

11:20

In the 'tax free' zone of Düsseldorf Airport, West Germany, Gate
A71. If all's alright, flight LH1772 to Paris will leave at 12:10
- with me on board. There, I will have to represent Thalion
Software on the Ubisoft foreign label stand at the 1990 Salon de
la Micro.
I already checked in my luggage, which consisted of a convenient
bag with some clothes in it and a totally and utterly
inconvenient suitcase filled with Thalion badges, demo disks,
press releases and other assorted things I'll be needing in
France. A little suitcase is here with me now, as hand luggage.
So far, everything went extremely smoothly except for the fact
that I had to park in the 'short term' parking lot at the airport
since the long term ones were full and didn't show any signs of
getting any emptier. This means that, once I get back at an
estimated time of Monday 23:00 hour, I will have to pay about 300
German marks.
Tough shit, but it still makes me feel a bit unwell.

20:58

In Hotel Alane, 72 Boulevard de Magenta, Paris 10e. A place
that's within a two minutes' walk off Gare de L'Est (Railway
Station East) and a "Quick" restaurant.
I actually had a bite to eat at that very "Quick" a mere couple
of minutes ago - one never guesses the things one has to go
through to eat McDonald-like food (especially when there's no
McDonald anywhere in sight).
At 12:45, the plane was airborne. We had experienced a delay of
about 20 minutes due to 'heavy traffic above Paris'. Yeah, yeah.
The plane, a 737, took about fifty minutes of flying before it
landed in Paris, Charles de Gaulle Airport. Waiting for luggage
to show up was the main slowing down factor, but fairly soon I
could start dragging all my luggage towards the nearest cab
(which was quite a bit far off my gate exit, actually).
Except for a quarter of an hour's traffic queue, the Paris Taxi
went straight for La Villette, which is the name of the town part
of Paris where the 1990 Salon de la Micro was to be held. Once
there, however, the cabdriver turned out A: Not to know the way
quite precisely and B: Not to speak a word of English. As my
French is appalling, it took ages before I actually got dropped
at the Parc de La Villette. After paying 230 Francs cab costs,
seeing the cab drive away and asking a bit of info, I found out
that it was at the wrong side of the Parc.
A bit of rain made it all even more comfortable on my way to the
other side of the Villette, which entailed walking over a rough-
brick road that disabled me from using the wheels under the large
suitcase.
But I got there; The Grande Halle de la Villette. The Ubisoft
stand was easy to be found (it was fairly big, and next to the
Sega stand which was the biggest of all).
There I was met by Cecile (oh my God I forgot her surname), who
was doing a job at decorating the stand with posters and all that
stuff. My contact person and organiser, an extremely cute and
nice looking French girl by the name of Marie-Therese, was
supposed to be arriving soon. In the mean time, I helped
decorating the Thalion stand as well as that of Core Design that
was at the same side.
Boredom, however, soon struck. Marie-Therese arrived at about
six in the evening, and after helping her a bit with various
things I decided to head for the Hotel. There was nothing left to
be done by me. There were no computer systems, yet. I was assured
that they would be there 'first thing in the morning'. The only
other foreign guests that had arrived so far were Howard and
Mungo (yes...Mungo Amyatt-Leir of Paradox game music 'fame') of
Software Business.
Just before I left, I found out that the stand telephone in the
centre bit could handle international phone calls. Hearing the
voice of my loved one at the other end of the line only made me
feel dreary and lonely, however.
So now I am here in Paris. Almost exactly one year after a
slightly divine long weekend with her here. Even the weather is
the same: Lots of clouds with occasional showers.
A 'grande lits' (twin bed) stands here. Useless without her. To
make everything worse, I discovered that it's a lot better than
the one we had then (but that, of course, was in another -
cheaper - hotel).
The window is slightly ajar so that I can hear the rumour of
Paris traffic outside, which has something tranquillising about
it. However, Kreator's "Coma of Souls" CD that is played on my
Sony Discman, hasn't.
I think I'll hit the sack soon. Marie-Therese said that friday-
and saturday night will probably not leave space for lotsa sleep
as Ubi will be organising various things to entertain the guests.
Sleeping a lot tonight may therefore help, I guess. It also gives
me a chance to read a bit in C.S. Lewis' "Cosmic Trilogy" that
I've bought for the sole purpose of entertaining me while being
here.
The show will kick off tomorrow at 10:00, and will take up to
Monday. Let's take a deep breath...

