by Tom Zunder
Tom Zunder used to be the editor of the disk magazine
"Interleave". He did two issues only - a third one never
happened. Or did it? Read on...
Welcome to "Interleavings", the article brought to you by Tom
Zunder, the man who used to do a diskzine called "Interleave"
which I quite enjoyed but which fell into exactly the same
troubles that STEN and ST NEWS have, namely, no contributions or
feedback of any kind (well...not enough, ED.). Still, never mind.
"Interleavings" will be contributed to both STEN and ST NEWS and
will therefore be disappointing to anyone who reads both. Having
said that, both zines hit different markets, so I would have
thought that it isn't such a bad idea after all. "Interleavings"
may also be uploaded onto BBS, which may in fact be from where
you are reading it now! Anyway, enough introduction and 5 4 3 2
This issue of "Interleavings" will consist of me babbling on
about something and nothing, then a series of reviews of books
and films by myself and other people and will then end with more
babbling. It should at some stage also include a section on "What
is Role Playing?" since I realise that many people who read this
will not have the faintest idea. I would recommend that you print
this article before reading it. I will not mindlessly fill
"Interleavings" with material for it's own sake, so please pass
comment on what you think I should have left out or included..
The Babble Commences
Well here I am, listening to Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
whilst my ST prints out ST NEWS. I find that there is a limit to
the number of articles I can read on screen so I've decided to
get the rest printed out whilst I type this ARTICLE. I'm typing
on a notebook PC, a 386sx from MESH which I've got for a month on
evaluation. It's a lovely little baby and runs Windows well. I
will not be recommending buying it because of the moulding
quality and the annoying fact that the battery compartment
regularly pops open! Bit lousy that. Also the LCD screen doesn't
cut our when you shut the case, which it should really, just to
save power. Nonetheless, a lovely beast and one which, at £950,
shows how hard it is going to be for Commodore, Atari, Acorn and
probably Apple to compete with the PC standard in the 90's. With
the PC mass produced in Taiwan its costs are going to continue to
plummet, with Microsoft now setting some serious sound and
graphics standards it is going to be difficult for the small
production companies to get the price/performance ratio right
enough to carve out niche markets. I mean, who's going to buy an
Atari TT at £2000 when one can get a similar spec 486 for the
same or less? I suspect the answer will be not many, which is a
great shame since the ST, Amiga and Mac are much nicer platforms
than the PC. The power required to drive Windows is terrifying
when you compare it with Gem ticking away happily on a 512k ST.
Of course the real failure is that of Acorn. The ARM chip at the
heart of the Archimedes was one of the first RISC (Reduced
Instruction Set Chip) processors out and a very powerful little
beast too, and yet the Arch is still in the educational ghetto,
despite the fact that at work we emulate a PC running Windows on
the Arch at about the same speed as a 286! That's all in
software, a remarkable feat for a different processor. Anyway
Acorn are shifting some ARMs commercially, as printer driver
chips, logic controllers etc etc. Ironically, the chip in your
printer may end up more powerful than the one in your PC!
Well that's PCs. I think I should stop talking about them
really, since they're are so very dull and waffle on about
something else, since it does seem to be stream of conciousness
which people like from me. As xxxxxx xxxxxxxx once said, it's the
rambling nature of "Between The Sheets" that he likes, not any
sense of direction at all! What's "Between The Sheets"? Well
that's another story, but essentially it's a little bimonthly
fanzine that I've done for years. It's sort of a gamer's zine,
but really it's a way for some ex-University friends and I to
keep in touch and bounce ideas, news and gaming things off each
other in. It used to be a play by mail zine but all the games
sort of petered out, and I'm rarely all that punctual in getting
it out. Some of the articles I put around have been in "BTS", and
this will probably be in there in an edited form in the near
future... I tell you what, I'll put a glossary at the end that'll
help you get around what I'm talking about in this article.
Who am I? Good question. What am I doing in this erudite
computer disk zine? Even better question. I'm Tom Zunder, I'm
British and live in Rotherham, near Sheffield. Rotherham is a
town of about 300,000 people which grew up, as did Sheffield,
around the iron, steel and coal industries. As such it has
suffered quite dramatic decline, but is in many ways a prettier
town than the East of Sheffield, although not as nice as the
West. Like many towns it is dwarfed by its neighbour and many
people do not know of Rotherham or think of it as a suburb of
Sheffield, which it is not. I am 26, have a degree in Economic
and Social History from Sheffield University and was born in
Croydon, South London.
