News Team Current issue History Online Support Download Forum @Pouet

01 - 02 - SE - 03 - 04 - 05 - 06 - 07 - 08 - 09 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14

Alive 6

CiH'S Computer Shows Nostalgia data bank!

This is the follow-up article hinted at strongly in the last issue's  coding 
party  retrospective.  In  here,  are as many of the past computer shows and 
related events that I attended.  This will probably not be a hundred percent 
record, as some of the very early shows may well have slipped completely out 
of my brain. After 1990, I developed a useful habit of documenting the shows 
that I went to,  for this funny diskmag thing called "Maggie", so the record 
should be more or less complete from there. Anyway, here we go.

Show #1 
Personal Computer World Show. 
Olympia London. 
Summer 1985.

Here's where it all begins, right here..

You  never  forget  your  first time (ahem!) and that  goes  for  the  first
computer  show  you go to as well.  In my case,  this was the 1985  Personal
Computer World (PCW) show which was held at Olympia in London. At that time,
I had no interest in Atari,  indeed the ST was only just being launched that
year.  I don't even remember seeing it there,  but it might have been,  in a
behind  closed doors shown only to a select few fashion.  At that time,  the
interesting  but  obscure 8-bit computer with some cool custom chips  and  a
funny half-melted look called the 'Enterprise' was my computer of choice.

It  was  a glorious sunny day,  sometime in July or August,  perfect  summer
weather in fact,  and I travelled down with a C64 owner called Clive,  who I
was friendly with at the time.  Most usefully,  he had a car, which I didn't
back then.  We even managed to find our way through central London,  never a
great place for traffic, without much trouble at all.

Once we got in,  we found that the Enterprise computers people had organised
a  big stand for the show.  As the retail presence for Enterprise wasn't too
awe-inspiring  on the street,  this was the perfect opportunity to catch  up
with  the  new software that was coming out for it.  The majority  of  games
tended to be ports from the ZX Spectrum,  the route of least resistance, but
I  most remember being impressed by a game called 'Sorcery' which  used  the
available hardware a lot more (which was in fact a conversion of an  Amstrad
CPC  game,  but never mind!) There was also a neat version of Speccy  vector
line  favourite  '3D Starstrike'.  To round up,  there was an entirely home-
produced  Manic Minor sudden death dungeon game called 'Devils Lair',  which
did  Lemmings  sized  tiny sprites dying in dozens of  positions  of  sudden
agonising death wonderfully. I loved them all, and glanced around at some of
the  funny little programs that people had brought in with them to show  the
Enterprise big cheeses.  Remember that there wasn't such a thing as a formal
'demo scene' at that time, but some of these things were getting close.

I  don't  remember a lot about the rest of the show,  apart from  a  general
feeling  of being impressed enough to want to go back in the future.  I  may
even have had my first Jeff Minter sighting there,  but memory is unclear on
this  point?  The  last  notable memory from this first show,  is of  nearly
getting killed in a motorway pile up on the way home,  but Clive was able to
slam  on  the  brakes in good time,  at the cost of clouds of  burnt  rubber
drifting slowly skywards. Oh how we laughed, once we'd stopped shaking...

Show #2 
Personal World Computer Show. 
Olympia London. 
Summer 1986.

It all collapses, but there is a taste of things to come...

There was a revisit for the following year's PCW in 1986.  By that time, the
company known as Enterprise computers had collapsed, (like many others.) The
remnants had coalesced around the 'Independent Enterprise User Group' (IEUG)
who  gathered  together in a twilight sense not unknown to readers  of  this
magazine  in a similar context with fuji-badged hardware?  They had  somehow
managed to blag stand-space, which was a big pile of noise and semi-coherent
happenings.  There weren't any organised releases,  but people bobbed up and
showed off their half-finished but oh-so-interesting homebrew products, then
disappeared again.

This  turned out to be a hell of a lot of fun,  in a beleagured romantic "Us 
against the world" sense. This was my first encounter with the minority non-
commercial world, it would not be my last! Much bigger fixes of that sort of
thing were on the way!

That  was  really the end of that cycle of show-going,  but things were  all
going to change again in the next few years..

Show #3 
Personal Computer World Show. 
Earls Court London. 
Summer 1988?

April 1987,  a big box turns up that changed directions.  Inside, there is a
smaller grey box,  with white keys,  and a fuji logo on it. The rest you can
guess by now!

Many of my early memories of ST ownership were tied up with an  organisation
that  I  occasionally mentioned in one or two issues of  Maggie  called  the
Wellingborough computer club.  I first found out a lot of things there,  the
first  ST/Amiga  rivalry,  a  great supply of "try before you  buy"  (ahem!)
software,  and some of my first contacts with the products of the demo scene
at that time.

Back  in the late eighties,  they were a big and well organised outfit,  and
even managed to run a coach trip to the big autumn computer show,  which was
still known as the PCW,  having grown bigger and grander,  and moving to the
more prestigious venue at Earls Court by this time.

In  fact,  some  of  us  went quite a bit further and  registered  as  trade
visitors,  managing  to  fit  a preemptive visit in during  a  less  crowded
weekday.  This  was not the first time I used this trick,  as later parts of
this  article  will  reveal.  I went down midweek with a  chap  called  Gary
Marden, he got into ST ownership early, (but got out and into PeeCee's quite
early too..)

The  ST  was  at its height as a mainstream commercial  games  machine.  The
abiding  memories  of attending the shows at this time include lots  of  big
stands  showing lots of games.  I remember being keen to see what  Rainbird,
the  stars behind 'Carrier Command' were up to next.  Somehow in amongst all
the  entertainment,  a couple of Lost Boys had sneaked in a tiny tatty stand
of their own in there!

We ended up doing two or three like that before things changed again.

In 1990,  my show attendance started to hit warp speed, the early and middle
'90's reveal an insane dedication to catch as many Atari events going on  as
possible.  1990 in particular was very very significant,  as my going to the
16-Bit Show was to change the nature of my participation on the Atari  scene

Show #4 
The Atari 90's Show. 
Royal Horticultural Halls London. 
June 1990.

This  was  different from the run of shows that I previously  attended. This
was a  pure Atari show.  As Shiuming Lai,  for whom this was his first show,
said, there was "None of that Amiga crap there!" Indeed, Atari dominated the
proceedings  with a big  stand overwhelming the hall,  showing off their new
models, the Portfolio,  and the brand new handheld super-console,  the Lynx.
Atari Corp  were in a bullishly self-confident  frame of mind in those days,
even going so far as  having  Atari-equipped  musicians doing their stuff on
stage, and running  various seminars and teach-ins.  But for me, this was my
most significant UK show for a number of other good reasons.

I had my first contact with the beast called "Maggie". We had been Lost Boys
spotting at previous events,  but this was their biggest and most successful
presence  yet.  Quite apart from Maggie,  they had just freshly released the
Mindbomb demo,  and were selling a huge swathe of new demos that hadn't been
seen before.  From there,  my entire diskzine writing career started.  I had
been interested in the demo scene for a year or so previously,  as far as my
limited  contacts  via  the  computer club and the Page  6  PD  library  had

Suddenly,  Maggie pushed this interest ten times faster, and I wanted to get
in really deeply. I couldn't code or draw, and had a tin ear for music, so I
did the one thing that I could do,  which was to write, and the rest you all
very well know about!