------------------ SATURDAY, OCTOBER 27TH 1990 ------------------

19:08

In Hotel Alane again, after two exceedingly draining days.
Please allow me to tell you about some of the things that have
happened.
On Friday morning, it turned out to be a bitch to find a cab
that would take me from Gare de L'Est to the Salon. There were
queues at the taxi stands and it was raining.
There I was, looking slick in my colbert, tie, and Thalion
badge. In the rain.
But what the hell. The most important thing was that I had told
Marie-Therese I would be at the show at nine, and it was already
past nine before I had actually found a cab.
And, although it couldn't have been more than about a three or
four kilometres' distance off the Gare, the taxi driver didn't
know where it was - of course. He nearly dropped me off at the
wrong end again, but now I was somewhat more alert and had him
drive around the complex.
At 09:45, I had arrived. Ridiculous. My impression of French
(especially Parisian) taxi drivers was getting less and less by
the minute. Why the f.ck can't they speak any languages other
than that darned French? Bloody chauvinists.
The computers that were promised weren't all there. So now I
only had an STE, and no Amiga to show stuff to the journalists
(Commodore France bailed out of a machine lending agreement the
last minute). You, dear reader, may consider this to be a
blessing sent by whatever divine being, but it's WORK for me and
I would have found it a bit better to have one of these machines,
too.
Too bad, actually. But life goes on, and now I just concentrated
on presenting "Wings of Death" and (though a lot less)
"Dragonflight".
The day was slightly boring, though at times very rewarding. A
couple of magazine reporters came to us and I did the standard
software promotion on "A Prehistoric Tale" and "Enchanted Land"
before letting them go away with a press release, a deafening
feeling of our incredibility and some hot news about new Thalion
merchandising involving a CD that's being made with Jochen
Hippel.
I was thoroughly surprised by the amount of people that just
came to our stand to say "Thank you for Dragonflight" and such.
It made me feel really warm and proud inside. Also, lots of
people visited the stand that were coming to the ST NEWS
International Christmas Coding Convention. ST Connection, for
example. The Replicants (the fastest, best and biggest software
pirates of the entire ST world) also visited me, just to tell
that they hadn't cracked our most recent release "Wings of Death"
because it was 'so bloody good'. The protection was shit, though,
and they told me they really had troubles refraining themselves
from cracking it because of that. Someone else, called Empire
(MOTHER FUCKER!!) had cracked the game, however. I felt even more
proud and warm inside when one of the Replicants told me that
another Replicant had placed a fist in Empire's face because of
the "Wings of Death" crack.
Gosh.
All the other people at the Ubisoft stand for their foreign
labels had now also arrived. Next to me was Richard Barclay of
Core Design, demonstrating a new game called "Torvak the Warrior"
and one called "Carve-Up" (or something like that). A very nice
chap, actually, even though he told me he hadn't actually done
anything on either of the "Rick Dangerous" programs. He did tell
me that they were probably doing "Rick Dangerous III" soon...
We both spent a part of the day admiring an incredibly beautiful
French woman that appeared to be working in the "Videoshop" stand
diagonally opposite us. My God. That was definitely the most
beautiful French woman I have ever seen.
Anyway.
Some other people at the stand were Mungo and Howard (see
yesterday), some French Lucasfilm guys, Eduardo and Pablo of the
Spanish company Dinamic, Adrian & Mark Cale of System 3 (really
entertaining people!), Jonathan Kemp of Electronic Zoo (which is
called this only because people remember it, and for no other
reason than that), some Anco people (who I never actually got to
meet - in spite of the fact that they were female), Darren and
Cathy (the notorious Mirrorsoft promoters), someone of Millenium
(an awfully nice chap whose name I never got to know), and two
people of Magic Bytes (Sandra and someone whose name I forgot).
The latter is actually competition of Thalion, but at shows like
this everybody seems to forget that.
The show was over at 19:00, and about half an hour later I
retreated back to the hotel.
Finding a cab to the Pub St. Germain de Pres, a place near Notre
Dame where we could go to from 21:00 hours on, was a bit
difficult, too. Hellishly difficult, actually. But I did find one
and I did get there.
In spite of the fact that I arrived a bit too late, I was one of
the first there. Bearing witness to their notorious name, Darren
and Cathy were already there drinking various alcoholic
beverages. A good thing, because they were actually the ones I
knew best from all people present (I met Darren during the ST
NEWS
England Quest more than a year ago, and Darren and Cathy
