Text by Shiuming
Photos by Mark Rayson
the absence of a British traditional Indian meal at
the first JagFest UK, MyAtari and its merry
band of curry worshippers decided to have a
warm-up for the main course this year. Not that
we needed an excuse for a curry binge. Readers
were invited, too.
If only organizing
everything was as easy as this, there would
be quite a lot more events in the calendar.
We had a guest list of 20, not bad for a first
effort. Unfortunately, four of those on the
Atari side weren't able to make it at the last
minute. Editor Matthew Bacon, whose inhuman
working hours around which we planned the date,
got sent off to an assignment in Bristol. Matthew Preston was off sick,
Thomas Wellicome got tangled up by an incompatible
and Birmingham lad Gaztee (Gary Taylor) simply
forgot to book the day off work! Therefore the
prize for the person having travelled the longest
distance goes to CiH (Chris Holland), all the
way from Northampton. What that prize will be
is still to be decided! Judging by his e-mail
the next morning, though, I think another curry
would go down nicely.
It was a breezy
Sunday evening at the end of April. I went to
Wimbledon earlier than the suggested meeting
time of 19:00, to scope around and see if anyone
else had arrived and needed help with directions
and parking. My written instructions and little
map were probably more confusing than helpful.
Some people would also be meeting up in one
of various pubs and bars dotted along The Broadway.
As I headed towards the ear-shattering Australian bar,
Mark Branson shouted me from across the road,
he had arrived first with Felice (Richard Spowart)
Felice and Mark
are members of Cheshunt Computer Club, so were
able to recognize each other in the street.
I expected Mark Rayson of Retrovision and his
mate Sty (John Guy) to be there drinking first,
but only I knew him so far. Questions to the
others as to whether they saw a man with a green
head in the bar drew looks suggesting that I
might be rather intoxicated myself, but as Retrovision
fans know, Mark has his head painted green when
he hosts a gig. He obviously didn't fancy getting
beaten up on the way here from Oxford and thought
better of it! We eventually found him and Sty
at the bar in our destination of Ahmed Tandoori,
enjoying some beers and nuts with Peter West
and Ian Smith. I hadn't seen Mark since RV3,
or indeed without a green head, so it was great
to see him again.
Once the first
arrivals were settled into the long row of reserved
seats and tucking into popadums, Cheshunt club
member Derryck Croker entered. Then came JagFest
UK gaming champion, Ryan Edwards, followed by
Rain Ashford and Ciaran the Dragon fan from
Retrovision. Here the joys of mango chutney were finding a new audience,
as would mango lassi later on, to those used
to drinking only beer with their curry.
boss Nick Harlow made a late entrance after
I saw him screech past outside in his new motor,
asking for a quid for parking (he does such
a roaring trade at shows and conventions, he
probably only carries £50 notes!). It was Sunday,
so I directed him towards free parking. Happily
we munched, when Felice got a call from CiH,
lost somewhere in South Wimbledon. I had a complete
mental block while trying to give him directions,
until he mentioned he was near the Wimbledon
at which point I remembered a kebab house down
there I'd visited a couple of years ago, and realized he
wasn't where I first thought he was. I excused
myself and went outside to try to
catch him before he got stuck in the
one-way system that Mark Branson had already
experienced several times over before. Eventually
I found him in the Safeway car park, where there
were no spaces, so I hopped in and we powerdrifted around the back streets until
we got to some spaces on Queens Road, adjoining
on the left contemplating how
to eat a floppy disk while Nick
and Felice deliberate over the
bites on offer.
of thumbs and waiting.
and Ryan. Also waiting.
By this time
it could be said that things were in full-swing,
we had a hilarious farce with the ordering of
the various courses, nobody really paid attention
to the waiters desperately trying to make sense
and order of the requests, finally splitting
each category of food into a separate stage
of order taking. All seats were packed, yet
we were still missing our man from the home
of JagFest UK, Elliot Swanton. Where would he sit?
The rumour mill began to grind... Perhaps by
himself on the table behind the next partition?
of the feast to come, Mark Branson explained
to me the hardcore dishes above a vindaloo, and
how in his youth he could take a curry of fire
and smoke in his stride. I just wanted
to know when he would start sending me loads of
ASCII about his Falcon tower project that's
been going on for what seems like an eternity.
When my seekh
kebabs turned up (minus sizzling crisp onions
that I so like), I forgot my own name and systematically demolished
them, following through with a portion
of vegetable samosas. Being a condiment fiend,
I kept all the little dishes of spices and sauces hidden
from view so they wouldn't be taken away when
the main course came.
Similar in texture
to Spanish chorizo, and also
spicy, but quite different flavour.
was pushing for ideas to promote JagFest 2004.
Even as I write this, it's only dawned on me
now how close we are. So: Everyone, come to
JagFest 2004. There, done my bit.
the subject of magazines, Nick had just taken
delivery of some copies of the new English version
of the French ST Magazine (see the review in
this issue). He didn't bring any with him so
had to take orders and mail them out later.
was hoping to buy some VCS 2600 games from Ryan,
having missed the opportunity last year because
my brain didn't register, but in the meantime
he had alternative ideas for them. I'll
let him off, as he will still be saving some
T-shirt from an Atari club in
it the latest Jeff Minter game?
No, it's an empty beer bottle!
did manage to find us eventually and the people
sitting by the wall shifted along and got cosy
to make space. He brought along a new 2600 game
he just got from AtariAge, Oystron. The product
artwork and manual looked superb.
we were all full of curry by 21:00. Derryck,
Peter and Ian decided to go home at this point.
The rest of us went in search of drinks.
our first stop was not open, even though the
lights and signs were all on, so we left as
quickly as we came. The Australian bar was even
rowdier than before so we settled for the
quiet(er) Irish pub, where we could at least
hear each other without screaming like lunatics.
Rayson and Nick Harlow.
had a half and I can still put
my finger on my nose..."
is an Irish pub. Elliot drinks
Guinness, Ryan drinks Guinness.
Mark Branson and I had a long chat about Falcon accelerators
and 68060 chips, the latter of which Elliot
has been buying up like there's no tomorrow,
in the hope of finding one that will go over
72 MHz, or even one of the elusive Rev. 6 so
he can join the 100 MHz club. Mark was good
enough to hang around chatting until I left,
because he had his empty Falcon case in the
boot of his car, ready to give to me for some
the time I did leave, Mark Rayson and Sty were
probably the last men standing. A great time
was had by all, we'll do it again for sure.
- The final
bill was £267.90.
- Three of
were CT60 owners.
- Three had
- One of each
belonged to CiH.
- Nine people
had an Atari Falcon of some sort.
- We had two
ladies helping devour the curry.
- Still, two plates
of pilau rice were mysteriously left over.