There was the little matter of looking for a replacement for my first  dying
STFM,  and  the  STe  purchased is still here today!  I haven't repeated  my
mistake in letting go of my Enterprise 64,  one such error in a  lifetime is
just too many!  Sammy Joe wrote this one up pretty well, in the second issue
of Maggie.

Show #5 
European Computer Entertainment Show. 
Earls Court London. 
September 1990.

The renamed PCW show,  now titled the "European Computer Entertainment Show"
(ECES)  followed in Sept 1990.  This involved a return visit to Earls Court,
where  we  were  treated to some hugely crushing crowds,  glimpses  of  A.N. 
"disappointing  in  the  Flesh" Cool showing off his TCB  Tracker  (my  main
motivation for going, and all too brief hi there's aimed at those demo scene
personalities that you could pick out of the surging crowds. (Said greetings
to  be returned by blank expressions of "Who the hell are you?!")  This  one
was  reviewed  twice,  in  issue  three of Maggie by  Sammy  Joe,  and  most
entertainingly,  by Mr Pink in Maggie 4. Me and him in the same hall, and we
had no knowledge of each other whatsoever!

Show #6 
Computer Shopper Show (Xmas Shopper). 
Alexandra Palace London. 
December 1990.

Following on from that was the very memorable and enjoyable Computer Shopper
Xmas  1990  Show,  where  I  got to spend some "quality  time"  with  Maggie
Meister,  Sammy  Joe.  Precise  memory is unclear on this point,  he may have
introduced  me  to  Mr  Pink for the first time,  or that may  have  been  a
tragically undocumented early 1991 16 Bit Show Novotel edition?

Sammy  Joe went on a rabid freebie blag frenzy,  and we tore into the  paper
coated mess that was the press centre, all in the name of "review material".
I  was  sorely  impressed,  but  only managing to end  up  with  a  STampede
subscription for myself.  Otherwise,  boxshifters predominated,  albeit ones
with games that were fresh and interesting.

After  the massive enjoyment that the previous year had given,  1991  turned
out to be something of a letdown.  The warning signs were there, with a poor
turnout,  product-wise for the Spring Shopper show, the most memorable thing
about that event was the abundance of cool people there.  There was also the
case  of the cancelled Autumn show,  which turned into a subdued trade  only
effort, and a totally lame Xmas Shopper to close with.

(Retrofit  note:-  The  comments above have to be modified  slightly,  as  I 
subsequently  "found" a pair of 16-Bit Show reviews for the winter and  late 
spring  period.  These  were not ground-breaking shows,  but pleasant enough 
events,  which go quite a way to redressing the previous downbeat assessment 
for 1991.)

Show #7 
Computer Shopper Show (Spring Shopper). 
Alexandra Palace London. 
May 1991.

Another  memorable  show came about at Alexandra Palace.This  was  the  late
Spring  1991  Shopper  Show.  This was not so great for the quality  of  the
exhibits,  mainly  being of interest to purchasers of replacement keyboards.
But it was a really cool 'people' show.  Jez San, of Starglider, and a whole
lot of other things fame turned up to get *his* replacement keyboards  here,
but  stopped  in the bar with the rest of us.  A large chunk of the UK  demo
scene, Lost Boys, Subhumans in Turkey, Fingerbobs, and a lot more filled the
small space,  and the talk got taller as more alcohol got consumed.  We also
did  get to see a prescreen of the Lost Boys final demo "Ooh Crikey,  Wot  a 

This  was  the  first show that I really felt like I was  inside  the  inner
workings  of the Atari demo scene.  This was shortly before the dispersal of
that  talented  band into many diverse areas of the  software  entertainment
industry.  This  show  was quite well covered,  with reviews by Sammy Joe in
issue 5 of Maggie, and myself writing in issue 7.

Show #8 
The European Computer Entertainment Show (Trade only!) 
Earls Court London. 
September 1991.

My  second (or third?) event of 1991 brought about a bit of a major  change.
The  major event in the annual showgoing calender,  the ECES abruptly locked
its doors to the public,  and went to being a trade only event.  Undeterred,
some  of us sneaked in,  with the help of a falsified name badge,  the owner
being taken ill just before the show.

It  was  a solitary visiting party that reported on the  strange  scene  for
Maggie  9.  At  that  stage,  I  was very unconfident,  never getting to  do
anything about a business card given to me by a female distributors rep, who 
was pretty tasty.  I think my chances of bedroom action with her,  seriously
thinking about it,  would have been pretty good, if I had ordered 4000 boxes
of US Gold produced tat under my shop manager disguise,  done the deed,  and
then fled the country before the consequences came knocking at my door!

The show itself showed a games industry in transition,  moving away from the
ST/Amiga  16 bit duopoly,  and giving the 16 bit consoles,  particularly the
Sega Megadrive centre stage.

Show #9 
Xmas Shopper Show. 
Wembley Arena London. 
December 1991.

Next  up  was  the  next  Computer Shopper Show,  this  was  the  1991  Xmas
edition.My  Maggie 9 review was pretty disparaging,  finding little of Atari
related interest at Wembley Arena.  The comment "Pisspoor recession special"
sums it up pretty well.

After  the desert of the last year,  surely things were going to get better?
Well it started to,  then fizzled out.  We began with a very interesting 16-
bit show which gave us Atari in their last big public UK appearance, but the
trend was a steep decline following that, with an unspectacular Autumn show,
and a frankly crap Xmas Shopper.

Show #10 
The 16-Bit Show. 
Wembley Arena London. 
February 1992.

There were new signs of something interesting by February 1992. This was the
time  of  the  umpteenth  16  Bit show  at  the  traditional  venue  of  the
Wembley Arena.  For  the  first time in a  long time,  Atari  attended  with
a  show-dominating stand. Seen on there for the first, and possibly the last
time,  was an early version of the 'ST Book',  a neato ST laptop, and a Lynx
development kit, which consisted of a Lynx hooked up to an Amiga!

In a further concession to enlightened attitudes, they  allowed  user access
and interaction  with  some  of  their  display machines.  In this light, Mr
Pink got busy  in some  STOS  related outrage!  We also  managed to show off 
Maggie 8, the New Mode new shell edition, which was spotted  by Mr Atari UK,
and suitably impressed him.  It impressed him to the point  where he  took a
copy  and their  press and PR department  decided to recycle parts of it for
their next new machine announcement! Who remembers the STEE?!

I think that was the sort of  payback they were looking for,  for letting us
play with their kit?  I managed  to write up these happenings  in  a strange
'alphabetti' styled review for Maggie 9.

Show #11 
Future Entertainment Show. 
Earls Court, London. 
November 1992.

Not  a  lot  happened  until  November 1992,   when  we  went  down  to  the
replacement  event for the cancelled ECES,  the "Future Entertainment Show",
which  took  over the empty space at Earls Court.  This was my  first  event
attended  with  the doyennes of the later era Wellingborugh  Computer  Club.
Mark  and  Dave  James,  often  known under a series of  pseudonyms  in  the
twilight software redistribution industry!  This show was very crowded, even
by  sardine  special standards,  lots of people without pre-ordered  tickets
were  simply locked out at the front gates.  Apart from the usual silliness,
we  were seriously Falcon spotting,  1992 being the year of waiting for  the
Falcon. And we managed to find the Hisoft (or Rombo?) machine, with a German
language  keyboard.  It was chained down (curses!) and resisted our attempts
to 'give it a new home'!