were also present at the 1989 Amiga Show in Cologne that I was at
with Thalion).
At about half past ten, everybody had now arrived and our bit of
the pub was very crowded, we all headed for taxis again on the
move to a cabaret called "La Belle Epoque" somewhere else in
Paris.
At 22:45 we got admitted there. We must have been about 25
people (that's most foreign people as well as many French of the
Ubisoft 'home label' stand).
At "La Belle Epoque", we got offered a dinner with cabaret. The
dinner was probably frightfully expensive and therefore supplied
in extremely meagre quantities. It tasted OK, though.
The cabaret was very entertaining. A black entertainer, who had
tried to find out some things about the people present before,
now sang and cracked jokes. It is impossible to bring over the
feeling of that in writing, but it was just very funny and (as I
said before) entertaining. Soon, we were all singing together,
waving, and doing all kinds of things we would normally never
have done. This guy was very capable. Apart from the fact that he
was very witty, he also spoke French, Italian, Spanish, English,
German and (I believe) a bit of Chinese. Incredible.
Apart from this bit of entertainment, there was also quite a bit
going on on the stage. At times, the entertainer would take a
rest and the stage would be occupied by seven nice girls dancing,
or a whip-and pistol-act, a puppet act, and a magician act. The
girls were best (and not only because they happened to be topless
most of the time), and the puppet act was OK too. The whip-and
pistol act was pathetic, however. Some kind of macho dude played
a bit with ropes, whip-split a cigarette at a distance, and shot
a rose out of a girl's hand (he missed the first time...). Trash.
The magician was even worse. He was very bad at concealing the
hand that one was supposed not to look at, and the lighting
failed to conceal a fair bit of ropes and threads hanging
everywhere.
In general, however, the cabaret was OK.
The best bit of the evening, however, was the bit where one of
the chorus girls took one of us on stage: Pablo of Dinamic. She
probably picked him because he looks very macho and (although I
do not pretend to be a star a judging this) good looking.
She took off his tie, and then disappeared with him behind a
large white sheet obstructing view. Soon, we all knew what it was
all about: On our side of the sheet, we got a projection of Pablo
sitting on a stool, obviously made by a camera hanging slightly
above and before him. He was sitting there, not knowing what
would happen, and didn't know we could see him.
Then the girl came in, starting to undress him at the top. We
all saw this and he didn't know shit. A broad grin came on his
face when the girl signalled him to undress her now. Pablo did
this very well, although she kept on running to and fro like a
damsel in distress when he was trying to undo her bra. This was
hilariously funny, and everybody in the cabaret hall (except for
Pablo) was laughing their heads off.
At last they appeared in front of the sheet again. She took off
the last piece of underwear she was wearing and stuffed it into
his pocket (don't worry...she had another piece of underwear
under it).
Pablo, his face red with embarrassment, was escorted back to his
chair. Eduardo immediately started talking in Spanish, laughing
his head off, and mimicking Pablo like he did when trying to take
off that bra.
The end of the diner was now there. Another member of the
audience was called on the stage, an Austrian. He was to be taken
to a guillotine (a fake one, lucky for him). Reason enough for
more laughter.
After the cabaret, most people vanished but almost all Ubisoft
people stayed. We chatted about various things (though mostly
about 'the biz', which tends to happen when you're around
software marketing and promotion people). Jonathan Kemp tried to
go to the loo 'through that door', which turned out to be the
kitchen. This turned out to give an unsuspected turn to the
conversation to less software-related topics (mostly involving
sex and/or sexual organs).
Yes, software people are also human. Nice thought.
It was almost half past two at night when I decided that, since
I had to get up early next day (the show would start at 09:00
starting on Saturday), I had better go and find a cab again.
And then I did something that doesn't only prove that software
people are human, but that they can also be extremely stupid.
A taxi stopped and I stepped in. He told me I would not have to
pay, but instead I would have to buy him a drink in a bar. That
was all.
Being Dutch, I thought "nice, this will cost less" and we were
on our way. I would buy the guy in a drink in a bar, wait until
he was finished, and then head for the hotel.
The fact that he started to say that it was a "correct bar",
"without professional girls" and "without entrance fee" made the
first doubts raise in my tired brain coils. Why would he mention
this if the bar was really legitimate? These doubts raised to
