ZX Spectrum Modifications

A couple of videos below that should be pretty interesting for fans of the good old ZX Spectrum. These are the first two parts in a series, with more major modifications (including making a portable Speccy) coming. Enjoy!

Updated Sunday August 24 2014: post updated with all three parts of the portable Speccy project. Disappointing that we don’t actually see more of the finished project. Kind of amazing that it works at all! Cool stuff though.

Posted by Steve Wetherill in Retro, Sinclair, Spectrum, 0 comments

Where’s United Gone?

This may possibly jog a memory for Sheffield folk who went to school in the 70’s. 🙂

Where’s United gone – to division one!
Where’s United gone – to division one!
Far, far away
Far, far away

Where’s Wednesday gone – down the River Don!
Where’s Wednesday gone – down the River Don!
Far, far away
Far, far away

For reference:

Posted by Steve Wetherill in Sheffield, Yorkshire Slang, 0 comments

Northern British Sayings #11: Watter, Monk On, Gip

Watter (rhymes with matter), which is simply water

“I’ll just ‘ave a drink o’watter”.

“Am not gooin’ to that pub, thi watter t’beer”.

Monk on. Somebody can be said to “have the monk on” if they are sulking, acting moody, or feeling sorry for themselves. Possibly arising from the vow of silence taken by some monks?

“She’s got the right monk on wi me”.

Gip. The act of being physically sick, nauseous.

“Just thinkin’ of eatin’ black pudding makes me want to gip”.

Posted by Steve Wetherill in Yorkshire Slang, 0 comments

Northern British Sayings #10: If tha’ does ‘owt fer nowt …

Here’s a contribution from my Dad (thanks Dad!) This one is an old Yorkshire saying, words to live by. 🙂

Hear all, see all, say nowt, 
Eyt all, drink all, pay nowt,
And if tha ever does owt fer nowt,
Do it fer thi sen!


Hear everything, see everything, say nothing,
Eat everything, drink everything, pay nothing,
And if you ever do anything for nothing,
Do it for yourself!

Yorkshire folk do have a reputation of being “economical” …

Posted by Steve Wetherill in Yorkshire Slang, 0 comments

Northern British Sayings #9: Coil, ‘oil, Roo-ad, Soo-ap

This quick episode of Northern British Sayings covers some Yorkshire dialect.

Coil = Coal.
‘oil = Hole.
Coil ‘oil = Coal Cellar or Coal Mine.
Roo-ad = Road.
Soo-ap = Soap (and possibly also Soup).
Coo-at = Coat. But also, Coit = Coat.
Boo-at = Boat.
Boo-it = Boot.

Any others?


Posted by Steve Wetherill in Yorkshire Slang, 0 comments

Odin/Thor ZX Spectrum Games now exclusive to Spectaculator!

Robin-Of-The-WoodFurther to my earlier posts on the subject (here and here), I am happy to announce that the Odin/Thor ZX Spectrum games Heartland, Hypaball, Nodes of Yesod, The Plot, Robin of the Wood, Sidewize, Arc of Yesod, I.C.U.P.S and Crosswize are now available exclusively on SPECTACULATOR for iOS, Android and PC.

Many thanks to Alex Tutty @ Sheridans for his efforts to resolve the problematic licensing situation related to these games on a certain other emulator.

Posted by Steve Wetherill in Retro, Sinclair, Spectrum, 0 comments

Northern British Sayings #8: Yitten

Yitten means “cowardly”, or “frightened”.

Example, “Tha’ yitten.” You are a coward/cowardly/afraid/scared.

Often used in an accusatorial manner, “Tha’ not goin’ darn’t pit cos tha’ yitten.” Or, “It occurs to me that the reason you do not want to go down the coal mine is because you are afraid.”

Another example, “Tha dun’t want to fight cock o’ t’class cos tha yitten.” Or, “Might I suggest that the reason you do not want to partake in fisticuffs with the acknowledged best fighter in the class is because you are a scaredy cat.”

Posted by Steve Wetherill in Yorkshire Slang, 1 comment

Northern British Sayings #7: Ta

In most parts of Yorkshire and other parts of northern England, the slang word “ta” (pronounced “tar”) is used to mean “thank you”.

The word is simply substituted for “thank you” or “thanks”, so for example:

“Here’s that money I owe you.”

“Ta very much.”

From what I can gather from the mighty internetz, this is likely due to the large Scandinavian influence on the English language, particularly in the north. Consider that for thanks/thank you:

Danish:  Tak
Norwegian:  Takk
Swedish: Tack

I believe that in those languages, the “k” sound is soft (more of a “g”), or even dropped. In Danish, the word is pronounced, “targ”, which is very similar to the pronunciation of “ta”.

Posted by Steve Wetherill, 0 comments

Total Harmonic Distortion! You Love Me Like A Ten Ton Truck (2014)

Here’s another track from THD, my garage band from the early 80’s.

I pulled in the track from the same cassette tape containing the track “Turnaround“, though this one has had more “post production” work. The original version was recorded with Andy Walker on lead vox and guitar, Andy & myself on backing/chorus vox, and the Clef Master Rhythm drum machine (programmed by moi). There’s one overdub on this (backing vox), but we did not yet possess a bass guitar, so the original had no bass.

I brought the original track from the cassette tape into Garage Band and adjusted the tempo to an even 146 BPM. Then, I overlaid a replacement drum track (very simple & repetitive, matching the original, which is lurking in the mix underneath), added a bass line, and a “guitar break” (solo is not quite the right word) to fill in the place we’d originally left for it (but never added).

Very simple song, about one man’s love for his ten ton truck, or something. The vocals here are very tentative, we became a bit more confident in later work, but I think that adds some charm. It’s like a cross between 10cc and a future Offspring. It also has the most amazing fuzzbox effect on the guitar, with full bar chords being played. Don’t recall which distortion pedal was being used, but at the time I had made my own by taking the preamplifier from inside an old cassette player (the one that takes the input from the tape head) and feeding my guitar into that. Oh yes, that distorted alright! Perhaps that was in use here.

[EDIT: the sound quality on this YouTube video is pretty rough. I need to upload a cleaner version.]


Posted by Steve Wetherill in Music, 0 comments

Clef Master Rhythm Drum Machine

This is the drum machine I had in the early 80’s. I bought the kit version, which meant soldering all the components to the circuit board, mounting the switches, etc. There were dozens of diodes (literally), and I must admit I did make the mistake of soldering them all in back to front (got anode mixed with cathode, oops). I managed to desolder all of them and mount them all the correct way. The drum machine worked perfectly. 🙂 This is the drum machine used on the THD recordings, of which one has been featured on this site, possibly others to follow.

Here’s a link to a site I found while, on a whim, searching for “1980’s drum machine”, hoping for my memory to be jogged (could’t remember the name of the device until I saw the photos posted there). Using the Clef Master Rhythm (and some deft, real time sequence switching shenanigans), my musical accomplice, Andy Walker, and I managed to record cover versions of White Man and Tie Your Mother Down by Queen, as well as Rock Bottom by UFO, and others. Amazingly, the drums were not the worst part of those covers. 🙂

I’ve long since parted with the drum machine, given away during a move a long time ago. Of course, today there are much more capable options (such as Garage Band, which is essentially free, assuming you can afford a Mac), but there is a certain charm to the Master Rhythm’s typically analog sounds.

Posted by Steve Wetherill in Music, 0 comments