First memory of a computer: my mother’s boyfriend’s twin brother worked with computers (I think) and I seem to recall visiting his office one Sunday and the computers were HUGE. I must have been about ten, which means that, yes, there were computers in the 1970’s, just not in everyone’s home. I had my daughter in hysterics as I described the dot matrix printer.
Drrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr (ten seconds one way)
Drrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr (ten seconds the other way).
Yep. They were that slow.
And as for fanzines: I actually CREATED one in the early 1980’s. There were two of us and I did all the typing on a manual typewriter. The headings and stuff were done with LETRASET! I included a short story called The Abominable Snowman which was about, well, a snowman, except he was tall and thin and had lost his head and instead of a head, he had the glittering lights of a city. Yes. Well. It’s possible my writing was even more surreal and incomprehensible then than it is now. I also drew (while chained to my civil service job) a comic strip called Deartha’s Double Breast. She went out at night and FLASHED people with her DOUBLE BREAST. It was SHOCKING. Well. It made my daughter laugh. The fanzine was called King Ink because the other creator and I were huge Nick Cave fans. I really wanted to review The Cure’s Pornography but was told by the other creator (okay, okay, he was my bloody boyfriend) that it was old hat. I eventually came to England with that boyfriend, who then proceeded to coercively control me. It took me eighteen months to escape him. Arsehole.
Without thinking, I said to my daughter that we had “printed out” the fanzine. Well, of course we didn’t PRINT OUT the fanzine! There was nothing to print it out from! We photocopied it!
“You had photocopiers back then?” my daughter asked me.
Yes. And televisions, telephones and fridges. We were really advanced, you know. (This was the point that I told her about the computers of the 1970’s, the ones as big as a cupboard).
I also told her about the old branch of Forbidden Planet before it moved from New Oxford Street to its current location, about finding it for the first time, going into a room the size of my kitchen and going, “wow, look at all the Star Trek shit!” Around the back of Forbidden Planet was a shop that sold ONLY fan magazines. I realise, now, that this was what we had before websites. There was a magazine for every single TV show that ever existed. And pictures. You could buy glossy pictures of your heroes. You don’t want to know who I smothered my walls with (blush). Needless to say, he had a lot of muscles. I seem to be quite partial to those.
How did we ever live without the internet? Was life any better? Could we have stayed sane throughout the pandemic without online contact? The past is hysterically funny. I hope one day we can laugh about the present. I can imagine my daughter telling future generations how we used to TYPE onto tiny screens to people we’d never met and those future generations falling about with hysterical laughter. Because you know what, it’s bloody nuts.