Show #12 
Xmas Shopper Show. 
Olympia London. 
November 1992.

For some reason,  in the latter part of November,  I did it all again.  This
was  the  Xmas Shopper Show at Olympia.  This was even more of a total  dead
loss than last year's non-event,  as my Maggie 11 write-up revealed.  It was
interesting  to read back to see how far back the dreaded PeeCee  dominated,
and it was doing so even at that early stage.

1993 was a transition year.  We saw the pattern of events going from the old
style big consumer shows,  to smaller scale and more intimate shows. The old
events  such as the 16-bit show were on their way out,  but we kick off with
another  one  of  those  life-changing events,  and  one  coming  from  some
seemingly unpromising surroundings...

Show #13
The 16-Bit Show.
Wembley Arena London.
February 1993.

The February 1993 16-Bit show was a format in decline and nearing the end of
its  natural life.  it was also the show in which the Falcon was first  seen
properly  in  the UK.  Atari pulled off the amazing feat of launching a  new
machine  with  absolutely  no budget to spare,  and a guest spot  by  Darryl
Still,  the Atari UK marketing (ho ho!) manager wielding a wonky microphone.
The bulk of the work was done by Compo,  and those brave exhibitors who were
actively interested in the new machine,  such as HiSoft,  Gasteiner etc. For
reasons  connected with acute maschochism and extreme desire to  purchase  a
Falcon,  I managed to do so,  from a stand being run by a world famous music
store, the Brixton Exchange Mart. They didn't actually have hardware to sell
there and then, no that would have been far too easy!

In spite of the unsparing description,  and extreme claustrophobia caused by
the  exhibitors  determination to economise on floor space,  it  was  fairly
enjoyable. Old style Maggie remnant, Alan Johnson, Felice, and Mark and Dave
were involved at various stages,  Alan and I deciding to go *twice*!  - Why?
I'm still not sure?   This one was covered by Felice,  in a quick and to the
point report in Maggie issue 11,  and by me,  in a recycled from the aborted
HP Source magazine rambling epic for Maggie 12.

Show #14 
The L'est Get Serious Show (Ohh Dear!) 
Hammersmith Novotel London. 
August 1993.

The first of the new style mini-shows kicked off in August 1993 in a room at
the  Hammersmith  Novotel.  This was the "L'eST get Serious" show,  a  clear
award  winner for the clumsiest title champions cup.  This turned out to  be
something  of  a  niche show for those rich GEM enthusiasts  looking  to  do
something  hefty with image processing on their new Falcons.  Any gaming  or
demo  scene  presence  had been almost squeezed out of  the  door,  Sinister 
Developments  clinging  by  their  fingernails to  a  spot  near  the  front
entrance.  A  good  point in my Maggie report,  was that all of the stuff on
show  there  was actually available to buy,  even if most of it favoured  TT
owners with desktop publishing ambitions.

Show #15 
The London Atari User Show. (With an event at Manchester seen by Mr Pink.) 
Alexandra Palace London 
September 1993.

In a not dissimilar vein,  the "London Atari User Show" kicked off in one of
the smaller function spaces at Alexandra Palace in September. Points to note
include  wide  distribution  of new style Maggie 12 to  as  many  people  as
possible.  The ST Review editor took a copy, and then did a diskmag round-up
with  Maggie  9 as the example issue!  (Caaah!) This show was  where  Felice
acquired his Falcon. he wasn't silly, waiting until the prices had dropped a
little  bit  from their initial sky-high levels!  The reportage  was  nicely
covered by Felice in Maggie 13.

Show #16 
The 16-Bit Show. 
Wembley Arena. 
November 1993.

The  November  '93 16-Bit Show confirmed that this event was well  past  its
use-by date,  and beginning to smell a little bit.  It played at the Wembley
Arena  like  a  seriously thinned out version of  the  previous  'L'est  get
Serious' show, with other formats, predominantly PeeCee, and spread all over

It got a short write up in issue 13.

Now  1994 was a lot more interesting than the bland pasteurised crop of  GEM
applications biased events,  that 1993 had brought us.  We went to our first
real  trade shows,  and the first wave of a new sort of Atari show that  had
something  to appeal to everybody.  This year is also notable for the  sheer
number  of  different  events,  with five shows,  not to mention  a  Science
Fiction convention (Inconceivable) taking place this year, no wonder I never
got to go to any coding parties back then, where would I have got the time!?

Show #17                           
The European Computer Trade Show (ECTS) 
Islington Design Centre London. 
April 1994.

We went to our first 'proper' trade show,  The European Computer Trade Show,
henceforth  to  be  known  as the ECTS in April '94.  This was  held  at  an
entirely new venue, the Islington Design centre. The attending team included
the  tried  and  tested  James  brothers  combination.  At  that  time,  our
mainstream  interest was heavily focused on the exciting things  that  Atari
were going to be doing with the Jaguar.  We did manage to get to see it, but
not  really close up,  as Atari were operating a strict door policy on their
stand,  excluding anyone who didn't look like Sam Tramiel.  Still, we peered
into  the  far  distance,   catching  hopeful  glimpses  of  Jaguar  related
happenings onscreen.

And of the Tramiel family, we encountered Sam the man on the stairs, decided
he  looked  less  impressive  in real life,  and left him to  it.  This  was
adequately  covered in Maggie 14.  There was an unfortunate afterpart,  as a
bout  of post-Tramiel stress disorder manifested itself in a fit  of  sudden
onset food poisoning for poor old Mark!

Show #18 
"Atari Show"(?) Not sure of official name for it? 
Hammersmith Novotel London. 
July 1994.

Back to reality, from the glitzy heights of corporate thingydom in July '94.
This  was  the  latest  Atari Show at the Novotel.  A  new  organising  team
breathed fresh life into the concept, and reintroduced the missing from last
year  element  of fun.  This turned out to be quite a small scale show,  but
also  a  successful attempt at revival.  Notable attendees included  Caspian 
Software with STe enhanced 3-D blaster 'Zero 5'.  Local boys Impact Software
with  ultimate  footy sim 'Team',  and Merlin PDL showing off the  fantastic

In  the  kick-ass  corner,  was Doug Little,  Neil Stuart,  and Dave  Encill
showing off Apex Media,  with Doug sneaking in some never seen demo routines
for the Falcy.  Most of the usual suspects,  from Compo, to System Solutions
were  there,  with a decent and convincing range of stuff.  Felice travelled
down  with  me,  and  we  met up with James Mathews,  who had yet to  go  to
Taunton. Covered in Maggie 15, this was a good 'un!

Show #19 
The European Computer Trade Show. 
Islington Design Centre London. 
September 1994.

The next step was back to the ECTS,  the Autumn edition. This burst all over
a  stunned  Islington  in  September.  This  event  had  high  entertainment
potential,  starting  with us sharing an entrance queue with Chris Hulsbeck,
one  of  the  demigods of C64 music.  Of course,  we were far too  lame  and
unconfident to dare to speak to him! Shame!

