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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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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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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Optare Solo MA51 AEW, Denshaw (April 2015).

Lost Bus Routes of Greater Manchester V, The Ocarina of Bus Times: The Not So Perfect Ten

Ten more lost bus routes of Greater Manchester

When did we last do a Lost Bus Routes Not So Perfect Ten? The answer to that was eight years ago. Since then, Lost Bus Routes of Greater Manchester has spawned a fair number of spin-offs. These have focused on individual routes or a collection of routes in and around Greater Manchester.

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"Put the needle on the record..."

The Other UK Singles Chart: 1. Independent Local Radio Music Charts

A beginners’ guide to chart tracking on ILR stations from 1974 to 2008

If you mention the UK singles chart, the first thing that springs to mind in the Official Charts Company’s countdown. This goes out every Friday on BBC Radio One. Before then, it used to go out on Sunday afternoons and, prior to October 1987, Tuesday lunchtimes.

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RadioShack Tape Recorder, J. Smith, 2006

The Duffers’ Guide to 8-Bit Computing #1: Software on Tape

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

I have recently found a YouTube channel that celebrates the wonder of audio tape. It is headed by a fellow from Lancashire who knows his TDKs from his Maxells, and his chrome tapes from his ferric tapes. What has amazed me is how no two audio cassettes are the same in terms of quality.

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Stalybridge Whit Walks 2019, Trinity Street

One Answer to the Million Pound Question: the Stalybridge Heritage Walk

A possible approach to the Stalybridge Heritage Walk

In our previous article entitled The Million Pound Question: Stalybridge’s Historical Quarter, we looked at the story behind Tameside MBC’s successful bid. We also looked at how the heritage walk should form part of a greater scheme. In other words, how the Heritage Walk should be accompanied by prospective private and public sector development.

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Stalybridge Civic Hall, 2015

The Million Pound Question: Stalybridge’s Historical Quarter

Could the town’s rich history be a panacea for economic growth?

Stalybridge has a proud history. In spite of losing its town hall and the conversion of its market hall to a civic hall, there is still a lot to like about the Cheshire town. Especially Cheetham’s Park and the town centre’s equivalent of The Three Graces (Holy Trinity Church, Stalybridge Civic Hall, and the Astley Cheetham Art Gallery and Library).

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The Beano's 4000th Edition

The Beano’s 4000th Issue: On Message as Ever and Glossy

Why, in the most darkest of days, we should never be without The Beano

In living memory, the last week has been one of the most darkest and tumultuous weeks. Within 24 hours of Jeremy Corbyn’s meeting with leaders of opposition parties to prevent a Tory No Deal Brexit®, Boris Johnson (and possibly his unelected puppets) decided to prorogue parliament. The Queen gave him the nod and within days, numerous protests have taken place across the UK.

For this post, we shan’t elaborate on the PM’s contempt for representative democracy. Instead, we shall focus on a British institution which came to the fore during the Second World War. A publication that has had a great influence on the nation’s humour and spawned several imitators.

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