Note: this text is now so old it should also be in the museum.
It started out as a joke, like most things - bear in
mind this was 1998. Because of me unearthing a load of my old computing mags
up in my folks' loft and the power of emulators I started playing Speccy and
ZX81 games on the PC and happened to remark that the original machines were
probably v.collectable now and would cost the earth. I was told to 'go to the
next car boot sale and you'll get them for a quid each'. That's one UK pound
for overseas readers.
I'd never been to car boot sales before because I
assumed it would be full of old people selling china elephants etc, so I went
to the next one and picked up an Enterprise 64 for £3 including free muddy
bootprint.....the rest, as they say, is expense. I decided to set up a museum
and try to get every machine that was around when I was at school.....at first
it was one of each machine, eg *a* Spectrum, *an* Amiga, but soon became each
*model* when I discovered how plentiful they were. Thanks to the magazines I'd
kept it was easy to see what was around then for the purposes of picking up now.
The Museum now contains a hoard of vintage machinery,
aka 'a load of old shite' according to friends, that ranges from the very
first 70's Pong-style TV game through the MOS KIM-1, Apple Lisa, Sinclair
Spectrum, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC464 to the Amiga 1200, NeXTStation right up
to the Mac G5. Some came whole, some came in bits, some even came in boxes, some
didn't have power supplies and sometimes you buy a game and they throw in the
machine as well, but when you're paying 50p you don't really care!
Having collected these things since 1998 I've been
surprised by the amount of other folk who either collect them too or are still
interested in seeing things like this after all this time. Of course, now the
retro thing is in full swing visits to the site have gone up in the last year
or so as more and more people my age see a reference point to something Sinclair
related or Commodore related and spend a happy couple of hours wallowing in
nostalgia! I also get waifs and strays who've been looking for things like
'dinosaurs' or other words mentioned on the site, and if they're the right age
they stay for a while too.
For now the museum will have to stay virtual because of
space constraints but one day I plan to make it a proper exhibition for people
to visit. I just need 1000 square feet of secure dry space to fit everything in!
Of course, donations are always welcome, and as long as
its not too distant from Cambridge (UK, not Mass.) I'll come and pick up
whatever you have.....
The question you're all thinking is WHY? and the answer
is 'because I can'. Really though, I cut my teeth programming on the Sinclair
series from the ZX80 upwards (said ZX80 was borrowed off my Physics teacher in
1980 and I learned recently that it had bitten the dust a long time ago) and
I'm now in a position to buy all the other machines that were around at the time
that I wanted but couldn't afford, being a humble schoolboy who couldn't be
arsed to get a saturday job.
Obviously (to me) the museum inhabitants are important historically - 1972
saw the birth of home video games with the Magnavox
Odyssey, 1977 saw the release of the venerable Atari
VCS, 1980 saw the release of the Sinclair
ZX80 - the first home computer under £99, 1982 saw the first video
game market crash and the release of the Sinclair
Spectrum, 1985 saw the great UK home computer market crash as lots of
companies ran out of money etc as well as the release of the Commodore
Amiga, Sir Tim Berners-Lee invended the World Wide Web on a NeXT Cube in 1989, the list goes on!
So! If you've rifled thru the loft and were on the verge of binning that
Lisa 1 or you were close to lobbing that Oric Telestrat out of the window,
or isn't that a COMX35 holding up the sideboard in the dining room? Send 'em
my way! I'll even pay the postage if you donate.
4/06/01 Netsurfer Digest
7/06/01 Daily Telegraph
8/10/01 Computer Active
5/04/01 Computer Weekly has BD featured in a Retro column
Cyber_Reader (Phaidon Press, ISBN 0-7148-4071-8, March 2002) uses one of my Lisa GUI pictures
Slashdot.org mentions my BBC Domesday machine
'What's On' weekend guide in the Daily Telegraph
22/11/03 Mention in the Financial Times
11/12/03 Photos used in 'Money Week', a London based financial magazine
Mention and link on the Fast Rewind website mentioning the Memotech MTX512 seen in the film 'Weird Science' starring Kelly LeBrock.