The official reason for our attendance was a bit of a let-down. There was no
Atari  presence whatsoever,  and not very much Jag stuff in evidence,  apart
from a lavishly appointed Ubisoft stand showing off Rayman.  We also spotted
a  dummy  issue  of a never appearing 'Jaguar  Interactive  gaming'  console

This show managed to make up for the Atari content deficit by amusing us  in
other  ways.  For  example,  there was the distressing case of the PR  girls 
using  prostitute  disguises  too  successfully!  Or  was  that  prostitutes 
dressing  up as PR girls?!  We also had our first encounter with the  dismal
corporate  jargonspeak that would fill far too much of the trade press.  Now
that's what I call 'Infotainment'!

Dave  played a PeeCee game called Magic Carpet against the man that Mr  Pink
would  come to call "boss" in distant future times,  Peter Molyneux himself.
Mark  'Luke Skywalker' Hamill walked into a cupboard in front of me  on  the
Electronic Arts stand and disappeared from the show! Oh how we all scratched
our heads in puzzlement! Dave managed to crash Doom 2 which was running as a
preview,  what  a little hooligan he was!  But it turned out that the God of
Trade  Shows  was actively wrathful against Mark for a second time,  as  his
wallet went walkies in a busy London street afterwards! This was written up,
ladies  of the night dragged out of their natural street corner habitat  and
screaming into the daylight and all, in Maggie 15.

Show #20 
Future Entertainment Show. 
Olympia? Don't remember the venue that well? 
October 1994.

We picked up on the aftermath of the ECTS,  open to the general public,  and
known as the Future Entertainment Show shortly after in Oct. This show had a
more convincing Atari/Jaguar presence.  We got a big splash,  with an entire
stand  devoted to the release of Aliens vs Predator on the Jag.  There was a
large  amount  of  of PeeCee stuff and adult themed Seedy  Roms  caught  the
interest  of  our  visiting  party,   made  up  of  a  large  chunk  of  the
Wellingborough  Computer  Club.  I  would  describe this show  as  okay  but
generally unspectacular. A report was seen in Maggie 16.

Show #21 
Atari Show (Xmas Edition.) 
Hammersmith Novotel London. 
December 1994.

And  bringing up the rear in a packed show programme for 1994,  was the Xmas
Atari Show,  once again at the Novotel in December.  The big news,  that set
hearts  beating  in  righteous indignation,  was the forced merger  of  GEM-
daddish  but  popular  newstand magazine 'ST Review'  with  the  glossy  but
increasingly  innacurate and annoying ST Format.  This was a move which  was
liked by nobody! A cunningly disguised 'forum', or stand up argument was the
highlight near the end, which allowed people to vent their anger against the
Future   Publishing   Representatives!   There   were   some   other   major
announcements,  such  as  the  acquisition  of  the  Falcon  technology  and
manufacturing by C-Lab.

There  was  a lot to see apart from the verbal fireworks,  with  established
favourites complemented by plenty of new stuff on sale properly.  So we were
able  to purchase Apex Media if we could afford it.  The missing Jeff Minter
'official'  Atari commissioned game for the Falcon,  Llamazap finally turned
up,  as did the equally missing Pinball Dreams. Obsession was available, and
a  smart  Wolfenstein  styled fantasy adventure called  Towers  II.  On  the
serious side,  we were seeing a lot of MagiC. This edition of the Atari Show
was  spiky,  but  fun!  We  saw it all in the company of James  Mathews  and
friends, and wrote copiously about it in Maggie 16.

1995  represented something of a slowdown from the manic activity  that  had
characterised 1994.  This year was going to be make or break for Atari,  and
there  didn't seem to be quite the same amount or quality of events  around.
Still, never mind, don't forget this was the year of the Maggie 5th birthday

Show #22 
The European Computer Trade Show. 
Olympia London 
March 1995.

It was the the Spring ECTS in March that we first turned to.  This had got a
venue upgrade,  as it was now back at the very familiar environs of Olympia!
I  personally preferred the Design Centre at Islington,  it was classier and
less  barn-like,  but  too small in the end I suppose.  As if to make up for
their neglect of the previous ECTS,  Atari were back in town,  and how! They
had a satisfactorily large stand with lots of games for the Jaguar,  much of
it  half  or  quarter  finished.  I managed to beat some Atari  UK  dude  at
JagDoom with a little touch of rocket-launcher lurking in dark corners!

Atari  were showing their CD-ROM add-on off,  with lots of games,  that were
interesting  but mostly not really that next-gen to be honest.  Lots of cool
people  turned,  up  too.  We saw Tyrem of the Respectables, Marc Rosocha of 
Eclipse,  also Gordon Gibson from Sinister Developments.  We talked to these
for quite a while.  The default combination of Dave and Mark came down, with
Felice  following  behind.  We also bumped into the Merlin PDL  people,  who
stuffed  a  handout  showing a first impression of 'Sub  Station'  into  our
freebie packs, and we were impressed.

There was a lot to see that was non-Atari too.  We got our first large scale
and  close up sightings of the console that was to sweep all before it,  the
Sony Playstation.  Sony were really out to impress, managing to colonise one
end of the main hall. We managed to make some of our own entertainment, with
the  tragically  short-lived  "Flight of the 'Amazon  Queen'  paper  replica
aeroplane"  from the top balcony.  This was another packed show,  impression
wise, and it turned up for review in Maggie 17.

Show #23 
The Spotlight Show. 
Hammersmith Novotel London. 
June 1995.

The  first  'real world' show that year was the  rather  downbeat  Spotlight
Show,  which kicked off in June,  in some disused Novotel basement. It was a
queasy combined Atari and Amiga event,  somewhat low budget,  and patronised
(all  meanings  of that word operative!) by disgruntled  moaning  low-browed
Amiga owners.

Main events included a determined effort by Merlin, with lots of Sub Station
and  Amiga versions of their other games,  which were not appreciated by the
asshole  Commodore element of the attending public.  Talk about ingratitude!
There was also a confirmed sighting, and trying out of a proper C-Lab badged
Falcon.  The  head  dude of Gasteiner,  the main organisers,  mistook me and
James  Mathews for proper journalists!  A mistake which people are generally
very  careful  to avoid making!  This one ended up in a  celebratory  themed
Maggie 18.

Show #24 
Atari World Show. 
National Motorcycle Museum Birmingham, and Marlborough Hotel London. 
December 1995.

We  managed  a  return to the Atari World show before the year  was  out  in
December.  This  diverged  somewhat  from the previous 1994-style  shows  in
venue.  As  we got two days worth,  consisting of one day each in Birmingham
and  London.  This  could be considered to be the prototype of the  Goodmans 
format  which was to be seen over the following couple of years.  The  first
day started off at a venue with which we were to become very familiar  with,
the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham.

Myself  and Felice attended,  soon to be surrounded by a large attendance of
the Maggie team faithful.  It seemed like a rerun of the 5th Birthday party,
without  the heat,  gross overcrowding,  or early morning road drill noises!
The  Reservoir  Gods,  Kev 'Taff' Davies,  and Mike Noyce danced  attendance
here.  This  event had more of a serious bias.  The Afterburner '040 was the
expensive  must  have  item there,  and we got to see lots of  nice  Systems
Solutions kit there too.  There were still new games showing,  with a couple
of fresh puzzlers specially flown in from 'Confused' German coders.