I am married to xxx and we have three kids, two from xxx's
previous marriage. xxx is older than me which explains the age of
the kids. xxxx is 12 and goes to secondary school up the road,
xxxxxxx is 10 and is at the junior school. xxxxxxx is our new
son, and is just over a year old. xxxx likes books, puzzle games
on the computer (she has an Electron), xxxxxxx likes sport and
adventure/arcade games on the computer (he has a Lynx), xxxxxxx
likes egg custard, books and pressing keys on the computer and
listening to it beep! xxx is a sales manager for British Steel,
used to be a teacher and has a degree in Physchology and French.
I am a buyer for a bearings company and also used to work for
I guess I'm rather different to many of the public figures in
the computing and ST worlds, altho' I suspect not. I like heavy
metal but I'm more into R&B, blues and reggae, what a pity xxx
isn't. I like programming a bit, but I can't cope with an XBIOS
any better than a mad Rotweiller with rabies. I think demos look
cute but I can't for the life of me imagine why people keep
writing them when they could be writing games or word processors
or hard disk utilities, for god's sake. I did once write a kid's
adventure game with "Talespin", which people very kindly reviewed
and which a lot of people have bought from me, but to be honest
anyone can write in Talespin since it's so intuitive. I did a
disk magazine called "Interleave" which xxxxxx xxxxxx liked
enough to make licenseware, but then only one copy ever got
bought, so "Interleave" was a bit of a failuire really, and I
didn't write the shell, I used "SANDP20", which is actually a
good way to do a disk zine. I might do issue 3 one day, but I'm
not so very sure. Sigh. Anyhow I'm writing this because Richard
Karsmaker wrote me a very complimentary letter and I couldn't
really refuse now could I? So, here we are, you're stuck with a
contributor who isn't Danish, German, Swedish, Norwegian and
can't write very well in Basic, let alone assembler...
So let's get with it. Enough self introduction and time for
something marginally less interesting instead;
Sam and Dave
Do you remember in "The Blues Brothers" that John Belushi and
Dan Akroyd were listening to a collection of Sam and Dave? Well
ever since then I've been meaning to get around to checking it
out, but when you walk into Woolworths and ask for them all you
get from the attendant is a look of complete bafflement, so off I
went again, feeling like a fool and yet knowing that there'll be
a compilation sitting on a cheapo label somewhere. Indeed there
was. As I popped into Tandy to get my free battery (they give you
a free battery a month if you get a card from them) when I saw
just what I wanted in their cheap CD section. Off I toddled to
continue shopping and whilst stuffing my face at Burger King I
opened the case to discover.... no CD! Damn, I went back and they
were most apologetic. Home I went with the newly discovered audio
recording and slammed it into the slot.
Oh bliss of bliss! Now I know why the Blues Brothers has that
oblique reference to Sam and Dave, nearly everything that Belushi
and Ackroyd play was done by the cheery S&D first. Boy, John and
Dan must have loved their predecessors, because they played the
tracks just like 'em. I've got to say that Sam and Dave still
have the edge over their movie progeny, so if you see this and
like good bluesy music, including much that wasn't in the film,
then GET IT, IT WILL ONLY BE CHEAP!
Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves
Well, I guess you all saw this at the cinema, right? Well I
would have done too, in fact xxxxxxx and I saw 15 minutes. But,
and this is a beauty, he was taking his newly discovered
girlfriend to the movies, and I was chaperone. Girlfriend didn't
like film, too much fighting (actually she was right, given that
she was 9) and so we left. xxxxxxx was great, he behaved like a
little gentleman, didn't complain or get upset and was charming
right up to returning her to her house. So, we then waited for
the video which has just been released in the UK.
I sat back to enjoy this gorgeous film with the truly evil
Sheriff of Nottingham and Mike McSane and all that and... I hated
it. As time went by the historical incongruities grated on me so
much it really spoiled what was, if I were honest, a really good
adventure film. See it if you haven't, mark me down as an idiot
if you have, but I wish it hadn't been set in history but in a
fantasy world, Nottingham a days' walk from the white cliffs of
Not Nico the singer with Velvet Underground, but a Windows
program which I want an ST version for. It's a little cat which
runs around the desktop chasing the mouse which has turned into,
wait for it, a mouse. It's lovely, it falls asleep if the mouse
doesn't move, sometimes it just romps off for the hell of it, it
scratches, it is adorable. Stop writing demos and write me a TSR
for the ST which'll give me my own little pussy cat!