adrenaline-provoking heights when he said it was "normal to buy
one of the girls a drink there".
Holy shit.
How could I talk myself out of this? Since I wasn't the kind of
heroic type to jump out of driving cabs, and since his English
and my French didn't suffice for some discussing, I decided to
wait what would happen and then act.
Was it some kind of bar where frustrated girls were in search
for a man? That's what I thought, but a nagging feeling was
already convincing me that this wasn't going to be it.
Well.
In a somewhat dark alley near the Arc de Triomph the bar was
located. "Club 16" it was called. I tried to convince the cab
driver that "I had discovered not to have lotsa time" and all
that stuff, but he told me that it was to be no problem and that
"things wouldn't take long". Since a couple of thugs happened to
be standing nearby, partly concealed in the darkness of the
alley, I decided not to run or something like that.
We went in.
I have been told that prostitutes can look like any other girl,
but I can assure you that they don't. They have this kind of air
about them that, excuse my language, makes dicks remain very soft
(at least mine).
I looked around, seeing business men sitting in deep sofas. Most
of them were accompanied by girls that looked distinctly tarty.
The bar was, except for us, populated by two girls. The lights
were dim (though not red or anything), and a thick cloud of smoke
hung throughout the place.
"I will pay our drinks," the cab driver now said, "and you pay
one of the girls a drink like I told you."
How the f.ck was I going to talk my way out of this shit?
So we got a Coke (the bubbly brown stuff) and a beer (Heineken).
I bought a drink for the girl sitting to my left. She had very
light blond hair, as short as that of Eurythmics' Annie Lennox.
She wasn't particularly ugly and she had a very sweet voice.
I drained my Coke, trying to think of something.
"Are you from Holland? Amsterdam is a nice town." That was what
the girl said. Her English was very limited. Actually, the only
other thing she said was "You can use a girl here for a bottle of
champagne."
Not professional, eh?
I cursed at my own stupidity and my lack of French. That blasted
cab driver! Where was he, by the way?
He was gone. The mother f.cker.
I explained the girl I wasn't interested, because I had to get
up early next day and I really wasn't in the mood. I hastened to
add that it wasn't because of her. No, she looked nice and all
that stuff. I didn't mention the fact that I actually have a
girlfriend, because I knew that the things she would then say
would cause me to kick her ass - which would most likely get me
into some deep problems involving my physical health.
Carefully, I asked for the bill. I anticipated at least a 100
francs or something. My surprise was therefore enormous when I
read 490 francs on the small piece of paper. That's about 150
Dutch guilders!
Now I really realised I was in deep shit. Very deep. It may
not have been shit of the deepest conceivable kind, but it would
have been damn hard to conceive anything deeper than this. Like
hell was I going to pay this, but how was I going to explain that
I was lured into this by a crooked taxi driver? How was I going
to explain that the taxi driver was supposed to pay for two of
the three drinks? The taxi driver was probably paid for this
'fish' already, and on their side too.
A sturdy looking bouncer loomed up behind me shortly after I
told the bartender I couldn't possible pay this much money. I
stuffed one 100 franc note in my pocket, careful not to have this
seen by anyone.
The bouncer, who had some rings on his fingers that would no
doubt leave eternal scars on my face if he wanted, thought long.
The fact that his English wasn't much didn't help the matter.
"How much money do you have?" he muttered.
"About 100 or 200 francs, I guess" I replied, getting to feel
slightly scared. I tried to wake up. This must be a bad dream or
something. This doesn't happen in real life. This only happens in
movies.
And this only happens to extremely stupid persons.
I noticed I couldn't wake up, and looked at the bouncer's rings.
"Show me," he said with a kind of threatening voice.
I showed him my wallet. It turned out to contain 300 francs and
6 pound Sterling. I had to give 'em all.
That was still well over 110 Dutch guilders. A tough lesson -
and an expensive one!
I was now allowed to leave the premises, and I even forgot to
take the bill with me (which would have been an expensive
souvenir, but a souvenir nonetheless).
Back on the main road again, I took another cab. This time, the
guy looked definitely more trustworthy and he indeed brought me
to my hotel without any unnecessary diversions to places of ill
repute. Good thing I had that 100 franc note still, so I could at
least pay him!
The hotel, of course, was closed. It was four in the morning,
and I had to ring to get in (which made me feel guilty because of
that poor man that had to get up for me).
I didn't sleep well.

