Arguably the most important song on the album since everything that we’ve done over the past year has stemmed from this one.The album name, band name and general aesthetic all have their roots in this song. The phrase ‘the British IBM’ comes from a line of dialogue from the BBC drama Micro Men. It's a dramatisation of the rivalry between Acorn and Sinclair in the eighties and how the founders; Clive Sinclair and Chris Curry were friends in the early days and worked together but fell out. The whole thing's based on a true story and in one particular scene they end up in a fight in a Cambridge pub, which resulted in Chris Curry saying "We could have been the British IBM". That single line sums up a whole world of what could have been and the human side of the rise and fall the British computer industry.
I recently had the honour of writing a guest blog for mighty 405 on video game music and decided to come up with the alternative top five video game soundtracks. Everyone knows about Mario and Tetris but not everyone knows about these five little gems. Check out what I chose here: The British IBM: The Top 5 Alternative Games Soundtracks
I’ve decided to do a little blog article for each track on the album starting with Animal and working all the way through to God’s Front Porch. So without further ado here’s Animal!
Out of the ten songs on the album this one’s the newest. Before we headed into Half Ton Studios every song existed to a certain degree, either in my head or in basic demo form. This one however only existed as a chord structure that we played through in a rehearsals the weekend before recording commenced. The lyrics were kind of written on the fly but the end result was a catchy little pop song that we thought would be a great opener and a cool debut single.
This song was knocking around in demo form for a while before it saw the light of day. It seems weird that I wrote this song about Steve Jobs whilst he was still alive and by the time it was actually recorded he wasn’t. The lyrics are based on the story of how Jobs persuade John Sculley to leave his position at Pepsi to become the CEO of Apple back in 1983. Legend has it that Jobs persuaded him with the line “Do you want to sell sugared water for the rest of your life? Or do you want to come with me and change the world?”
As we all know the beloved Sinclair Spectrum turned 30 this year and in celebration of this rather scary, yet awesome fact, Cambridge ARU played host to a two day event celebrating the rubber keyed technological marvel. I grabbed myself a ticket as soon as I heard about it and headed down their last weekend. It was well worth the £23 to pay homage to the little black box. I actually got to see the inside of the original Sinclair building and walked up the famous spiral stair case that Clive himself would have walked up and down on a daily basis back in the eighties. The highlight of the entire event was a Q&A session with Rick Dickinson; Sinclair's Industrial Designer and the man responsible for the look and feel for many of Sinclair's products including the Spectrum.
It was a fascinating talk from a man who played a significant part in Sinclair's history. It also seemed as if there was a fair amount of comparatives between Rick and Jonathan Ive and indeed Apple and Sinclair in general. Though the success of each company differs wildly. Both put out minimalist design driven products based on the vision of a charismatic leader that wouldn't take no for an answer. It's also interesting to think that both companies rejected compatibility with the IBM PC along with various other standards though with completely different consequences.