Why doesn't Atari add a PC standard VGA card to the ST and offer
VGA resolution? I mean, they're all made in Taiwan, they could
just walk down the road and buy a few thousand. VGA monitors cost
the same as the ST one, does anyone know if it couldn't be easily
done? It's all a 16 bit bus after all... Could have some sensible
graphics then, mutter, mutter.
Anyway that's enough of that and he we go on some crunchier
The Book, by Grant Naylor
Review by Tom Zunder
Okay so I guess you've all read this, the book of the smash hit
comedy series of the same name? Well, some of you may not,
especially in furthest Iceland, so here goes. "Red Dwarf" was a
British TV series based around the adventures, largely comic
spoofs of SF, of the crew of the ship "Red Dwarf". The "crew" so
to speak actually consisted of Lister, a scouse slob who
miraculously survived the demise of the whole ship whilst in
suspended animation, Rimmer, the hologram of Arnold Rimmer who
died with the rest of the crew millions of years before, Cat, a
being descended from the ship cats with a remarkable sense of its
own vanity and passing resemblance to a very dapper human, and
Kryten, a robot whose only function in life is to serve, and
serve, and serve and make cucumber sandwiches.
The series was absolutely brilliant, hysterically funny and sent
up most SF cliches in a raucous and riotous manner as far from
Douglas Adams as possible. A second series was produced and I
live in hope for the third. Thus it was with some dread that I
received the book on Christmas Day. Oh no! The book of the
incredibly funny TV series, it'll be crap.
I am pleased to say that it is in fact funnier, with at least
two thirds of the book bearing little relationship to the series,
thus allowing Grant Naylor, the author, full license to make us
laugh. Boy did I laugh, one part which details Rimmer's pathetic
attempts to cram three months exam revision into ten minutes had
me rolling on the floor in hysterics whilst xxx fervently wished
she hadn't bought me the book after all. The book is a corker and
if you want to have a good science fiction laugh without needing
to really like SF or either Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett,
then this is a good place to start. Watch out for the hysterics
(PS: One gorgeous fact, the author Grant Naylor is in fact two
Discworld 9, by Terry Pratchett
Review by Tom Zunder
This is (I think) Discworld Book 9. For those of you in Kiev
Terry Pratchett has been writing books about Discworld, a disc
shaped world upon the back of a great turtle for some little
while. Humorous in a Buster Keaton/Monty Python/Conan way they
have brought tears of merriment to my eyes on many an occasion.
He usually writes one a year and it is with some happiness that I
greet the latest book.
I will have to say that Terry Pratchett must be due for a
backlash by now, and it is true that his books follow similar
formulas, but it would be true to say that most comedy does, all
jokes are closely related to a large family of jokes. I still
enjoy the Discworld books immensely, and I can recommend them to
anyone. Yup, anyone, fantasy fan or not. If you do start, start
at the beginning, with "The Colour of Magic". If you already know
the books, read on..
Moving Pictures is set around the plotline of cinema coming to
Discworld, through unseen forces in the Dungeon Dimensions
planting ideas and aspirations into people's heads. Firstly the
alchemists are nudged to invent the technology, then people are
drawn to "Holy Wood", site of a decadent city torn down and
drowned eons ago, where they build a shanty town of star struck
would-be actors, directors etc.
Into this very wittily constructed comic tribute to films and
its vanity, we find an apprentice wizard who never wants to pass
the exams, a starstruck actress and a wonder dog who doesn't look
the part. Death makes a minimal cameo appearance and the
Librarian is in a supporting role, but the star of the piece is
Cut My Own Throat Dibbler, the sausage purveyor who turns movie
mogul. A very enjoyable read, not as hysterical as "Red Dwarf",
but a goodie for all us Discworld fans.