At eight I woke up spontaneously, so I decided I'd better be
heading for the show again. It was weekend now, and finding a
taxi was now much easier so that I arrived at the Salon at a
quarter to nine. Today, I knew, was going to be a lot busier -
and so would tomorrow. I had therefore left my tie in the hotel
and was somewhat more casually dressed.
Today, lots of people came to me with games that they had
written themselves, for potential marketing by Thalion. Even
though many of these looked like souped-up demos, I still think
eventually Thalion will be marketing some of them.
Even more freaks visited me. Overlanders, DMA, Replicants, ST
Connection (again), French Alliance, NEXT and lots of other
groups whose names I unfortunately forgot. Most of them will be
coming to the ST NEWS International Christmas Coding Convention
(except for the Replicants of course, who are active crackers and
thus not allowed in), by the way.
Most of the time I could not refrain myself from yawning. I left
at half past six. I had had enough. I couldn't stand upright any
more.
For tonight, Ubi has arranged dinner in a restaurant called "La
Colombe". God knows where that is. Let's hope that, if God
doesn't know, at least the cab driver does.

------------------- SUNDAY, OCTOBER 28TH 1990 -------------------

01:40

Tonight hasn't exactly been perfect, either.
"Yeah, of course I know where La Colombe is," the cabbie said
(in French). He drove me to the other side of the Seine, looking
over a beautiful Notre Dame bathing in the yellow beams of many
spotlights.
"It's just around the corner of that hotel," he said when he
halted there. I was completely happy. Finally I had been brought
directly to a destination where I wanted to be - without any
detours. I gave him a nice tip.
Rue Colombe, that's where the restaurant was.
But where the hell was Rue Colombe?
I already cursed the cabbie again when I found out that it was
at the other side of the Seine, on the island of the Notre Dame
('somewhere').
It was 20:15 when the cab dropped me off, and barely at 21:00
had I found the restaurant (due to two helpful German tourists
with a map). I had never thought I would ever bless Germans, but
I did.
It took about another hour before finally all people who said
they'd come were actually there. Then we started to have an
excellent meal, that was also quite a lot more plentiful. Adrian
Cale and Howard cracked the dirtiest jokes I've ever heard, and I
wish I would have written them down immediately for now I have
forgotten them (whereas they were brilliant).
Dinner was in us at about one, and then started the 'not exactly
perfect' part of the night. Some of the others would be going to
a club to dance, but as I dreaded the thought of once again
having to find a taxi early in the morning, I decided to pass.
It was raining (of course). The people at the restaurant told me
that I was likely to find a cab at the bridge, which was at 60
feet walking.
No problem. I saw many cabs, but they were either filled with
people already, or an omnipotent sign of a cabbie's hand told me
that they were off duty (or that they just hated people who
needed a cab).
Well, I was likely to find a cab somewhere along the line,
wasn't I? I knew approximately in which direction to walk, and
so I simply followed the traffic signs to "Gare de L'Est".
Many cabs came past, and they were all filled or off duty.
"Why me?" I wondered often.
As it was raining, my soles (leather ones) were getting soaked
through, and getting extremely slippery. Since the Parisian
pavements are covered with a peculiar kind of road covering (no
tiles or something), the entire way was just like walking on ice
- just not quite slippery enough to skate all the time.
It started to rain down a bit heavier. It grew continually more
