Out of range

Imagine a time when a game such as the fifth instalment of Farcry has become charming. I don’t dare let my mind venture too far ahead in trying to predict what’ll happen; the future is now and it’s hideous.

Going backwards in memory, however, I recall during my fourth year on this Earth walking into a shop with my mum and dad. We didn’t have very much money in those days, so it would have been a very big deal, but we went into what looked like a show room full of computers. The machines in question were Amigas. I don’t know if they were all of the A500 variety, but the one we bought was. I remember it was ordered. Before leaving the shop, though, I remember watching an animated chess game on the screen. Visual memory from years gone by is an odd thing. You feel like there’s almost a video in your memory, almost photographic frames, but it’s far blurrier than that. This would have been 1986. I don’t remember a single word spoken from the visit, or indeed if I understood that a machine had been bought, but some time after, the machine arrived.

It was exciting! Up until that moment the only computers I’d ever touched had been the, even then outdated, BBC machines people used to play simple games on. I vaguely recall someone by the name of Ashley Rose taunting me and saying I’d be no good at this game involving spiders — which also fills my head with the smell of orange juice and taste of biscuits from my early days in school. Maybe that was slightly after, actually, and I’m allowing the years to be confused. Either way, it was exciting. We spent most of the day playing on the Tristar, that may not be correct, series of games. Fivestar perhaps. Thundercats, Wizball, Terapods, Insanity Fight, Amigas and my personal favourite Ikari Warriors, a game I saw is available somehow on the Nintendo Switch yesterday. It was hooked up to the big television, which at that time had a 21 inch screen and was made by Toshiba. I remember that arriving as well, as a man came over to set it up, so maybe I was around the same age. When a year is a quarter of your life, there’s so much time. It really is relative. Me, my brother and my father had all been playing Thundercats and we were struggling. My Mum had a go and got further than any of us. I remember being impressed.

One thing I remember of the Amiga is the smell. I don’t know what the smell was. I find it interesting how humans can recall smells from many years ago. The closest thing I’ve ever smelt since was the smell of saki. The shed from that time was another one. It had been painted with some kind of covering. I remember the sensation of my BMX’s wheels bouncing on the shed floor but most of all I remember the smell of the place. Maybe I always will, after nearly 30 years I’d have thought a smell would have left me. I also remember how easy it was to get a splinter on that thing.

I often yearn to have the past again. Often is an understatement, probably. And maybe, had I been an adult during those years I’d have been the same miserable bastard I am now. Maybe it’s being a child. Maybe it’s not the time after all. But to think of that stuff now reminds me of good times. Being a care free child is…is it everything? I suppose if it were, if we are to ever identify as adults, it can’t be.

When I was young, adults thought nothing of smoking around their children. My father didn’t anyway. I was used to it. I thought nothing of it. I am always reminded of him if I smell the side of a swan matches box. He never managed to give up smoking. I wonder where he would have been with it now. Vaping, perhaps? He had his faults, but I miss him terribly. I think some things, even if you only knew someone for ten years of your life, you just don’t get over. You just make room for it. Maybe make room for other things is a better way of putting it. It’s something so many people experience, maybe there are a million ways of putting it, but unless that person was despised, I think they might say you never get over it and never stop missing them.

In a way it’s not just him I miss. It’s everyone. My whole family have changed as people due to time. I must have done too but I just feel like a worn out and run down version of the same four year old that was there on the day of purchasing an Amiga. I often look on eBay looking for the same VCR and television we had in those days. Maybe I’ve never moved on. My bed, though, is not now strewn with bears, although they are still around in my mother’s house.

It’s exhausting, isn’t it? The modern world? We’re not built for it. Ruby Wax says so, and I have to agree with her. There isn’t a sensible person anywhere that would tell you sitting down all day was good for you.

One thing that’s fascinated me for some time is radio. I mean how the hell does that work. I might look it up and find out and jolly well do a write up on it because that’s amazing! There is so much science that the regular Joe, science that’s not hugely modern, will find a complete mystery.

I haven’t got a clever or attempt at not being pretentious conclusion so I’m going to find a song for this and then I shall run.