The Number of the Beast
By Robert Heinlein
Review by Tom Zunder
Before I went on holiday last year I went out to buy some
reading matter. I bought two remaindered books and two full price
ones. The most expensive book I bought was this one, because it
was big and the premise of the tale looked quite appealing,
travelling in six dimensional space to a multitude of parallel
worlds where things were subtly different. For example, the blurb
said, a world where the letter "J" doesn't exist.
"Okay", I thought, "I'll go for that..."
I cannot say how crap this book is, there are not words in the
English language crude and violent enough to give my full anger
at a rambling pile of words obviously knocked off a word-
processor with more concern to word count than anything remotely
close to a good read. The plot is non existent, the main focus of
interest is a schoolboyish fascination with sex (i.e. not even
interesting) and pages upon pages of vapid dialogue between
characters obsessed with 1930's pulp novels.
Do not buy this book, I have only read half of it and this is
the first book in years where I have not managed to find the
smallest morsel that would justify finishing it. If anyone would
like a door stop, apply at the usual address...
By William Gibson
Review by Tom Zunder
Many of you may have already read this book, but I got it for
the first time this holiday and was very relieved to read it
after I had been so sadly browbeaten by the above disaster by
Heinlein. Gibson, the graffiti artist of cyberpunk, has presented
in "Count Zero" a story of three threads, one of Count Zero, a
naif "hotdogger" who ran the net with some software he didn't
understand, a mercenary attempting to "extract" an employee who
wishes to leave his company and a fashionable ex art gallery
director in Paris hired to discover the artist behind some
All develops and twists as the plots move closer to each other,
with the ending in many ways as obscure and potentially mystical
as the opening of the book. It is the travelling to this end that
I particularly enjoyed, the view of the near future presented in
this book is wonderful in that it is so obviously today but
developed and accelerated by the technology that we already have.
This familiarity is what makes cyberpunk so exciting to me, at
last someone has written science fiction which realises just how
close and realisable the future is...
A Film by Martin Scorcese (is that spelt right?)
Review by Tom Zunder
This film is one of the rush of Mafia inspired films which
flooded out of Hollywood last year. Unlike "The Freshman" which I
thought was a worthless piece of junk, this film is excellent.
Violent and uncompromising, it assaults your mind with the life
of a "wiseguy", a mobster and the life he lived until he realised
that he was next on the hit list and entered the Witness
Protection Program. Played by Robert de Nero, the character is
wonderful in his essential humanity, revealing the slim divide
between civilized values and reality.
The hero of the film is unrepentant, his greatest regret is that
he no longer can live the life. The life that he regrets was one
of violence, money, violence, drugs, violence and power. It is
the power that gives the gangsters the high in this film, it is
the violence and self delusion which brings home the barbarism of
these "goodfellas". I loved this film, it brought "The Godfather"
back to mind but in a far less romantic way. This film has a
surreal quality, but it is the surrealism of the underworld, the
bizarreness of a society in which people do actually rub each
I am not going to detail the film, that's best left to the film,
but I would recommend it totally, even to those who have an
adversity to the enormity of bad language that it has in it.
Roger Corman's Frankenstein Unbound
By John Hurt
Review by Tom Zunder
Unlike the above, I feel this film does merit a traditional
review. It is the most recent production of Roger Corman, the man
who made all those wonderful Vincent Price films such as the
"RAVEN", the "RED DEATH", the "FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER", etc.
To that end Corman is a low budget wonder. producing gory but
enjoyable films which manage to rise above Hammer Horror and pip
all the other low budget makers to the post.
"Frankenstein Unbound" was probably low budget, it has a few
special effects which probably cost a bob or two, but the
majority of the film was probably knocked off in Scotland for not
very much. As such it is really quite an enjoyable romp into a
novel by Brian Aldiss (a novel I've read and like) in which a
scientist is thrown into the past by the side effects of a weapon
which he developed and which then promptly went out of control..
(er, do you begin to get the point?). He reappears in Switzerland
just in time to meet Dr. Frankenstein, a character he had thought
fictional. He follows, sees the monster, who is free and
murdering, and is knocked out.
So, okay for now, but when he awakes and goes to town, he meets
Mary Shelley. Mary, for those of you who don't know, wrote
Frankenstein. Anyhow, it's all good fun, involves Byron, Shelley
and a good bit of time travel, ending in a finale that Michael
Moorcock wouldn't mind writing. If you fancy a good film out of
the Hammer mould but twenty/thirty years on, get this one out of
the video shop...
