NERVOUS TIMES, it seems. Gremlin was not invited to the launch of the Spectrum 128, and after hearing what happened Gremlin knows why. But if Sir Clive reckons he can avoid the column so easily he's wrong.
Imagine, if you will, the holiday snapshot-style slide show Sinclair puts on for its launches. Hacks sit breathless as the screen shows a gigantic eight foot metal-rimmed hole. "Here is the TV slot" intones some Sinclair flunkey. Gruesome stuff.
This time, however, proceedings were enlivened by a soundtrack which opened with stirring martial music.
It dissolved into storms of canned applause, while the assembled hacks dissolved into gales of laughter ...
Ice hockey fan Jason of Friday 13th fame may not be setting you alight in Britain. But the pixellated pervert seems to appeal to Spaniards, according to Domark's chief horror, Dominic Wheatley.
Dominic regales Gremlin with a tale of how his Spanish distributor, one Jose, was over in London explaining why.
"I saw a review in Zzap 64", said Jose, "which is not a good review. We won't make the same mistake in Spain. We pay the man, we get a good review. We don't get a good review, we break his legs."
Gremlin would like to inform Jose and any like-minded Spanish distributors that his legs were broken long ago, and now resemble rubbery tentacles with no crunchy bits left at all ...
Yawn Computing is up to its old tricks again with yet another so-called exclusive on the Spectrum 128. This makes life tough for us in the office as Chris 'Lunch breaks' Bourne works himself into another drunken fury and threatens to ram unopened cans of baked beans down Yawn editor Gary Evans' throat.
Gary, please stop now. Before it's too late ...
Remember Pong? It was the very first video game, in which a ball wobbled lazily back and forth across the screen while suckers like Edgeley tried to hit it with a bat while offloading the rent money into the machine at the same time.
The peculiar guy who invented Pong was Nolan Bushnell, an obscure Californian who went on to found Atari. Which must prove something.
Anyway, Nolan's back in town after a long rest by the pool with his latest creation, the Petsters. These are electronic cuddly toys which speak to you in strange buzzing noises.
One of the toys is a cuddly mosquito, which seems odd. Does it give you malaria? Well, it's nice to think there are still enough software distributors around to create a reasonable market for the bloodsucking little insect ...
Last month Gremlin got steamed up about smutty computer games. So far the response has been a little disappointing - November 1983 is as far back as we've got.
J R Beavis has a nerve putting forward Robin of Sherlock as a candidate, considering it was only released three months ago. OK, so Maid Marian's chastity belt win be unlocked if you know how, but it's obvious Beavis has never had an illicit relationship with Legoland in Bored of the Rings.
And what about the android in the early version of Artic's Ship of Doom? Come on guys, you can do better than this ...
There are charts, damned charts, and CDS press releases, as Disraeli once said. So it's not surprising CDS wins the Brazen Backslapper of the Month Award for its latest piece of flummery.
The company which brought you Steve Davis Snooker and Colossus 4 Chess claims to be the 'sixth software house' ahead of 'both Firebird and Ultimate'. This remarkable claim is based on a list of the top suppliers to distributor Websters for the previous year.
Websters must have bought an incredible quantity of CDS software over the period, and one wonders what happened to it all. The press release suggests phoning CDS agent Dave Carlos, and promises those who do will learn about life north of Watford and be in at the start of something big. There are however limits to what journalists can reasonably be expected to do, and this is one of them.
STOP PRESS: Websters no longer distributes software.
Gremlin got no valentines at all this year, which is hardly surprising. Domark, on the other hand, decided to make a few bob out of romance and offered to shove Valentine Estate Agents signs in your loved one's front garden for 40 quid.
Things started to go wrong when the bloke with the signs failed to turn up on time for an ITN interview. Further disasters followed, with Dominic Wheatley repositioning signs which went to the wrong address in the middle of the night.
"My wife didn't get hers, and neither did Bill Scolding", wails Dominic. Other customers included Clement 'sex symbol' Chambers of CRL, who ordered two. Gremlin is pretty sure the first was for himself, but who can the second one be for? Certainly not the programmers of iD, which is now being rewritten because the first version was so awful ...
Quite a few fanzines seem to be coming through the post, and the competition seems to be worrying Bill 'incorruptible' Scolding.
Gremlin, however, rather enjoys these murky corners of the publishing world. So, it appears, does Design Design, which seems to have two concurrent interviews, one in The Bug, and Me other in Interface, in which Simon 'toadface' Bratell explains how all EMAP magazines are biased in favour of Beyond.
For the record, Simon, we were biased in favour of Beyond before we joined EMAP, continued to adore Beyond while it was part of EMAP, and now British Telecom is in charge we'll probably loathe everything it brings out, especially Scooby nominee Superman.
Incorruptible Scolding would also like to point out that he's never received a free dinner or crate of wine from Beyond. Is this a record ...?
Finally, a series of questions to which Gremlin will probably never discover the true answers.
Who sent our very own Norisah 'indispensable' Fenn a single perfect red rose for Valentine's Day?
Why is her typing so much better these days?
What has suddenly made ad manager Louise 'WPC' Fanthorpe so jealous?
Gremlin reckons David White of Saga Systems has a hell of a lot to answer for ...