WACCI 137 Index - Home Page www.wacci.org.uk

01 - Thanx & Stuff 02 - Fair Comment 03 - New Generation 04 - Exploring the PSG
05 - Programmers' Patch 06 - CPC Changed My Life 07 - Cartography

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How the CPC changed my life

Angela Cook explains how a DMP-1 printer transformed her love life. Honestly.

A while ago I was in Rob Scott's computer shop (STS Computers, no less). The subject of printers arose and we explained a brief history of the invention to the young employee. Rob mentioned the Amstrad DMP1 printer and we both sighed with the fond memories that it bought forth, whilst the young employee looked naive and wondered what we were talking about, which is nothing unusual.
  We were talking about our time with the CPC. It got me thinking to just how much that innocent charcoal grey box has influenced some people's lives, including my own. When I reflect back now I wonder how my life would have been if that purchase in a large computer chain store had been for an Amiga and not the Amstrad that was plumped for. What if we hadn't bought a computer at all in our family?
  We got our first CPC, a 464, around about 1988, which would have made me about ten. Within a couple of years, Dad (Arthur) had started buying and selling the odd bit of computer equipment and supplies, wheeler-dealership being a Cook family trait. I started helping Dad with this, handling much of the administration whilst he concentrated on the buying and repairing and things I usually refer to as "yukky and technical".
  By 13 I was showing signs of being a rather mediocre writer, and Uncle Clive gave me my first big break. Yes, if you go back to WACCI 53 there's a rather embarrassing couple of columns proudly penned by myself. Once I'd seen it in print, I was hooked.


The buying and selling got bigger and bigger (and until recently was still growing, but that's a whole other piece of CPC history) and I enjoyed the work immensely. I also wrote much more for WACCI and eventually worked my way up to the great heights of Amstrad Action. I hounded Dave Golder, then editor, for ages and finally he relented and asked me if I could write a monthly BASIC programming guide. I immediately answered in the positive and was incredibly happy, until it dawned on me I had the faintest clue about BASIC.
  Enter Rob Buckley stage left. How I knew Rob, of Radical Software fame, is now lost in the dusty areas of my brain, but he knew about BASIC. I set about hounding him monthly for programming type-ins that didn't work and were constantly way past the deadline.
  Work on Amstrad Action grew, and from there I worked on other magazines - mostly computer related, some not - and still do the odd bit of freelance work to this day. WACCI, for me, is directly related to the beginnings of my writing career. Oh, what a lot it has to answer for!
  Of course I attended school and various colleges in between times, though my teachers wouldn't always agree. I trained in computing and as a scum of the earth journalist and then decided I didn't actually want a job in London.

Web wide world

So instead I decided to go down the rocky path of unemployment - sorry, I mean self-employment. I wrote freelance, I briefly worked for Rob at STS Computers (www.stscomputers.co.uk) and I gave private computer tuition.
  Then Rob tried to design his own website. Being trained a little in page layout and such (though not nearly as wonderful as Richard) I decided I could go one better. This, along with advice from AA's Simon Forrester, led on to becoming the website designer I now am.
  And quite recently I landed a job, almost by accident, in a Further Education college teaching Website Design/Management modules of various courses. These things involve several skills I have learnt in the past years: the discipline of writing and general journalism, elements of the computer industry, being in business and dealing with the public, all sparked off by Merline-Serve and Radical Software.
  Through the last 13 odd years I've picked up one or two scallyrags too. Notably: the rather mad Rob Buckley; Richard Wildey and Richard Fairhurst from my Amstrad Action days - when I first talked to Richard Fairhurst he spoke very fast (he's mellowed a bit now) and I was embarrassed at quite how easily a Multiface really does work; John and Carol Bowley from right here within WACCI; and Rob Scott and Paul Fairman from a rather bizarre argument.

Ho ho ho

Of course there are many more friends and acquaintances lost in between, not to mention one or two more adult and romantic (well, maybe not romantic) relationships. But perhaps we'd better stop there.

01 - Thanx & Stuff 02 - Fair Comment 03 - New Generation 04 - Exploring the PSG
05 - Programmers' Patch 06 - CPC Changed My Life 07 - Cartography

WACCI 137 Index - Home Page www.wacci.org.uk