By Harold Pinter
Reviewed by Tom Zunder
I went to see this play for three reasons, firstly to see what
the newly rebuilt Lyceum is like as a theatre, secondly to see
Donald Pleasance in the flesh and thirdly, to see what is a
fairly famous play which helped make Pinter's name.
In the first respect I was firstly shocked at how small the
Lyceum is inside, the huge building in which it rests conceals an
auditorium which is very shallow, although very high, with the
"Gods" truly in the sky! It is a very Victorian auditorium, with
plush velvet drapes and very late Victorian statues and frescoes.
It is a pleasant atmosphere, although the traditional stage and
the fact that many people will be seated a long distance from the
stage means that it probably makes fair less suitable use of
space than the Crucible. For atmosphere, however, it's great, and
I'd love to be able to afford to sit in a box one evening! The
lobbies and bars which lie outside the auditorium on all levels
are very modern in style, a contrast to the main theatre that I
found quite refreshing and xxx didn't appreciate. The open spaces
and artwork hanging from the walls appealed to me, although it
was obvious that almost as much space was being used by these
areas as the main auditorium. Still, since the space is dictated
by the original layout, not a recent designer, there is little
that can be done now and there may well be simple historical
reasons for the original design, not the least of which is the
fact that the Lyceum seems to have been designed exactly the same
as many other theatres of its day, as the numerous illustrations
and pictures of contemporary theatres make clear. This historical
view was of great interest to me and I would like to have seen it
more consciously displayed.
The second reason for seeing this play was to see Donald
Pleasance, an actor I've always enjoyed in his numerous film
roles, in the flesh. It was worth it, just as with Frank Windsor
the week before, Pleasance showed that he is an actor with the
experience and sheer skill to carry a performance all by himself.
Playing the tramp, a character I believe he played in the
original staging of this lay in the sixties, he rapidly lets you
forget who he is and redraws himself as this pitiful character
with two names and shoes which leak. It's really interesting
seeing household names in the theatre, it allows you to check
whether they deserve to be so household, Pleasance does..
Thirdly I wanted to see a Pinter play, and since this was one of
the most famous and the only one on in Sheffield, "The Caretaker"
it was. I won't detail plot, it wouldn't gain you much, and might
deprive you of the choice to go. Suffice to say the play is, as
the reviewer in TV Quick more or less said of a film,
reminiscent of the type of British drama where actors are reduced
to marionettes who stand in badly lit rooms and exchange
monologues. I think that Pleasance was excellent, I think that
the play was intriguing, but I also walked away with a feeling of
disappointment. I like cryptic drama, drama of mood rather than
plot, but this play, or perhaps this performance, didn't really
get to me. Both Colin Firth and Peter Howitt were proficient,
Peter Howitt only barely recognisable as the old Joey from Bread.
I guess Pinter is either not that good or this production has let
Racing at Castle Donington
My Day in a Racing Car
It is my great fortune to be invited to various events by
suppliers. It is my great misfortune that I have to say no,
usually for the simple fact that I can't justify taking the time
off to attend. When, however, a certain power generation company,
who sponsor the weather, asked me if I would like to go racing,
and I mean go racing myself, I couldn't resist. I booked a day's
holiday and at 8.30 on the morning concerned I was there in my
jeans and leather jacket, waiting eagerly to get behind the
I've never been greatly interested in motor sports, the sight of
cars going round doesn't do much for me. I'd rather watch horses,
to be quite honest. The thought, however, of actually putting
myself in a small box of fibre glass with a 2000 cc engine
roaring at my back, that was something I could relate to...
We began with saloon cars, to be accurate Astras. 16v GTE
Astras, but basically unmodified, apart from the roll cage. I sat
innocently next to the American instructor and watched happily as
we began to shift onto the track. Moments later I was quietly
screaming inside as he screamed round the curves and bends at
speeds which defied gravity and my sanity. All of a sudden this
was a very bad idea, especially given that it was my turn to
At first the blue funk I had entered helped me drive appalling
but on the third lap it all fell into place. The cones they laid
out and used to show where to brake, turn, and accelerate all
made sense. There really was a formula to making the circuit, all
I had to do was keep to it. I jumped out of the car a much
happier man and into the tiny seat alongside a driver in what
they call a Sports 2000 car, I call it two bits of red plastic
and an RS Cosworth engine indecently mounted behind. All was okay
tho, I was lying down with the wind whipping around me and it was
exhilarating. I was sure I could do this!