Sunday  transferred  to  London,  in  a  very  crowded  small  room  in  the
Marlborough Hotel,  off Tottenham Court Road.  We got to play with an unseen
Black  Scorpion  Jaguar  overhead viewed shootemup.  We also ran  into  Rich 
Davey,  and  John  VoGue  Nott.  Tronic could be heard somewhere across  the
crowds.  Atari VCS consoles were on sale for a tenner, ahh, happy days! This
went to press in Maggie 19.

Our  extravagant  showgoing habit came back roughly down to earth  in  1996,
there was just one Atari related event in the UK, yes, just the one! To some
extent,  we  weren't worried,  as this was the year that we started going to
international  coding parties,  such as the event called S*posi*m at Easter.
There was also a revived local and club scene,  which was enjoyable, but the
deep decline of bigger UK based events was very very worrying

There  was  an expected Spring Atari show,  along the lines of the  previous
years Autumn show, but this got cancelled abruptly at the death of the Atari
World  magazine.  There  was  a  serious attempt  to  put  some  heavyweight
sponsorship behind a possible Autumn show, but this went west when ST Format
suddenly  went down!  This was very nearly the early death of any  organised 
national  scale UK atari activity,  but frenzied activity during the  summer
ensured both a new paper magazine, which was to become the subscription only
'Atari  Computing',  and a new backer for the Autumn show,  when an unlikely
middle-aged  knight  on  an off-white charger called  Mike  Goodman  stepped

Show #26 
Autumn Atari Show ("Goodman Show"). 
National Motorcycle Museum Birmingham, and Four Pillars Hotel Osterley. 
September 1996.

The Autumn Atari Show, known informally as the 'Goodman Show'  took place in
September of 1996. The year off had provided useful rest and refreshment for
the concept, and interest in the show, from both the punters and exhibitors,
was pleasingly high.

This was yet another bite at the Atari revival cherry,  as we saw the launch
of  the  new  paper  magazine 'Atari  Computing'.   This  show  has  another
significant 'first', as Mike Goodman somehow judges us fit to occupy our own
stand  space there!  In those days,  the Maggie Team was a superb production
machine, and we managed to organise an entire issue in six weeks almost from
scratch  to launch at the show!  The resulting Maggie 21 was a  masterpiece,
with a heavily reworked ST menu shell and stunning dentro-sized intro  given
to  us  by Tat.  There was a cool Falcon intro from Hydroxid,  and loads  of
articles from the rest of the team, all done just in the nick of time!

We  were  back  at last year's venue.  the National  Motorcycle  Museum  for
Saturday,  with  a  visit  to Osterly on Sunday.  Felice and Dave 'ST  plus' 
Hollis  travelled  over  as part of the stand crew.  We found that  a  large
display sized telly was great for showing off Tat's intro,  but it was a lot
of  work to carry!  Our stand space for the Birmingham leg was very limited,
but we managed.  It largely acted as an impromptu cloakroom for the UK atari
demo  scene.  Apart  from  the old favourites,  one of them showing  preview
screens  for  a demo called Sono',  we first met Ed Cleveland here.  he  was
showing  a  very early version of his Donkey Island.  We also saw Apex 3  in
prototype form, the very powerful Hades '060 TOS clone, something like Magic
PeeCee emulation, and lots of boxes were shifted.

Lots  of paper was shifted too,  Atari Computing was a wild success and they
sold out...

Over  to Sunday in London.  We group at the Four Pillars Hotel in  Osterley,
which was quite near to  Heathrow Airport, I drive down in the lashing rain,
with Felice,  but without Mr Hollis.  We meet Matt Smith for the first time,
and  Arto turns up to see how his intro looks.  Felice also manages to annoy
the arse off Merlin PDL,  whose peaceful contemplation of the show is rudely
shattered  by outbursts of the Obnoxious Demo.  Must be something to do with
our stand being set up on a stage, and bringing out theatrical tendencies in
Mr  Felice!?  The  final  minutes turn into a massive device  chaining  copy
party, with the active assistance of the Black Scorpion dudes.

With the entire weekend, and week before, counting Maggie 21 taken up by it,
this  show  was great fun,  but extremely hard work.  It was an  interesting
'insiders'  window  into how these things worked.  We weren't deterred  from
doing  more  like  this,  as the rest of this account will  reveal.  It  was
described by me in some detail in Maggie 22.

During  1997,  the  Goodman shows were maintained,  more or less in the same
format  that  we  saw  in  the autumn of 1996.  Some of  us  were  going  to
Siliconvention  that  spring,  and  screaming "Yesss!" when a  certain  demo
beginning  with 'S' was shown onscreen.  Not me though (grrr!) I was in  the
throes of upgrade related turmoil, as we will see!

Show #27 
Spring Atari Show. 
National Motorcycle Museum Birmingham, and Four Pillars Hotel Osterley. 
April 1997.

The  Spring Atari Show came along shortly after Easter.  This was the second
Goodmans  show,  which  followed  the  same  format  for  days  and  venues.
Birmingham  Saturday, Osterley  on Sunday,  nice easy rhythm to it.  We were
given  stand  space  and were exhibiting once again.   This  time,  my  main
machine,  and  pride  and joy Falcy was out of commission,  owing to a bodge
fitted  nemesis  upgrade.  It was in the sick computer hospital waiting  for
some soldering iron inspired rescusitation. In the meantime, I had buggerall
to  show,  apart  from  a  hastily improvised "preview" of  the  90  percent
completed Maggie 23.  This ran, using a semi-custom GEM shell, hacked around
a bit more, on my crappy old STFM. People came and saw, and for some reason,
thought this was an entirely new shell to replace Tat's modified Delta Force 
masterpiece!  I  got  tired of explaining it wasn't,  approximately  halfway

This we time in direct competition with the adjacent ST Plus stand. Dave was
launching  a new issue of his mag,  inspired by our effort at the last show,
methinks! We played too much Sonoluminescenz instead of Obnoxious, but still
couldn't  get  enough!  Many nice Atari scene dudes turned up,  with Mr Pink
showing  off his Godboy for the first time in public.  We had managed to get
hold  of the ultimate Falcy 3D game 'Running',  and that got a lot of screen
space on Felice's Falcon.

Back to Osterly again on Sunday. Matt Smith smugly revealed his successfully
self-Nemesised Falcon!  Damn him! There were no really big products ready in
time for this show,  apart from some exotic Pro-music hardware. We did see a
nearly  ready Apex 3,  or Apex Alpha,  (which subsequently didn't..) and the
odd new Jaguar game such as Falcon favourite, Towers II on a Jag cartridge.

This was a good follow-up to last Autumn show,  especially with the friendly
rivalry  from the ST Plussers next door,  with a promise of more to come  in
that vein. We wrote it up, both days, in Maggie 23.

Show #28 
Autumn Atari Show. 
National Motorcycle Museum Birmingham, and Four Pillars Hotel Osterley. 
October 1997.

