A lot of British gamers will remember the superb Digitiser magazine which ran on Teletext on Channel 4 between 1993 and 2003.
What a lot of people perhaps aren’t aware of is the behind the scenes turmoil that went on between its writer, Paul Rose (aka Mr Biffo), and the management of Teletext Ltd. The latter were worried that the strange characters, surreal humour and irreverent language-me-do didn’t really fit in on a text-based information service (owned by the Daily Mail!) which was probably better known for holiday adverts and trivia quizzes.
Last year Mr Biffo resurrected Digitiser in the form of a new website, and over the past few days he has been telling the story of his time at Teletext, how Digitiser got off the ground, the battles with management, its decline and the final, triumphant end. Part One of the story is here.
If you were never a fan of the Man’s Daddy and his jokes, you can still take one thing away from the tale. In the epilogue to the story, Biffo tells the story of a Q&A session he held at a recent gaming convention:-
I got asked by an audience member what I considered to be the meaning of life.
I’m sure he was looking for a funny answer – “Shoes filled with prawns and dentist poo!” I could’ve said to uproarious laughter – but I could only think of something sincere.
Wincing at my own profound earnestness, I told him that the most important thing in life is to be with people who let you be you. Whether it’s your other half, a best friend, colleagues, your parents, your children, or simply yourself… you deserve to be celebrated – not pressured to conform to the ideals of others. For the most part, I’ve got that today, in spades; an amazing partner, great kids, good mates – and people I’ve mostly never met who support my writing. I’m blessed.
It’s too easy to fall into roles, or relationships, or jobs, where your unique you-ness is suppressed, or not valued. It doesn’t matter if you’re crap at DIY, or hate football, or you’re messy, or scruffy, or clumsy, or have a weird sense of humour, or like video games – find places in life where all of that is appreciated. Or, at least, not beaten down. Don’t compromise on this.
That’s quite good advice, I think.
Another piece of good advice: stay AWAY from Mr T’s BINS.