We moved onto the car park. After this introduction to the
circuit and high speed cars, we had to move onto the next test;
go-karts! I won't dwell on this, since you must know how much fun
a lawn mower engine can be, but suffice to say that several bumps
and hysterical laughter later and we were definitely having a
good time. Now it was time to get into the proper cars.
The Vauxhall Lotus is a nice car. It's essentially a cut down
Formula 1 car which is raced in Formula Vauxhall, which used to
be Formula Ford. It's a lovely car and designed to people smaller
than me with little feet. I didn't care. In I leapt, jamming
myself down into the small space and recklessly fitting my feet
over the pedals. The mechanic started the engine with a battery
he carried under his arm and moments later I was doing 90 and
4000 revs! We were just practising, accelerating up hill,
decelerating down to a 180 degree turn followed by more of the
same. It was great. Now if only they'd let me onto the track.
But it wasn't time yet, first we were to eat and then do some
skid control in a car with wheels that were independent of the
steering wheel. This was really good fun, but terrifying to
watch. Then we had to three point turn and slalom our way around
a layout whilst keeping a ball in a hollow on the dash, in the
shortest time, then we had the go-kart competition!
I must add that by now it was absolutely bucketing down with
rain, the skies had opened. We climbed into waterproofs and
bumped. jostled and generally had hysterics around the go kart
track. Drowning your opponents was not allowed, but a viable
The day had progressed wonderfully but now it was the finale,
the time when they actually let you loose on the Castle Donington
circuit in a proper race car without a safety net. I revved the
engine, screeched out of the pits and hugging the curve and then
turning across to the apex, I was around Redgate Corner. The
spray from the car in front blinded me as it flung itself across
my visor, I tracked the curve of the road and was down into the
next bend. I throttled down, ramming the tiny right hand lever up
to third gear as I listened to the satisfying screams of my
tyres. Up the hill and round the next bend and I moved up to
fourth to accelerate madly under the Dunlop bridge. Braking at
the last minute and slamming the car round and through the
hairpin curves I was back on the starting straight, accelerating
exuberantly under the clock as I shifted to the left, ready to
brake once again and approach Redgate corner.
I was in heaven. They let us have about 8 laps and I must admit
that it was one of the most enjoyable experiences I've ever had.
I came third in the go-karts, but the real prize was the true
delight in knowing that for one day I too was a racing driver!
25 Hour Role-Playing
Every year for the last six ( is it really six?) years, the
Sheffield University role-playing society has run a sponsored
25hr session, in which people with more sense play RPGs
constantly for 25 hours for charity. Actually, as the years have
come on, my comrades and I only play about 14 hours, but we pay
for the privilege of leaving early! The 25hr is always held on
the night that the clocks go back, hence the fact that it can run
from noon to noon and yet still last 25 hours! This year we
played Ars Magica, a role playing game set in 12th century France
with magicians as the key characters. I quote from my article for
Vulcan and Other Worlds;
"The 25hr was great! I really enjoyed playing my first serious
role playing for a year. In fact since the last 25hr.. In fact I
hardly ever play anything these days. In fact I might as well
burn my RuneQuest and eat my dice for all the good they do me
these days. The only time I get to role play is as a referee,
which I'm sick of, and even then I'm totally without players. Woe
is me. Woe is bloody me!
Anyhow, the 25hr was my first play of "Ars Magic", as I'm sure
the above paragragh made clear. I loved it, a wonderful evocation
of medieval life and the strange characters we call magi. I think
the magic system is truly lovely and although it leaves much to
be desired in the sword hitting front the character generation is
quite nice too. We played until 2pm, which is and always has been
my limit for the 25hr, and despite eating too much salami, didn't
feel too bad the next day."
We recently got a NICAM video. My brother in law had one cheap
and so we got it at half price and plugged it into the telly and
the Hi-Fi. The sound quality really is excellent, especially on
videos where the original film makers paid a lot of attention to
the stereo. I'd like to watch Star Wars on it. The real problem
is that to get good stereo I need the speakers further apart than
the walls will allow, but it's still an improvement. No doubt
when our TV dies we'll get a NICAM as standard (since they'll
probably make no other by then) and that'll remove the Hi-Fi from
the equation, which did involve a lot of cabling from one end of
the lounge out to the extension and back again. Roll on video
telephones (Not me, I think).