slippery (yet never quite slippery enough to allow me to skate
comfortably). My feet were soaked. I was soaked.
I was getting pretty pissed off, too.
I had no clue at the distance between the Notre Dame and Gare de
L'Est, so it's easy to imagine me: Cursing and muttering through
the rain, almost dropping flat on my face dozens of times.
Actually, due to 'past experiences', I was continually afraid to
be mugged, robbed, or raped by a rampant prostitute, too.
I had the feeling I was walking for hours when I suddenly saw a
Railway station loom up before me. As I thought I had been
walking north all the time, I was feeling very wretched. This was
probably Gare du Nord or something.
Yet it turned out to be L'Est. I felt happy in a strangely
intense way as I walked into the hotel that turned out to be
nearer than I had so far expected. Lucky enough, the hotel
manager had not yet gone to sleep, so I didn't even need to wake
up anyone.
So I just came in.
What a crap town Paris is when being on your own or when being
there at night. I will never go out in Paris at night again!
But now I really need some sleep.

21:42

Back in the hotel, after a day that's made me very tired again.
Today, however, was entirely nice and didn't have any nasty
surprises up its sleeve. I am now just genuinely tired, and I am
glad that I'm not expected to go somewhere this evening. I heard
that some of the more fanatic ones will be going to some kind of
club to dance again, but I just told 'em to count me out.
At 09:15, I showed up at the show. Many people visited the stand
again, of which a remarkable lot had finished (or almost
finished) games to show. All the freaks I met yesterday came by
again, too.
Unfortunately, during a non-attended moment, the data disk of
"Wings of Death" got nicked. This was kinda shit because of two
reasons: A: Ubisoft had plenty of Amiga copies of "Wings of
Death" but none ST - and I only had an ST, and B: It was my
private copy that I had brought from Germany!
I told a couple of the freaks, and soon many other freaks came
along. They were all angry and surprised that "someone would
steal a Thalion disk". The 'news' had gone 'round like a walking
fire. My God. Incredible. There was this warm feeling of pride
again. Apparently, it was OK to steal a Sytem 3 disk or
something, but stealing a Thalion disk was definitely out of the
question even to the hacker's point of view.
Someone even gave me his copy of "Wings of Death" so that I
could continue demonstrating it. Amazing. So the French aren't
that bad after all - as long as they use computers instead of
taxis!
The Overlanders visited me at the end of the show again, and
after a little party with champagne that the Ubisoft people threw
at 19:00, I left for a nearby "Quick" restaurant for a bite to
eat with this wholly remarkable French coding group (eight
members were there, as the ninth was in hospital).
This meal with the Overlanders was actually very cosy. Dogue de
Mauve (this means 'Purple Mastiff' I discovered) looks a bit like
Frøystein the Nutty Norwegian, and that made me feel as if I
already knew him for a very long time (whereas I didn't).
We chatted a lot, especially about ST affairs and the upcoming
ST NEWS International Christmas Coding Convention. I had heard
lots of bad things about the Overlanders but if you ask me all of
this is a lie. They are very nice people (thanks for the Coke at
the show, Dogue!). I am looking forward to seeing them again at
the Convention.
After this junkfood meal, we all took the subway. They had to go
in the same direction as me, so they shared my ride. I really
felt sorry when we had to say goodbye at Gare de L'Est, as they
shan't be coming any more tomorrow.
But one can't have everything, can one?

