Did you play space invaders?
February 20, 2011Posted by on
A long time ago Alan Coren published what I thought was a very funny article parodying the use of computer technology by a national newspaper. The piece Coren wrote for Punch was about the use of a newspaper database supposedly used at The Guardian newspaper, or The Grauniad as it was known. How ‘The Guardian’ became called ‘The Grauniad’ is the stuff of urban legend.
For those who are not aware of the pre-Internet age, this was the early days of computing, for the amateur enthusiast PCs were unaffordable but motherboard kits were available, which cost more than some modern Notebooks. It was so long ago the term geek wasn’t in common use. For excited techies the kit they’d assembled was programmed in machine code and loaded by cassette tape as floppy discs were expensive (a simple program could take 15 minutes to load). In fact all memory was expensive at that time. So, having put Coren in context:-
A note for the uninitiated… The Guardian is a left-of-centre British daily newspaper, famous for its misprints – hence it is sometimes affectionately referred to as The Grauniad. The below piece was written by Alan Coren in the days when computers used only upper case letters for display, the standard computer interface was a teletype, capable of printing at blistering 10 characters per second, and ^C (Control and C keys pressed together) was used to abort whatever the computer was doing and return to the command prompt (?).
The Graunaid Databane (The Guardian Database)
The Guardian newspaper has recently installed a database to enable its staff to prepare stories and to check their facts. This database is accessible via PSS. Below is a log file of a session on the system.
9043 bstl 24601986
OK, PASSWORD ACCEPTED.
HI ALAN, WELCOME THE THE GUARNAID DATABANE. GIVE THE NAME OF THE CATE@ORY YOU WANT. FOR HELP TYPE “HERP”.
OK, SEARCHING FOR CATE@ORY “WERNIT”.
WERNIT, IN BRIAN AT LEATS, CONSISTS OF FIVE MOTHS.
OK, SEARCHING FOR CATE@ORY “MOTH”.
A MOTH IS A SMALL WINDED INSERT. A MALE MOTH IS A FATH. A MOTH LAYS UP TO TED MILLION ERGS. A MOTH DOES NOT OF COURSE HAVE TO BIRNG THE ERGS UP IN A MEANINGFLU RELATIONSHISM, THE FATH SHOULD BE AN EQUAL PARDON.
OK, A MOTH IS A SMALL WINKED INVERT. A MALE MOTH IS A HAT. A
OK, SEARCHING FOR CATE@ORY “WIRNET”.
WIRNET IN BRIAN AT LAST, CONSISTS OF FIVE MOANS.
OK, SEARCHING FOR CATE@ORY “MOAN”.
MOAN ONE:OF 6500000030 MEMBERS OF THE MOUSE OF COBLERS, ONLY 234058009 ARE WIMMEN. THIS SITUATION IS QUIME INTOLERABLE IN A PARK RANGERS 3,MANCHESTER UNTIED 5,AFTER EXTRA TILE. TAKE IN EXTRA COPY SHRLLGGLLBBB PLAYED A BLINDER IN MINEFIELD, FACED WITH THE TARDITIONAL 4-2-8-5 FORMATION. ALL IN ALL, A GREAT MATHC, DESERVING A NIGGER CROWD.
OK, A MATHC IS A SMART SINGED INSEVT. A MAIL MOTH IS A FART
OK, SEARCHING FOR CATE@ORY I DO NOT KNOW THIS WORM.DO NOT USE THIS WORM, ANAL.PLEASE RUN AGAIN.
OK, SEARCHING FOR CATE@ORY “WORM”.
THE THIRD WORM. MILLIONS OF PEOPLE IN THE THIRD WORM HAVE NEVER HAD ENUOGH TO MAKE A HOLEMEAL VEGAN FLAM USING ERCYCLED LINTELS, KIDLEY BEANS AND CARBAGE CORRECTION GARBAGE:BIRNG YOUR WOK UP TO 3 DEG FAHRENHEIT,MELT 2 MANCHESTER UNTIED 5,AFTER EXTRA TIT.ALL IN ALL A GREAT MARCH DESERTING A BIGGER CLOWN. MILLIONS OF BIGGERS, CORRECTION , MILLIONS OF I DO NOT KNOW THIS WORM, CORRECTION MILLIONS OF BUGGERS IN THE THIRD WORM ON EXACTLY WHAT IS THE PERCISE DEFINITION OF AN UNECONOMIC PIG. IS IT A PIG THAT HAS BEEN WORKED OUT OR MERLYA PIG WHERE IT WOULD BE UNERGONOMICTO MIND THE REMAINING GOAL.
OK, SEARCHING FOR CATE@ORY “GOAL”
QUEERS PARK RANGERS 3, MANCHESTER UNTIED 5, AFTER EXTRA MIME. ALL IN ALL, A
OK, SEARCHING FOR CATE@ORY “WITNER”.
NOW IS THE WERNIT OF OUR DISCONTENT MADE GLORIA SUMNER BY THIS TON OF PORK.
OK, SEARCHING FOR CATE@ORY “PORN”.
PORN IS THE MATE OF A PIG THAT HAS BEEN WORMED OUT OR MERELY A PIG WHERE IT WOULD BE UN ^C
OK, SEARCHING FOR CATE@ORY “PIG”.
