Peeceegeefax

a B Page item by J Nash (Friday December 4th, 2009)

JN says...JN saysFor PC Gamer. Teletext (What? — Readers not in Britain) (Teletext. It’s — Oh, they’ve shut it down. — Readers in Britain) means a lot to me, from Mr Biffo’s majestic Digitiser to the glimpses into Speccy champs Design Design and Delta 4 via their inspiring spin-off Ceefax-derived silly machines cum tell-all proto-blogs hidden away on game tapes as secret passworded bonuses. Part of the appeal is that the absurdly restricted format, a rigid monospace 39 x 24 character screen with awkwardly available coloured blocks — about 16 useable lines after menus and banners — means there’s exactly no margin for error. Writing for teletext promotes discipline (I’d always read the Beeb News on Ceefax because there was only room in the 90-odd words per page for clarity of fact) and imagination (Biffo again); in fact, in its likeably wonky tech that clever bods could make do amazing, unanticipated things, teletext was a bit like the Speccy. Hurrah! (The C64 would of course be the generic replacement digital guides, all calculatedly inoffensive pastel shades and badly designed UI.)
 
Anyway, I used all that as an excuse for a B Page featuring my unpopular characters Gladstone & Disraeli to make a vaguely relevant joke: there was a minor scandal around this time when mags started taking lucrative advertising for online gambling, a sort of pheromone account for the 90s.
 
The long lead time meant I could incorporate mag elements like the correct page number and next ish date, presenting the whole thing as a ready-made pic the Art Ed had only to bung on a blank black page, because I’d been horrid to him the previous month and had something horrid in mind for the next one. Everything went swimmingly until, 10 minutes before deadline, the Art Ed e-mailed to say the Courier font was too thin to be printed, so I had to bold all the text in a fluttering panic, shuffling bits around to make space. Boh. This is the original, publicly unviewed version.

Gladstone & Disraeli in: Poker Dot Polka