You can get Amazon to send it direct to your Kindle (or Kindle app) if you have trouble, don’t want to, or can’t self-load. Unfortunately we can’t do anything about the price bar set it as low as they let you (we promise not to go mad with the 30p royalties). Go see on the Amazon site.
We’re currently writing a full book, but we need your help. Financially mainly. We’re to take on the challenge of visiting every one of England and Wales’s 56 surviving pleasure piers in two weeks.
Piers are the phallic symbols of our desire to own the motherly sea; our Victorian forefathers covered them with the lace dressings of amusement to prevent the working class getting too excited. Since then they’ve rotted slowly, like Britain’s empire and its self respect. Those from Birmingham are perfectly placed to write about an ephemeral British seaside because that’s what the seaside is to them: a ghost, a Vaseline-smeared Shangri-La cobbled together from Carry On films, hazy childhood memories and nostalgia for a bygone era.
It might not appear that obvious, but one of the inspirations for Dirty Bristow was a magazine aimed at teenage computer game fans. Your Sinclair, was the first publication that I read that sought to be more than its remit—yes it did reviews and forthcoming attractions, but both within those and in the normal extraneous features of a magazine (news, letters page and so on) it showed no regard for the boundaries of its topic or audience. It was, for the want of a better phase, grown-up.
But grown-up didn’t mean serious or rude—the mag could be, but wasn’t often, serious and its rudeness was very mild—it meant not being po-faced or sniffy about ‘other’. It meant that it wasn’t afraid to expand the horizons of the reader, and it wasn’t afraid not to explain things that you could go off and find out elsewhere.
Yes, alongside Crash, it was a beacon of intelligent writing about a maligned subject—many of the writers went on to bigger things after the computer they were covering faded from view. The computer games journalism industry was a great place to find talent at that time, better perhaps that the more traditional music papers, Charlie Booker came from games—who’s broken out of music journalism in the past five years?
They were responsible for my first steps as a publisher too. Along with a couple of others from school, I started a fanzine: Blast. Yes, it was named for the vorticist’s journal. No, it wasn’t much to write home about. I don’t have any copies left to see whether it forewarned of Bristow.
One thing all these magazine had in common was something sellotaped to the front—a tape.
It sometimes contained demos of games to come. It often, especially when the format was on its way out, contained free versions of old games. Sometimes it even contained in-jokes (YS’s Advanced Lawnmower Simulator is the classic), such as this:
That is YS journo Rick Wilson (or Whistlin’ Rick Wilson as he was styled), with his croon-classic Hold My Hand (Very Tightly).
So, when we decided to have a tape. I knew it had to somehow have a tribute to those tapes of my youth. We wouldn’t think to make you put up with us singing, so we wrote a computer game. For the ZX Spectrum of course. It’s a choose-your-own-adventure all about how we made Dirty Bristow issue one, heavily fictionalised but still it’s all true.
It’s the most difficult pub quiz you’ve even attended — and every penny raised goes towards printing and other costs of this most individual, independent and inspiring of magazines.
It’s a quiz so hard, that you’re allowed to cheat. It’s a test of your logic, your search powers and your network as much as your general knowledge. Bring mobiles, laptops, dongles, encyclopedias, get a phone-a-friend poised… you’ll need them.
There are four rounds, each set and judged by a King, and a blockbuster that would block buster out. Special guest royalty to be announced…
Kings may include:
Mark King out of Level 42
Martin Luther King
The King of Pop
more Kings, and the Four Kings will be previewed.
It’s £5 per person, and you can have any number in a teams up to 6. But the grand prize is the average weight of team members in booze (we choose the booze, it’ll be available to take away), so not only do you want fat lads you want as small a number as possible (fat lasses too, but we didn’t want to mention it).
Buy your ticket now in advance — £5
You get a paypal receipt, we get your name. It’ll be on the door. Payment on the door is fine, but a ticket guarantees entry.
“Make no mistake, Dirty Bristow is a folly, a fools errand headed by a couple of chancers and dreamers with only the vaguest hope of even breaking even, let alone turning a profit.”
A fools errand headed by a couple of massive fools. But one that’s become a reality. And that’s thanks to our contributors and everyone else who’s helped (they know who they are, but there are lots of them on this page).
Get a copy now for £4 inc UK p+p
‘Little’ Chris Downing of Brumcast has produced a mixtape reacting to the contents. Go Listen.