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Game Designer's Notebook - the birth of Breaking Away

Keeping It Simple - advice on games design from James Ernest of Cheapass Games

GCSE Graphics Course: Producing A Board Game

Tunnels & Trolls: 1984 interview with the designer.

Music To My Eras - musings on musical fashions

Mind Your Language - a rant about people who mangle the English language 

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Music To My Eras

Track 1: Intro

Lift the needle


There was a time when I was really enthusiastic about music. As a small boy I was always singing around the house and chiding my Dad whenever he got the words to a song wrong. Now the boot is on the other foot, with my son, Jack plainly embarrassed by his father's inability to sing the words to "Wannabe". In my teens I used to read New Musical Express and the now defunct Sounds from cover to cover, even the bits about artists I had no interest in - i.e. the black ones.  
  I did not read Melody Maker much because it devoted too many pages to Jazz, Blues, Folk, Soul and other fuddy-duddy forms of music, and when it did cover music I liked - which, I suppose I should admit, was pretty horrendous rock-a-boogie stuff of the sort that probably made Alan Parr's hair go grey - it did so in a pompous and pretentious manner that was only really appropriate for bombastic drivel performed by the likes of ELP, Yes, Jethro Tull and King Crimson. About six consecutive years of spending 20 to 30 hours a week writing music, performing music but most soul-destroyingly of all, humping bloody great big bass bins in and out of a transit van, put paid to the concept of listening to music for pleasure. That and the price of albums going above 2.
It's now about ten years since I last trod the boards and only in the last couple of years have I reverted to singing around the house a lot. I haven't quite got back into the habit yet of buying an album every week - one a year is nearer the limit. Who knows, one day soon I might buy a CD player. However, even I, with my impoverished knowledge of what's happening on the music scene, I know that 1996 was a reasonably successful year for those Oasis chaps, notwithstanding the relegation of Manchester City.  
Elvis Stamp! It's like Bob Paisley. No matter how many trophies he won at Liverpool, as far as the media is concerned, Bill Shankly is Mr. Liverpool. Prior to the advent of the Beatles, Elvis Presley was the benchmark and before that Jesus Christ. We only had to wait about 7 years between Elvis and the Beatles but the wait for a band to finally usurp the Fab Four will probably rival the gap between Jesus and Elvis. So, let's have a look at the various contenders to the Beatles' crown down the years and examine, in a deeply unscientific, unresearched way, why they didn't quite cut it as the Pele of the pop world.

Lift the needle






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