The UK Atari shows, 18 and 19 October, were for me another attempt to finally meet the majority of my British IRC-#atari-friends "Real Life" for the first time. With that on my mind I chose not to go to the German shows and messes, to save up for my second UK trip.
So Friday the 17th I got on the Ferry and at midnight I arrived in Gloucester. I know that’s a bit out of the way when you’re going to a show in Birmingham and London, but I was staying over at Arnel’s place as he, like me, was mad enough to go to both the shows. :) My journey to the UK went great, the journey back didn’t, but I won’t bore you with details about a delay of 2 hours in the ferry trip and a NE-storm force 7, but get on with the shows themselves.
Arnel told me I might have been expecting a little too much of these shows - they weren’t really comparable to what happens in Germany. Oh well I can live with that. I knew it was gonna be fun anyway. Although once in Birmingham, I did start to wonder why we had been doing our best to get there so early in the morning. But hey, I didn’t come to the UK to sleep! :)
I must say it was a bit of a pity that the Birmingham show (Saturday) looked a bit "poor", compared to then Sunday show in London. The Brum show gave a bit of an impression of ppl just having emptied out their attics and quickly stalling it on a couple of tables. Ok maybe it was, but then they managed to hide it better on Sunday! :) But really, I had fun on both shows, in case I start sounding too negative now. :)
The shows featured a vast amount of second hand books, loads of games and the major UK shops like TUS, Titan Designs, 16/32 and System Solutions where there with a large choice of special show offers. Apparantly, before the end of the London show, all copies of Magic and CAB and all PAL-Jaguars where sold out. So I think the shows were a success! :)
And of course I managed to meet a load of uk #atarians as planned! I already knew Arnel, Flinny and Mr. Pink from the Siliconvention’97 (which apparantly was the last Sili.. boohooooooo snif), and Shove from my first UK visit, but after the amazing discovery that you can actually have a good laugh with Jamest, I also met other people whom I knew pretty well over IRC, like Felice, STeveB, Ade, Tronic, Sinbad, Ripley, AtariMad, Nevlyn and a load of others.
Well anyway, small as the shows may have been, there was enough stuff to look at, and the only guys I really missed were Centek. I would have liked to take my Falcon back home with a Centurbo2 inside it..! Of course the Nemesis was there.. but uhm.. well.. hmm. I mean it’s not only the Nemesis’ reputation to wreck up Falcys (the man from Titan ensured Arnel and me that there is nothing in the Nemesis hardware that can do that - bad fitting must be to blame) (Arnel’s reaction later on: "You don’t think he would be SLIGHTLY biassed?"), it’s more the fact that compared to something like a Centurbo, the Nemesis does look a bit pathetic, both hardwarewise and specswise. Actually I almost started thinking of an Afterburner.. until Flinny warned me that it can’t be switched off! Uhm no thanks!
System Solutions also showed the Hades060, with the wonderful music package StarTrack 99. Looking back it’s a pity I didn’t go over to them and asked why they sell the Hades at approx. 2 or 3 times the price as Medusa does (I don’t remember the exact amounts). But on the other hand, I did ask what their SpaceCase for the Falcon cost and that took me about 10 minutes, so maybe it’s just as well I didn’t ask any difficult questions..:) Anyway, the Hades, being the fastest Atari clone on the planet, does have it’s charmes. Flinny told me however that it would be cheaper AND faster to run STonX on a Linux box (and about as Atari compatible). I find it a wee bit hard to believe though.. and later on IRC, evl ensured me that there is no faster way of being Atari compatible than a Hades, including all emulations. Well I dunno... it’ll be some time before I can afford one anyway, I’ll thoroughly test all other options personally..! :)
The shows had lots of nice offers, and a wide variety of ST/Jag/Lynx games, but unfortunately nothing really NEW. Maybe it was just bad timing.. the Paris shows will be showing the Phenix, the Milan and of course the Centurbo2. So yes there are new developments, but it isn’t really showering with them. I won’t say the Atari market is dead, but it does tend to fall asleep. On the other hand, I myself am not really in need of anything new.. ok, a good web browser, but that’s being worked on. Still, we are living in a strange world where not going forward means going back..
Well just don’t forget.. Atari is as alive as we make it!
Maurits van de Kamp