COKE ADDS LIFE
LONDON, 0610 hrs — a Rapide coach pulls into Victoria station, and a bleary-eyed Scouse alights holding a half-full Coke can (his sixth that night). With a few others he walks off into the teeming rain.
0635 hrs — a look up the road reveals that the New Horticultural Hall is closed to the public. One of the elders finds a cafe for more coffee and coke, trying to keep awake.
The crowds were gathering for the 24th ZX Microfair that early, and by 9.30 companies had started handing out leaflets outside the hall and The Bug was being forced on everyone — but finally the doors opened.
It took about five seconds for the hall to fill up.
The ZX Microfair is still going strong. Romantic Robot showed off its Multiprint and its new Multiface 3 for +3-owners (which Simon N Goodwin introduces on page 120). Sixword had the Swift Disc interface — serious competition for the Disciple, perhaps, though that Rockfort product seemed to dominate the entire upper floor.
Logic Sales, which had bought Rotronics’s £130 Wafadrives for a fiver each when the company crashed, managed to sell more than 180 at the fair — for £15 each! (The Wafadrive uses little square wafers that contain loose tape in 16K, 32K or 48K sizes; it has a dual drive and RS232/Centronics interfaces.)
On the comms side, Micronet had a stand and sold VTXs and subscriptions in large quantities; Spectre Comms sold a new ROM for the VTX which makes it do wonderful things. The entire stock went!
Fanzines made a surprisingly prominent appearance, and a new one, Spectrum Smashes, was launched at the fair.
And the QL was there in force showing that old computers die hard. Mind you, new computers start early these days — there was a Z88-users group already set up at the Microfair.
The rest of the fair was taken up by mail-order companies selling games for £2-£5 each as well as hardware and disks; someone got The Great Space Race for 25p. (He was ripped off.)
So the ZX Microfair is far from dead; it was a good day out, and it’s certainly a cheap way of topping up your games collection.
1800 hrs — boards coach, reclines seat, orders 32nd coke...