I was sad to read of the passing of inventor and computing pioneer Sir Clive Sinclair yesterday. Sinclair's singular greatest achievement was the ZX series of computers in the 1980s, though he will also be remembered for his heroic failure, unsuccessfully launching an electric vehicle, the C5, back in 1984.
Most of my school friends had the ZX81 or the subsequent ZX Spectrum. I went down a different path, starting off with a Dragon 32 then upgrading to a Commodore 64, both shared with my older brother. As with most tech, we were a couple of years behind everyone else, so I think we wouldn't have got one until 1983/84. My parents took a lot of persuading and we presented a convincing argument that it would be hugely beneficial for our school work and educational enrichment. If I'm honest, particularly when it came to the C64 upgrade, I was only interested in the games, especially the Frankie Goes To Hollywood one with the stunning cover art by Bob Wakelin.
This wasn't the only crossover between music and computer games, of course and predating the FGTH computer game was Pete Shelley's 1983 album, XL-1, which came with computer code for the ZX Spectrum. For those of us who missed it first time around, you can enjoy the full experience (with the all-too familiar squawky code track added at the end) over at YouTube. Others were quick to follow up the opportunity, from The Stranglers to Shakin' Stevens... and yes, the latter's The Shaky Game looks as ropey as his music...
Back to the music and a great excuse for a Pete Shelley XL-1 selection, as a tribute to Sir Clive. Rest easy, you did good.
1) (Millions Of People) No One Like You (Album Version)
2) XL 1
3) Many A Time (Dub)
4) You Know Better Than I Know
5) Telephone Operator / If You Ask Me / No One Like You (Dub)