We were back for the Autumn Atari Show in October,  which had another Maggie
issue released there, this time, Maggie 24, with the work in progress Falcon
shell  rewrite,  and swish looking intro from New Beat.  We were back at our
usual places,  Birmingham on Saturday, Osterley for Sunday. This incarnation
was  a bit more tired and lower profile in some respects.  The Stunning Apex
Alpha  was no more.  There was more general bargain-orientated  box-shifting
going  on,  although those dudes from the Console Centre had quite a  lively
Jaguar  based  display,  with  the Jag version of Zero 5 getting  a  lot  of
attention in particular.  System Solutions were lobbing out CAB in its brand
new 2.5 version, which was of direct interest to me now I'd got online.

The new generation of TOS clones, such as Milan and Phenix were being talked
about,  but  unfortunately not seen here.  Maggie 24 turned out to be one of 
the  few wholly new productions there!  Mr Pink was taking the art of Godboy
games  to  new  heights  with a very  slick  and  polished  looking  'Kirbys 
Adventure'.  Indeed  it  was  mistaken for a professional  product  by  some
console  kidz  who asked which company produced it!  The Reservoir Gods  led
scene  people were slightly bored by this show and spent most of their  time
in  the  bar upstairs.  Down in the main hall,  a huge bloke wearing a  kilt 
roamed freely!

Sunday  took  a  strange turn at Osterly,  as John Hayward,  a  figure  more
recently  associated with coding parties donated a crumbling Toshiba  Laptop
for a slightly odd realtime article. Some genuinely interesting people, such
as Mike MUG UK Mee made it here, as does Mike James, the most senior of them
all!  It  culminated  in an end of show gathering in the Osterly hotel  bar,
where much arm wrestling,  and ripping the piss from Tronic took place!  The
Sunday  was the more interesting and enjoyable of the two days,  which was a
reversal  of the normal running order for this sort of event.  Saturday  was
flat  and lacking in atmosphere.  The after show report in Maggie 25 is most
memorable for *that* photo of Felice in his heroin addiction days.

This was to be the final Goodmans show, what was coming next??

The  outlook for gathering together the Atari faithful under one  roof  went
vague and undecided for a while in 1998.  We had a major expedition to sunny
Finland  to  keep  us busy in the early part of  the  year,  internet  based
activities  were  coming  more to the fore,  but a good  old  fashioned  get
together  seemed to be out of the question,  at least until those nice Atari
Computing  people,  previously happy to stick at being a major attraction at
someone  else's  show,  decide to take matters into their hands.  The Autumn 
Atari Computing Convention (ACC),  held within the confines of the All Micro 
Show (AMS) is the result.

Show #29 
Atari Computing Convention (Inside the All-Micro Show.) 
The County Showground, Stafford. 
November 1998.

We had a long wait for this one!  All the way to November 1998 in fact. With
the  new  organisers,  came a new venue,  this was in freezing Stafford.  We
managed  to get stand space again,  but with nothing pre-planned,  as Felice
and  Pete  Augustin.  a former ST Plus loyalist,   were sneaking in a bit of
discreet box-shifting of surplus kit on their own behalf.  This show not was
not  a a purist Atari event,  but it combined with a whole bunch of assorted
box  shifters,  second,  third  and fifth hand hardware resellers,  and user
groups for those machines even deader than ours.  Did anyone say Einstein at 
this point?

This  did the Atari part no harm,  to be part of something bigger,  it got a
wider  audience  than the same smallish band of people who  kept  coming  to
Atari only events out of herd loyalty.

The  venue was at the rather outdoorish County Showground in Stafford.  This
was  a  very big and very cold place to be at in November.  Still,  may have
helped  a lot of those pentium machines with insufficient cooling fans!?  In
another  life-change from previous conventions,  I was accompanied by  babe-
femme Nicky person,  whilst she was still in the blind devotion stage of the
relationship, IE. before she knew better. Boy did she suffer! We met up with
Matt  Smith  and his 1968 vintage camper van.  The ACC was a  good  shopping
trip  for me personally,  I managed to acquire the captive Floppyshop Falcon
before doors-open time!  Pink and a large Res Gods contingent manage to make
it,  along  with  several  others.  It was at this event,  we have the  last
confirmed Atari related sighting of Tat, and Kev Taff Davies.

The  extended  break did the format some good,  as people had new things  to
show  at  last.  There was quite a bit of new hardware.  Some of those fancy
Milan  machines  were  in action,  and Dave Encill was showing  the  Eclipse 
graphics  card,  and  of course,  the Centurbo CT2 was available from System
Solutions. Atari Computing impressively organised themselves, indeed, outdid
themselves from previous shows,  with a very professional looking stand. The
level and quality of the Atari presence in the hall was upbeat and lively.

This followed on to an interesting after show party in an adjacent bar.  The
realtime  article,  sponsored  by Matt Smith dragged up some anecdotes  from
some  very  very  drunken Res Gods people by the  end...  (Almost)  all  was
revealed in Maggie 27.

I tend to remember 1999 mainly as the year of Error on Line,  where the demo
loving  part  of the Atari scene got more hardcore,  and dug in.  There were
still  some  moments of UK show related happenings,  but with a  sense  that
things were winding down gently to a stop..

Show #30 
Atari Computing Convention (Inside the All-Micro Show.) 
The County Showground, Stafford. 
April 1999.

There  was another AMS in April.  This was a lesser category event in  every
category  from the bigger and more important pre-Xmas version of  the  show.
Fewer  exhibitors,  less  Atariness,  and not really any major memories from
this  event.  We  didn't  take a stand this time,  which suited  the  female 
freezing person more,  as I was able to spend most as the time with her.  It
had  the  handy  benefit  of  not  being  at  Fallingbostel  sleeping   tent 
temperatures,  which  contributed to the feminine contentment factor greatly
as well.

Show #31 
Atari Computing Convention (Inside the All-Micro Show.) 
The County Showground, Stafford. 
November 1999.

What were we to expect from the first anniversary of the hit 1998 AMS  Show?
Well the fabled,  much lusted after, and nearly mythical Phenix super-Falcon
was finally seen here for the first time!  Well the motherboard was,  and it
wasn't  doing  anything  apart from showing a black  and  yellow  chessboard
pattern. It was also the last time it was seen, as the whole project died on
its arse shortly afterwards, in a spew of defecting Dolmen O/S developers.

The  presence  of  Rodolphe Czuba on the System  Solutions  stand  did  have
another benefit though as he finally patched my CT2 to run properly at last.
We  did  take up more stand space,  combining some box-shifting on  Felice's
part,  with  a  selection  of  classic demos,  and EIL '99  releases  on  my
hardware.  This  was  paired  up with the stunning "Whip!"  sound  to  light
software,  piping  the  demo soundtracks through Whip!  just to do something

This  was also a big farewell to the Atari Computing magazine.  Their  final
issue could be picked up from here.  They had lasted three years,  which was
blummin' good,  and were quitting whilst they were ahead, a sensible move in
retrospect. The Console Centre were back, and had Jaguar and Lynx on sale at
bargain prices (like 15 quid a time!) Lots of exhibitors, such as Titan were
missing.  Lots  of  the Atari-loving people were missing too.  The Reservoir
Gods didn't quite make it,  but we did get to see Spiny of Torment.  We also
had Rob Goldsmith sitting next to us,  who turned out to be a nice dude.  He
was  in the preliminary stages of developing Highwire,  before it went quiet
for  a long while,  but hearteningly,  making a strong return in very recent
times.  Requiem,  and a returning John 'VoGue' Nott,  no longer looking like
Penfold out of Dangermous gawped at the EIL generation of ST demos wondering
how people could get so much out of 8 mhz.

