Building modern software is so complicated. So many layers where things can go wrong. Vagrant, VirtualBox, Docker, Maven, JVM, Vert.X, Spring, Node, NPM, Cypress, Chai, SSH, tunnels, git, GitHub, Jenkins, Travis, the list goes on and on.
A few years ago, I wrote about the heavy metal band, Anne Heap of Frogs, that I was the guitarist for in my late teens; and then about Crossfire, the band that come out of that, and some other bits and pieces. But there is one more chapter to the story, and it’s much more impressive.
After singing with AHOF and Crossfire, Richard Whitbread went on to front a much more serious band, Metal Jester, which did well enough to get a gig at the Marquee — then, one of the top rock venues in the UK. The layout of the ticket suggests they were third on a bill of three, which would still pretty darned impressive, but as Richard elucidates below, they were actually the main act.
As a long-time lover of Zork, I’ve been familiar with Flood Control Dam #3 since about 1984, when after years of desire I was finally able to play it on my new Commodore 64. The original Zork was of course a text-only adventure game, but the graphical Return to Zork (1993) included this rather underwhelming image:
My mum found it recently, when she was throwing out some old stuff. It came with a note carrying my address and saying that I’d drawn it when I was 12. I am pretty sure we sent it to 2000 AD (hence the note with the return address) and I think they published it in Tharg‘s Nerve Centre. But, stupidly, I don’t have a copy of the issue that included it.
A lot of my key memories of my childhood aren’t really mine. They are of incidents that I don’t have my own memory of, but which I talked about and laughed about with my parents so many times that they have become canon. I suspect this is pretty common: most of the memories that most people have of their early childhood are not authentic.
But some are. And the reason I know this is because there are little incidents that I never told anyone else about — so there has never been this reinforcement that you get from do-you-remember-when and what-about-the-time-when. A trivial example: I remember stopping in a cafe with my mum when we were shopping, smelling real coffee for the first time, and being mesmerised by the tanks of juice with their paddles constantly churning. I would have been very young: maybe two, perhaps three years old.
My colleague Kurt Nordstrom mentioned a few days ago that there was this period of time when XML-based everything was the future. It was going to solve all our problems. Let’s use XML for everything!
Now, of course, we’ve all seen past the crazily naive idea that anything as mundane as the XML meta-format could make any real difference to anything, since it’s just a solution to the easy part of every task (syntax) and leaves the hard part to be done (semantics). No, we’re much more sophisticated than that now. Now we realise that JSON is the metaformat that will make everything suddenly work.
My sister Lindsey (that’s her at the bottom of the photo, enjoying experiencing my performance) recently found this old photo, taken in our back garden when I was about three years old. So that would be 1972, the year of Fragile, Machine Head, For the Roses and Paul Simon’s first solo album.
Did Anne Heap of Frogs really break up, as I said last time? Or did they merely sack me? You’d think I’d be able to tell the difference between these two scenarios, but ten months after the second AHOF gig, this happened: