I'll explain later.

Life's yet again good: Friday night Malinda took Emzo, HC, Steve & myself to the exhibition at her work, Game On: a history of video games through inception to today. I'd gone along with the noblest of intentions to extend my understanding of the genre by availing myself of the educational material available, but the problem was that as soon as you entered the room there were all these free games to play ! Suddenly your inner 14 year old takes over and you start waggling joysticks and pushing buttons.

Needless to say, there weren't many chicks there.

The exhibition ran from the video game's humble beginnings on the Digital PDP-1 right through to the PS3 and Nintendo Wii, covering arcade cabinets & tabletops, home gaming consoles, home computer, the music in games, and associated periphery. It was an excellent adjunct to the book I'd recently finished – “Hackers”, by Steven Levy: a timeline of hardware and software hacking from the TX-0 and Tech Model Railroad Club through to Richard Stallman. One of the biggest buzzes of the night for me came as I walked in the door and found that you could play the original Spacewar! game by Russell, Graetz, Samson, and co – although it was emulated on a console rather than playable on the actual DEC PDP-1 (which they had in torpid slumber adjacent to the console, silently overlooking).

Lamentably that was the only part of the exhibition that felt like history, because the rest was pretty much scooped straight out of my childhood/adolescence. Other than that, I got to have a go at Burger Time, Pac-Man, Galaga, Pang, Discs of Tron, the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy adventure game (complete with realistic hand-straining IBM PC keyboard), a bitchin' game called Tempest 2000 (programmed by C64 guru Jeff Minter), a couple of Street Fighter clones, R-Type and finishing up with a bit of tennis on the Wii.

Anyway, as that description went on longer than anticipated, I'll try to race through the rest.

Saturday night Charlie, The Puzzler, Richie, Hilary & I went out for a scrummy Turkish meal and then to the IMAX to see the latest Bond film, Casino Royale. Unlike previous films of this franchise, it was a Royale without cheese. I really dug it, and upon leaving the cinema you really felt like you'd seen a proper Bond film. Distracting me though was the fact that Daniel Craig looks like a younger Sid James.

Or am I the only one on that page ?

And as for poor Skippy – last night (Tuesday) a bunch of us went to Loftus Road Stadium @ Shepherds Bush to watch a football (i.e. Soccer) match of Australia vs. Denmark. What in the hell I was thinking when I agreed to it, I'm not certain – it's quite well known & documented that I don't go in for all that AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE stuff, and going to watch Australia play in SheBu was like making a pilgrimage into meathead holy ground. There were Australian flags (as capes, bandanas, on cheeks, baseball caps, t-shirts, plus actual waveable flags), and green & gold everywhere – there were even one or two real Aussie sporting supporter archetypes, such as a guy wearing one of those bloody hats with corks, and a pinhead wearing stubbies, thongs and a blue singlet. The temperature forecast for last night was for 0 degrees, so anyone turning up in anything less than scarf, gloves & coat didn't need the damning of my cultural despondency to label them as twerps.

So I'm wondering how much more Aussie it can possibly get, and then Paul offers to go down & get some football food. A few rows down I'm sure I overheard “Oi ! Get us a pie with sauce !”. Not bad… but the Aussieness quotient was cranked up to 11 when the teams came out for the pre-game national anthem, and singing Advance Australia Fair was none other than Jimmy Barnes. You couldn't have written it any better. Fuckin' BARNESY !

Most of us were there under the auspices of supporting Australia, although Dan decided to support the Danish, because though they weren't Dans, they were Dan-ish, so that's close enough. At half time the entertainment was a fairly ill-advised performance by a Danish opera soprano. Loftus Road wouldn't be my first choice to stage Madam Butterfly. Aside from the shit acoustic and it being freezing, you'd get mud all over the costumes.

Anyway the Danes thrashed the Aussies 3-1 (it was almost 3-0 but towards the latter part of the 2nd half the Aussies managed to laconically curl one past a fairly slow-moving Danish goalie) and aside from that it was pretty cool. The 'Roos nailed 2 other goals, but both were disallowed by the refereee, and it struck me that up until this point in my life I'd never heard an entire stadium of people chanting “Buuuuuuull-SHIT! Buuuuuuuull-SHIT!” in unison.

Following the game we decided to go get a desperately needed drink to warm us up after having sat in the sort of thing polar bears enjoy for the last 2 hours, and as we crossed Shepherds Bush Green we saw this young oik going the other way, carrying a fairly sad and flaccid looking inflatable kangaroo. As he walked towards his colleague, he held it aloft and shouted “Oi look! Someone's kicked Skippy's arse right in !”.

That'd be the Danish soccer team.

2007-02-07 : Hey look, someone’s kicked Skippy’s arse right in!
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