Calling All Computists: The Us Festival in ‘Silicon Gulch Gazette’, 1982

In April 1977, computer enthusiasts gathered in San Francisco for the inaugural West Coast Computer Faire. (The quirky spelling of the word “Faire” evokes another nerdy subculture born in California: the Renaissance Faire.) Two personal computers that would go on to dominate the first half of the red-hot PC market in the 1980s had their debut that year: the Commodore PET and the Apple II…

Grues and Invisiclues: A Personal Remembrance of Infocom

I first encountered Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy book series in 1985. I’d caught glimpses of the tatty-yet-much-loved BBC television series from 1981 on my local PBS station, and that sent me to the bookstore to find out what the heck this British science fiction comedy was all about. Over the summer of 1985 I tore through the paperback versions of the first three volumes in the series…

Murder Ballads, Stately Homes, Elven Armies: Steeleye Span on ‘Electric Folk,’ 1974

British folk-rockers Steeleye Span were arguably at the height of their powers and popularity in the mid-1970s, and their television series Electric Folk, broadcast on BBC2 in 1974 and 1975, shows exactly why. The series showcased the band’s blend of traditional British folk music and rock and roll to perfection, with the added bonus of being recorded in some of Britain’s oldest stately manors…