------------------- MONDAY, OCTOBER 29TH 1990 -------------------

18:10

Extremely tired again, and located in Satellite 6's boarding
zone at Charles de Gaulle Airport, waiting for the 20:45 flight
back to Düsseldorf. I am a bit too early here, I know, and I
already heard that the flight will be 'somewhat delayed'. At
least I now have the chance to read a bit more of the "Cosmic
Trilogy".
It has been raining all day, and maybe that was one of the
reasons why the show was a lot quieter today. All the freaks had
gone, too. A total power failure of the entire city part La
Villette stirred up things a bit this morning, but that was
alleviated after less than half an hour.
Looking back upon the last couple of days, I think it's fair to
assume that they were 'interesting', whereas I have, let's say,
'learned' a lot.
Now there's only the parking bill to look forward to.

------------------ THURSDAY, OCTOBER 30TH 1990 -----------------

01:15

In my room in Gütersloh, West Germany. The flight had half an
hour's delay or something like that, but the main delay resulted
from my car.
As I was proud of stating in ST NEWS Volume 5 Issue 1, I own a
silver-metallic Peugeot 205 GTI 1.9. A very nice car, presuming
that it actually gets moving in the first place.
It tends to have starting problems, and I can do whatever I want
(including having it repaired dozens of times): It will continue
having these fits at the most unlikely (and, indeed, unwanted)
moments.
Thus happened tonight.
The thing just wouldn't start. It was about 22:45.
I waited. Started again. Nothing.
I waited. Started again. Nothing.
I started a lot of times, thus nearly draining the battery.
I decided to ask the parking lot attendant to phone the ADAC
(the German equivalent of the Dutch ANWB or the English AA). He
directed me to a phone booth.
I checked the telephone book. The pages in Düsseldorf with AD..
were torn out.
I asked the number at the parking attendant's. He gave it to me.
I walked back to the telephone booth, after trying my car again.
It still wouldn't work, and neither did the phone booth.
Was there some kind of conspiracy against me, ordered by powers
from above or something?
It was almost midnight and I had already given up hope. This was
going to be a night in my car, and the parking bill would be even
higher tomorrow morning - if I would get my car to move at all.
Then I got the simple idea to have two people who happened to
walk by push the car a bit.
It suddenly worked. Vrooomm it went.
It felt as if a load weighing as much as a ton of bricks fell of
my shoulders. I nearly cried with positive emotions, will you
believe that?
The parking bill turned out to be 100 German marks - they never
seem to charge more.
So that was at least a bit of luck for me. Further, there were
no mysterious traffic queues or special transports so that I
could head for home as quickly as possible without any further
delays.

Editorial note: This is the end of the story, but not the end of
the author nor the problems he has with his car! Please assist
him in the begetting of another means of transportation (as well
as for compensating the costs of certain lessons in life he's
had) and send miscellaneous donations to giro account number
5060326 of Richard Karsmakers, Utrecht, Holland. Cash is also
welcome at the correspondence address, specified to his name. I
would like to thank you on behalf of him.

Disclaimer
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.