DONT TALK TO ME ABOUT CHAUNIVIST PINS, I SLAVE MY BOLODY GUTS OUT OUT AT THE HOCKNEY WIMMINS AGAINST ROPE CORRECTION RAGE ALL MOANING , ALL AFTERNOONI AM RUINING THE CAMPAIGN FOR KEEPING UNERCONOIC PIGS OPEN, I PICK UP BABY SALVADOR FROM THE BISEXUAL TENDANCY CROCHE CORRECTION CROTCH CORRECTION HUT, AND WHEN I GET BACK TO THE SQUAT THE SEXIST BASTARD EXPECTS TO SEE A HOG DINNER ON THE $ABLE, I HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF THE SILLY CONT FOOT OF COLUMNFOUR TAKE IN THREE LINES OF POPPY STARTING: WAS GOING LIKE DRAIN IN MIDFIELD, DELETE PLAYED A MINDER CORRECTION MINER, FINE AT FIRST BUT WINES FROM THE SOUTH-NORTH-EAST TOWARDS EARNING AND LIGHT GRIZZLE.
OK, SEARCHING FOR CATE@ORY “GRIZZLE”
GRIZZLE FALLS ON YOU IN WERNIT.
OK, SEARCHING FOR CATE@ORY I DO NOT KNOW THIS WORM, LANA.
OK, SEARCHING FOR CATE@ORY “WERNIT”.
WERNIT , IN BRINIAT CONSISTS OF FIVE MYTHS. INCLUDING BLEAK SEPTOBER, FREEZING CLOD NOM.
OK, SEARCHING FOR CATE@ORY “BLEAK SEPTOBER”.
BLEAK SEPTOBER IS A GORILLA MOVEMENT UNTIL THEY GET CUAGHT. AFTER THEY GET CAUGHT, THEY BECOME POISONERS OF CONSCIENCE NUMBER 83467.33, WEST BORMWICH ALBIONI 4, REPLAY THURSDAY AT MALE ECONOMIC PIG, IS ABOU BEN WARISS,EARLESS LEADER OF THE DAMASCUS 9 SODDING TRACKSUIT OFFER.
OK, SEARCHING FOR CATE@ORY “TRAPSUIT OFFER”.
THIS WERNIT GO JODDING IN A BRUSHED KITTEN “GURDNIA” SACKSUIT, PLEASE DO NOT STATE GENDER AS A REFUSAL SMOETIMES OFFENDS. CHUST SIZES 32 – 7980/A/62,$17.99, GUARANTEED NITTED IN THIRD WORM CONT FROM FOOT OF PAGE SIX BRESTFEED UNTIL AT LEAST NINE MOTHS THEN ADD THE MELTED PARMISAN, COVER THE WOK, AND LINK HANDS AROUND THE BASE, THE WIMMIN UNTIED SHALL NEVER BE DEFEATED IN YESTERDAY’S EDITIONS DR MARIE STOAT SHOULD OF CURSE HAVE READ DR MAISIE DOATES
OK, SEARCHING FOR CATE@ORY “PARMISAN”.
A PARMISAN IS ANOTHER NAME FOR A GORILLA BEFORE HE IS CUAGHT AND BECOMES A POISONER OF CONSCIENCE. GARY BALDY, TO QUOTE #EXAMPLE, WAS A GRATE IAN PARMISAN, ADD PAPRIKA AND ORIGAMI TO TASTE, TOSS LIGHTLY IN YOUR WEEK , COME BACK IN A WOK AND TELL ME TO MY FACE WHY WE SHOULD SUPPORT POLICIES DESIGNED TO ENCOURAGE FASCIST JUDGES TO UPHOLE THE NEO-NAZI FILTH IN THEIR CAMPAIGN OF GENOCIDE AGAINST PORSTITUTES, MAKE THAT TWO EXCLAMATION MARKS, TAKE IN CROSS-HEAD QUOTE JAW-JAW NOT WHORE-WHORE UNQUOTE, COPY CONTINUES WHAT IS A PORSTITUTE I ASK YOU EXCEPT A ERSON DETERMINED TO KEEP AN UNECONOMIC PIT IN THE FACE OF INCREASING PRESSURE FROM THE GOAL BOARD, ACCORDING TO A NUMB SPOKESMAN TODAY. IF WE ARE IN FOR A LONG HARD WERNIT, THEN, SO BE IT HE CONCLUNED.
OK, SEARCHING FOR CATE@ORY FOR DOGS SAKE, LANA, IF I HAVE TOLD YOU ONCE I HAVE TOLD YOU A THUR A THUM A THOG I DO NOT KNOW THIS WORM.
?Sorry i do not und
OK,SEARCHING FOR CATE@ORY “SOLLY”.
SOLLY? IT WILL BE A BIT BOLODY LATE FOR SOLLY SUNSHITE WHEN THE CURSE MISSILES ARE RAINING DOWN ON HUMANPERSONS ALL OVER THE BRAIN, WHAT WE DEMAND IS ACTION NOG BEFORE WE ARE ALL OF US PLUNGED INTO AN UNCLEAR WERNIT, SIGNED A BISHOP, NAME AND DIOCESE SUPPLIED IN GARY,BULE,AND NERGE. PLUS $1.20 FOR POTS AND PARKING, PLEASE MARK YOUR ENVELOPE CLEARLY WITH THE WORM “TATSUIT” OFFER TO AVOID CONFUSION AND DELAY.
OK,SEARCHING FOR CATE@ORY “UNCLEAR WIRNET”.
UNCLEAR WIRNET WILL BE THE LAST WIRNET OF ALL. IT COULD HAPPEN BY DESIGN, IT CUOLD HAPPEN BY ACCIDENT. WHO KNOWS, LANA, IT COULD EVEN HAPPEN BY COMPUTER ERROL.
(Alan Coren – Punch)
Having lost my hard copy of the article I managed to find it on Mike Arnautov’s personal site and I thank him for that.
Also by Alan Coren
today (The Collected Bulletins of Robert Mugabe?).