We watched "IT" the other night, a film of the book by Stephen
King. I'm not usually a great fan of horror films, unless they're
so awful as to be wonderful, if you know what I mean. This,
however, was excellent. It's three hours long but it's worth
every minute, it's not particularly gory, but it has an excellent
book-like plot (there's a surprise for a film) and an excellent
ending. Role-players of any persuasion would love this story, any
self respecting ref would loot it for ideas for games to come. I
know this veers very close to a review, and xxxx will slap my
legs, but rent this!
I've been discussing business a lot recently, you know, the
level of business or rather complete lack of it. Every company I
meet is getting ever more desperate, facing order books some 20-
30% down from last year, the sort of fall in orders which will
mean death for many many companies. I'm fortunate, I'm still in
work, and work for a company which has Fuji Bank (yes they're a
bank as well) behind it, not Barclays or one of the other short
term British institutions. Having said that RHP has made 10%
redundancies on the shopfloor, British Steel and its associated
companies are cutting even more.
Can this level of economic decline be considered "natural"? The
UK has never fully recovered from the massacre of the early 80s,
we slip further down the tables of OECD countries every time they
issue a table. I can't help feeling that given the total failure
to follow a monetarist economic policy (when did you last hear
about money supply?) the Tories need to address the fact that if
they are going to play the fiscal game they should play it with
some plans rather than resorting to the old stop-go election-
chasing no-idea-what-we're-doing policies of the 50s and 60s. It
was those stop-go cycles of inflationary boom and deflationary
slump which destroyed Britain's post war lead over the world, why
are we doing it all again?
I've been refereeing the kids recently, running "Dragon
Warriors", that paperback role playing game that Dave Morris and
Oliver Johnson wrote some years ago. It's been great fun, and
delightful to see how soon they move from roll playing to role
playing. I must admit that despite my belief in role playing I
had never realised how young you can be and still get it under
the skin so well...
Dire, Dire, Dire...
I saw Dire Straits on September 3rd 1991. It was my first visit
to the Sheffield Arena and I must admit that I thought the place
was really quite impressive. I did not, however, really enjoy the
concert. I can summarise this as follows;
Security kept everyone sitting down and in place, except that in
doing so they spent three quarters of the gig in front of my seat
arguing with people who wanted to go to the front.
The stadium is designed to present the seats with a view of the
central playing area, therefore to watch the band at one end you
have to strain you neck looking sideways around the people
My toe was badly hurting from an infection.
Mark Knopfler has about as much charisma as a brick, he can't
interact with an audience to save his life. For most people there
that didn't matter, they would have applauded him if he'd played
with his dick, but I found it fairly poor.
Because of all the above the experience was clinical, painful,
irritating and above all, a disappointment. A shame really since
the music was excellent, the light show was superb and everyone
else seemed to enjoy it.
Oh well that's it for this article, which has meandered crazily
from subject to subject without porpoise or meaning. I hope it
didn't tire you too much.
Between The Sheets
A paper zine produced bimonthly by myself and my ex University
colleagues. Reviews of books, films and theatre, roleplaying
games and what we've done. £2.00 for 5 issues.
A short lived diskzine distributed thru' the South West Software
Library, produced within "SANDP20" (a build your own diskzine
shell) it wasn't very successful but some people liked it...
South West Software Library
One of the best UK PD libraries, run by Martyn Dryden, see
interview in "STEN" 7. Write to this address for catalogue;
SWSL, PO BOX 562, Wimborne, Dorset, BH21 2YD.
ST Enthusiasts Newsletter, produced by John Weller and Dave
Mooney, this is a British diskzine which I find intelligent and
worthy of a read. Contact;
John Weller, 49 Haylett Gardens, Surbiton Crescent, Kingston,
Surrey, KT1 2ER, United Kingdom.
ST NEWS is a Dutch diskzine produced by the same Richard
Karsmaker who produces the Ultimate Virus Killer, and Stefan
Posthuma. Very English European with a demo angle, ST NEWS is
readable and intelligent.
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.