We also saw the Return of Tony Greenwood in a more 'corporate' capacity than
we were accustomed to,  on behalf of Cyberstrider Online.  The inevitable QL
and  Einstein user groups were back out of their boxes,  with just a  little
more dust on them than before.

We  could sense that this was getting stale again,  and would need a rethink
on  how  to  survive  in  the  post  Atari  computing  era.  Would  this  be
forthcoming? We covered it all in Maggie 28.

"I think this is it.."

The doctor looks briefly at the comatose patient. He then turns to the group
of concerned relatives next to the bed,  a brief curt tilt of his head tells
them all they need to know.........

There  was  almost too much going on in 2000.  We somehow found the time  to
take  in  three  overseas parties,  plus the epic struggle to get  the  10th
anniversary  issue  of  Maggie  out,  not to mention the  work  involved  in
starting  a  new  diskmagazine  (the  one  you're  reading  right  now,  pay
attention!) Anything else would be an afterthought.  Still,  we struggled to
the  November edition of the AMS,  which would turn out to be (probably) the
final UK-based large scale Atari gathering of any distinction.

(Spring  Show  footnote:- I think there was one for 2000?  But there was  so
little  of  interest,  I don't think it merited a report?  Another of  those
nether region non-events that leave just the odd fragment of ghost memory?)

Show #32 
Atari Computing Convention (Inside the All-Micro Show.) 
The County Showground, Stafford. 
November 2000.

It did survive the loss of Atari Computing, but only just. There was a major
difference  in  the  travel and stand  arrangements.  Felice  was  committed
elsewhere, didn't make it for the first time in a long long time. Instead, I
shared stand space with Chris Crosskey of Abingdon Synthesis Projects  (ASP)
and  lengthy Robot Wars anecdotes fame.  Chris stayed overnight at my place,
we skirted massive flood warnings in his van on the journey up. This was one
of the wettest and maddest weeks in the UK.  The flood warnings,  and likely
imminence  of waterlogging kept a lot of people away.  Deez,  working in the
UK, was allegedly down for a visit, but kept away, no Reservoir Gods made it
either, but they may have been working most Saturdays at that time?

So  we  set up next to Carbon and Atarimad,  who were busy selling  off  the
remnants of Atari Computing. We set out to play a bunch of demos old and new
alike,  and  nearly  manage to offend good taste and public decency with  an
extremely  loud rendition of the H-Demo-IV.  It is debatable if the  vividly
early  '90's oldschool acieed style soundtracked 'Techno Drugs' demo  was  a
suitable  way  to  commemorate  our glorious war  dead  in  two  minutes  of
armistice day silence, but the organisers didn't let us find out.

A  few  people braved the soggy conditions and landed up at our  stand,  the
faithful  Torment guys did make it.  Also there were several nice if  lesser
known bods. There was not a lot of Atari left at the show, the main interest
for those who did turn up,  was that the Jaguar and Lynx were now seven quid
a go! Apart from ASP, the people next door, and some odds and ends, the only
other  memorable  stand  was  the Atari Portfolio Owners  Club,  a  line  of
hardware  not  really widely understood outside the Atari  Portfolio  Owners
Club.  The  end  was nigh,  and this final AMS gathering was surely the last
ever organised UK Atari show in any venue larger than someone's front  room!
I'm pretty sure this squeezed into the 10th Anniversary edition of Maggie.

And that seems to be the end of a long and eventful story..

The  future  for  any future UK event attending,  seems to be bleak  No  new
events have been planned since the ACC ended. The whole 'All Micro Show' got
canned  from  there,  not just the Atari part.  There have been some hopeful
noises  made,  mainly at an individual level on the lines of "Please can  we 
have another show?!"  but nothing concrete ever emerges.


So just how many shows did he go to?

The  official total of thirty two shows obtained from this article does  not
quite cover the whole topic.  I made references to some shows which I barely
remember in a very fragmentary fashion. Of these, there was almost certainly
another Wellingborough Computer Club PCW inspired trip,  my recording of the
various  16-Bit  Novotel Shows seems to be patchy too,  as a couple seem  to
have  escaped being written down properly (Including the one at which I  was 
first introduced to Mr Pink by Sammy Joe).  I seem to have trouble trying to
tell these events apart, that far back. There could have been a final Spring
2000  edition of the Atari Computing Convention at Stafford,  but the  Atari
content may have been so negligeable as to make it not worthwhile recording,
or remembering?

Therefore, in addition to the thirty two reliably accounted shows, there are
an  estimated  four to six other shows which  escaped  documentation,  which
makes it a hell of a lot of these things that I went to in fifteen years!

Show #33 
The 16-Bit Show. 
Hammersmith Novotel London. 
January 1991.

The author of this piece belatedly remembers that he 'hid' some of his  show
reviews  inside  other  more general columns.  Not  in  chronological  order
anymore, but never mind.

Look inside the 'Rottspot' column in Maggie issue 7 for this one.

And  I was introduced to Mr Pink at this show,  who was just known as  plain
old "Leon O'Reilly" back then. Sammy Joe had a semi-official presence on the
Budgie  UK  stand,  along with the other two core members of the Lost  Boys,
Spaz and a prematurely greying Manikin. The show was a generally pleasant if
uneventful affair.  There was a variation in travelling companionship,  as I
went down with an old schoolmate who had got into ST ownership called Stuart
Bray.   Plans  to stay behind for an after-show party with Sammy Joe and the
other demo scene pals got killed off by threats of blizzard like  conditions
cutting off rail services, so I had to regretfully go home with Stuart.

Show #34 
The 16-Bit Show. 
Hammersmith Novotel London. 
Spring 1991.

Look, this is getting very silly now, isn't it!

Smuggled  into  the Maggie issue 8 Rottspot column,  where I forgot to  look
until it was too late..

I  travelled down with a gentleman called Nathan Gould,  possibly one of the
greatest  mystery  'what  might  have been' coders,  who turned  out  to  be
terminally  lazy and embroiled in some very complicated femmes.  He was also
the  chap  who donated his nametag so I could get into the 1991  Trade  only
version of the ECES.

We were looking for a hard drive for my STe,  yes, I had pockets, with money
induced  burn-holes  in  them back then,  and Audio Sculpture,  the new  and
fabulous  sound tracker supporting STe enhanced modes.  We found Sammy  Joe,
under  threat from a sleepless zombie collapse,  having been up all night to
put  the finishing touches to Maggie 7.  We came away with some 1 Meg  Simms
for my STe, not fancying lugging hard drives around a very crowded floor. We
encountered  a whole bunch of French scene guys on their own  stand  selling
Audio  Sculpture,  or  rather,  taking  orders  for it in a very  crude  and 
haphazard fashion.  I might add that Nathan is *still* waiting for his copy!
The  Lost  Boys were selling their new game through the new  Eclipse  label,
"Monster  Business",  and  we saw an early run-through demo of what  was  to
become Lethal Xcess, Wings of Death 2.

The show report also contained another confirmed Jeff Minter sighting.


