The Duffers’ Guide to 8-Bit Computing #2: Cartridge Games

The second part of a new Duffers’ Guide, celebrating the joys of 8-bit computing

Back in the 1980s, there was two main storage media for software and documents: cassette tape or floppy disc. At the start of the decade, our floppies were 8″ and 5.25″ in width. By the end of the decade, 3″, 3.5″ and 5.25″ discs. For many people, floppy discs were too expensive – especially in the UK when floppy disc drives costed almost as much as the computer itself. (Unless you had an Amstrad CPC 664 or 6128 which also came with a monitor).

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Blackpool Postcard

The Wonder of Wakes Weeks

Ever wondered about the Wakes Weeks and when they are?

Many moons ago, before East of the M60 was as well-known as it is nowadays, we posted a review of Channel Five’s documentary on the Oldham Wakes. It was part of a series called Disappearing Britain, the Oldham Wakes episode was hosted by Sarah Lancashire (or Raquel off Corrie if you watched the soap in the 1990s). The programme had vox-pop interviews with Ms. Lancashire decrying the state of Blackpool.

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A Child’s Guide to Iconic Buses: The Not So Perfect Ten

Ten iconic buses for beginners – or anybody old enough to pay child fare without an iGo card

For many people, a bus is just a bus. A box on six wheels for 16 or 90 people. A way of getting home from school, or from home to the shops.

These boxes with windows and (in most cases) a front entrance come in different colours. Since the 1960s they have also been mobile adverts. Some of today’s buses look less like boxes and are rounded.

You might think that many buses look the same, no matter what colours they wear. If you look at one bus (an Enviro200) and another one (a Dennis Dart SLF) the differences are striking. Many Enviro200 buses look more rounded than a Dennis Dart SLF bus.

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Leyland Titan, Trans-Lancs Vehicle Rally, 2013.

Bus Boarding Beats: A Brief Look at Sounds In Motion

Do you remember when background music on buses was a thing?

In the last 40 years, bus operators across the UK have tried to find creative ways of making local bus routes pay. Route branding with dedicated liveries is one answer, positioning everyday bus routes as product lines in their own right. Another answer is advertising. Initially done by local contractors, most of today’s on-bus advertising space is managed by Global. Yes, the owners of countless commercial radio stations like LBC, as well as outdoor poster sites.

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Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge, 11 October 2009

What Has the North Done For Us?

Quite a lot to be honest!

Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge (widescreen)
The iconic Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge

Imagine a world without Northern England. It would be a dull place devoid of The Beatles, iconic suspension bridges, daft footballers, and railway lines. Prior to the late 1970s, we were the manufacturing heart of the world. We built bridges, ships, made cutlery and built the world its locomotives and carriages. Today, most of what manufacturing capacity we had has been eviscerated by London-centric governments and globalisation. Prior to the mid 1980s, we kept most of our country’s power stations ticking over and our houses warm, before they closed down the pits and started importing its coal.

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Arcades Shopping Centre and open market

The Arcades at 25: Ashton Review of Shops Extra

A look at the Arcades Shopping Centre, which should be celebrating its Silver Jubilee this year

In 1995, there was two significant events that changed the way we shopped. One was the launch of Windows ’95. Microsoft’s more user-friendly operating system made the IBM compatible PC a ‘must-have’ addition to every home. Among its killer apps were the Space Cadet pinball game and Internet Explorer. The latter was a baby step towards Amazon’s path to world domination, which began trading in July 1995.

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Chadderton Mill, off Fields New Road, Chadderton

A Vision of Post-War Chadderton, 1946 Style

Did you know that plans were made to shift Chadderton town centre to Broadway?

Answer me this question: where do you think the real centre of Chadderton is or was? Near Chadderton Hall Park? Foxdenton Hall and Gardens? Off Middleton Road? Broadway, even?

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Roughtown view (towards St. John's Church)

This Time 40 Years Ago… Mossley Goes to Wembley

A look back at Mossley AFC’s Wembley trail

With the lack of real football in our television schedules due to that pandemic, our broadcasters have had to fill the airtime with some of our greatest footballing moments. It has meant ITV rerunning Euro ’96; also trending topics that would have been relevant if Twitter existed in 2001.

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"Put the needle on the record..."

The Other UK Singles Chart: 2. The New Musical Express Singles Charts

A beginners’ guide to the NME Charts, the UK’s original Hit Parade

The UK’s first singles chart, like its American pioneer owes its existence to an iconic music magazine. On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, it is the Billboard Singles Chart that was (and remains to this day) compiled by Billboard Magazine. In the United Kingdom, the New Musical Express magazine led the charge.

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The Lost Hypermarket: An A to Z of Long Lost Brands

Lost items from our supermarket shelves

If you have spent more than four decades on this planet, you will have seen many shops go the way of dinosaurs. Not a single day goes by without there being a “Do You Remember the Woolworths Pick and Mix” counter or “School Puddings” meme. I have yet to see a single Book of Face post with cosy memories of swallowing Liqufruta if you have an irksome cough. Or a meme that says “Do you remember gargling with TCP?”

Over the last four decades, there has been a fair few foodstuffs that have gone the way of the dinosaurs, Transatlantic flights from Prestwick Airport, and the 400 Trans-Lancs Express bus route. Some of which have been discontinued due to abject unpopularity, corporate decisions or adverse publicity.

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