Sir Clive Sinclair, who launched countless programming careers, has died at the age of (ZX) 81.
No one in Australia would remember him for his failed C5 electric trike (we never saw them, except on news reports), but a mate in high school had a ZX81, and I still remember pressing my fingertips firmly on its flat plastic keyboard. Even though it couldn’t do much, it looked great, with its sharp black corners and red lettered logo, like KITT from Knight Rider. In rural Tasmania in the early 1980s, it was pretty cutting-edge.
I can’t think of too many of the personal computers of the time that were so closely associated with a single individual. None of us knew who’d founded Acorn, or who the Vic was behind the VIC-20. Even Apple had two Steves, not one. Clive was one of a kind.
18 September 2021
Tim Brooke-Taylor, one third of the legendary comedy trio The Goodies, has died of Covid-19. A contemporary and sometime-colleague of the Monty Python team, he appeared in the original version of the Four Yorkshiremen sketch on At Last the 1948 Show, and was also a member of the long-running BBC radio panel show I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue. But to a generation of children in Britain, Australia and elsewhere, he was the Union-Jack-waistcoat-wearing Tim from The Goodies, the BBC television comedy show that dominated the 1970s.
I’ve been feeling particularly bereft since seeing this news today, as Tim and the rest of the Goodies were giants of my childhood TV-viewing in Australia. I’d been rewatching some episodes with my daughter in recent months, and he was just as brilliant in them as I’d remembered, even if some episodes haven’t aged as well as others. On radio, he sounded as sharp as ever, well into his seventies.
Goodbye, you wonderful, funny man.
12 April 2020
The death of Terry Jones the other day left me wanting to write everything about what he meant to me as a young fan of comedy, which meant I ended up writing nothing. Here he is talking about his dementia in 2017. What a gift to us all his life and work was.
Commenting on the death of Nicholas Parsons is more manageable, if only because his legacy was more focussed. Growing up in Australia I knew him only from The Goodies, where he was a regular target of jokes—affectionate ones, I realised in hindsight, although they were clearly having a go at a side of him that came across (from a younger man) as smarmy and patronising. After moving to the UK I grew to love listening to him on Just a Minute, and am glad I was able to do so for almost two decades; how extraordinary that that was less than half of his reign on the show.
31 January 2020