Here  is  a series of best of,  worst of listings,  sort of to put things in
some  kind of ranking system.  Where one or more Atari related articles  are
gathered   together,   then  the  temptation  to  categorise  stuff  becomes

The most enjoyable show.
1. 1st Ever PCW Show (1985) 
2. June 1990 Atari 90's Show 
3. September 1996 Autumn Atari Show 
4. May 1991 Spring Shopper Show 
5. February 1993 16-Bit Show

To  explain this category,  that first PCW show was a time of innocence,  of
not quite knowing what to expect,  and enjoying the end result hugely.  June
1990  was my first big contact with the demo scene.  The third placed Autumn
Atari  show was the first time we were on the other side of the  stand.  May
1991  was probably the best 'people' show,  and February 1993 needs no other

The most significant show.
1. June 1990 Atari 90's Show 
2. February 1993 16-Bit Show 
3. January 1991 16-Bit Show

A  bit of a shift-around from the first category  here.  The June 1990 Atari
90's  Show  was my first  contact with Maggie,  and the  motivator  to start
writing and take an active part in the scene.  And I'm still here!  February
'93 persuaded me to get that  Falcon  '030,  and  this  extended  the  Atari
appreciation  of  my  computing lifestyle for a very long  time  after.  The
January 1991 16-Bit show creeps in third place,  why?  Well it was the first
time  I  met  Mr  Pink,  which developed into a very  long  and  interesting
creative relationship!

The most expensive show.
1. Feb '93 16-Bit Show 
2. November 1998 ACC 
3. June 1990 Atari 90's Show

By  which,  I mean the one at which I did the most shopping at.  Most of the
time,  I managed to keep my costs for going to these things under reasonable
control. The winner here was the show where I parted with nine hundred green
ones for my Falcon, didn't get anything else there, I daren't! I went into a
shopping  frenzy  at  the 1998 ACC,  picking up the Floppyshop  Falcon,  and
lovely  "official" versions of lots of applications there.  The third  place
winner,  quite  apart  from introducing me to Maggie,  left me 300 UKP  down
after getting a new STe.

The least expensive show.
1. Various ECTS Shows, and Later Computer Shopper Shows.

A  dead heat here!  These are the places where I didn't spend a bean,  apart
from  things like transportation costs,  and the odd overpriced bite to eat.
The ECTS spending deficit is logical,  it was a trade show,  with nothing to
buy there,  unless you were signing for very big amounts of money! The later
Computer Shopper Shows simply had nothing of interest to offer.

The most interesting show from a demo scene perspective.
1. All pre-1993 16-Bit Shows 
2. Spring 1991 Computer Shopper Show 
3. September 1996 Autumn Atari Show

The  16-Bit Shows,  a general strong all-rounder in most previous categories
are grouped together for a mass award here.  It was at these shows, that the
demo scene personalities of the time were most likely to be gathered, and to
have  their  own official presence on the ground.  The Spring  1991  Shopper
managed  to maintain this companionship,  and an otherwise mediocre show was
transformed  into one of the cooler events of the time.  The September  1996
Autumn Atari Show get in here, as a tribute to the hard work and interest of
the later personalities of the UK Atari scene in bringing about Maggie 21.

The best show venue.
1. Design Centre Islington (Early ECTS Shows) 
2. Novotel 
3. Motorcycle Museum Birmingham

Best  venue  eh?  It's like asking about the best motorway  service  station
plastic cup!  Earls Court was a sweaty hole,  and Olympia was a barn! Still,
if we must,  I liked the Design Centre Islington as a nice modern venue.  If
you  got  the right bit of the Novotel,  preferably the bit that  had  plush
seating  areas  and  well appointed bars just off the show,  this  was  more
bearable than most. The Motorbike museum, spiritual and physical home of the
Goodman  era  shows,  was  memorable  for its  upstairs  bar,  and  (almost)
neverending supplies of Tiger Bitter.

The coldest show venue.
1. Stafford County Showground (ACC series)

One clear winner here. The prevailing environment at places like Earls Court
and  the  Novotel  was always on the warm side.  I also  remember  Alexandra
Palace tending to act like a giant greenhouse with the merest hint of  sunny
weather.  In  these cases,  any clothing that was perfectly fine for outdoor
conditions,  was  always  too warm there.  Stafford reversed that  simmering
complacency,  with  a cold-store of a venue that had everyone shivering into
their boots, hats, and coats by the end.

The best dressed show-goer.
1. The Cancelled ECES Trade Show thing, 1991 
2. Goodman Atari Shows

There  wasn't a formal dress code for any of these shows.  The thing was  to
dress  for comfort as much as possible.  Having said that,  I did dress up a
bit  for the aborted ECES trade show at Earls Court.  The Goodman Atari show
gets  into  this strange category,  with an extra-special "Huge bloke  in  a
kilt" award!

The most pretentious event.
1. ECTS (who else!)

Most  of our Atari shows were pretty down to earth events,  with no airs and
graces  assumed,  and  no  attempt  to assert  a  dubious  superiority.  The
exception  to this refreshing approach,  would be the ECTS,  where the great
and  good  of the software entertaiment (or  infotaiment,  edutainment  etc)
industry were gathered. The 'suits' tried to push to the front of the queue,
the  PR  was just that bit more annoying,  the ECTS was not a place to be  a
raggedy rebel...

Shows which saw a release of a Maggie issue.
1. June 1990 Atari 90's Show - Maggie first ever issue! 
2. June 1991 16-Bit Show   -  Maggie 7 
3. Sept 1996 Goodman Show  -  Maggie 21 
4. Oct  1997 Goodman Show  -  Maggie 24 
5. Nov  1999 ACC/AMS       -  Psycho Babble Project

June  1990,  'nuff  said already.  This was amazingly for a notoriously lazy
Sammy  Joe,  followed  one year later with issue 7,  made ready for  release
through great nocturnal efforts.  It wasn't until a long time later, when we
got our own stand space,  that Maggie 21 came together as a show special. We
did  it  all again a year later with Maggie 24.  The Psycho  Babble  Project
special  issue gets a mention here,  as it limped out late from an  expected
Error in Line release earlier in that year.  The  final  ACC/AMS  (Nov 2000)
*almost*  saw the  release of the first issue  of Alive!,  as Seb had nicely
got  it ready just in time,  but the download connection wasn't working that
well on the morning, so it didn't. (Damn!)

Coolest of them all.
1. The Sept 1996 Goodmans Show!

You  might  think this is a difficulty category to choose  just  one  winner
from.  What  a  range  of choice,  from the earliest days of the  PCW  Show,
through  to  the companionship to be found at the early  16-Bit  shows.  You
might think that some of the events where I made major purchasing decisions,
such  as  the February '93 16-Bitter may get a look in.  And what about  the
final revival attempts by the Atari Computing Convention?

Well I would say close but no banana,  or fruit of any other kind.  In fact,
the  show  with the max,  was the first show where we started doing  it  for
ourselves, with a big fat issue of Maggie lobbed in, with all sorts of tasty
improvements brought in by the fantastic hard working Maggie Team, that, is,
the issue 21-tastic original Goodmans Show!

And that is all for this report.  You might like to check out the mercifully
shorter  companion-piece  in  this issue,  which is all  about  the  Science
Fiction events that I went to.

CiH, For Alive! Mag,Aug '02.

Alive 6