Fear and Loathing

John Minson


It is hot. The ice is gently crackling as it fights a losing battle to keep my Bloody Mary at a drinking temperature. If this continues I might just pack it in and fly off somewhere cool. A sea breeze on a Greek beach sounds a tempting alternative to the city heat.

Actually I may as well be anywhere else but here, sweating over a word processor, because the software industry has gone into summer recess. Nobody wants to launch anything, even if it means copious cold drinks, in this weather.

I’ve even been ticked off this month for constantly dwelling on the state of my stomach. The lovely Jeni Beattie, who handles PR for OCEAN, apparently took offence at my remarks about the scarcity of free lunches from the Mancunian moguls.

“Next time we have a new game we’ll just send him luncheon vouchers,” she told Graeme. Or a Fortnum’s hamper, Jeni... that would do nicely.

I have another follow up to the last column. Remember debonaire Andrew Wright, ACTIVISION press relations person and noted lobster hunter, whose photo featured among last issue’s ramblings? Well, no sooner had he appeared than his fate was sealed!

It isn’t so much that the blond bombshell is leaving the plush Hampstead headquarters of ACTIVISION. That’s just playing follow my leader as Greg Fischbach bails out for pastures new. Interestingly, I interviewed this extremely rich American yonks ago — he hung on longer than Andy, but even he couldn’t resist the Curse of Minson.

No, the true horror is not even his move to The People’s Republic of Islington but that (ha, ho ha...) he’s joining NEWSFIELD!

Yes, Andy is to head THALAMUS, the new software label, along with Gary Liddon, the only person I know who actually makes me shudder. Honestly, a half of Barbican and the Big L starts rolling around like a graduate of the Ollie Reed charm school.

Several examples of the Bodie and Doyle of bad behaviour’s boorishness were to be savoured at a recent party, thrown by the extremely charming assistant ed of a rival magazine (guessing who is quite a T’zer in itself!)

Myself, my attorney Tim, that well known man of medicine Dr. Laszlo Leys and his fiancee, Courtenay, were enjoying a quite drink when Wright took it upon himself to physically abuse me. Liddon stood by and laughed. Even the Kray Brothers were preferable to this sort of harassment.

Luckily it took mere words to set Andy to rights. Two words in fact, but I’m too much of a gentleman to mention her name in print. “’Ow did you know that?” asked the software industry’s answer to Jimmy Somerville. No, that’s unfair — Jimmy Somerville isn’t a silly enough question to deserve such an answer.

The Pearly Queen of Argus Press Software, Jane Smith. Would you send this woman a banana?

Well, Andrew, the Shadow Knows that and a lot more, and unlike ZZAP’S puny penumbra, the Shadow comes out after dark. This Shadow knows who you treated to two nights in one of Ludlow’s poshest hotels. But again I’m too much of a gentleman to say who... just that the room cost more than £1.99. Now ’ow did I know that?

Back to the clothes horse’s sidekick though — Superyob! Amongst this human garbage disposal’s feats is the small matter of the Apricot and chicken. Who else could possess the style and grace to cover the screen of somebody else’s ACT computer with the greasy debris of a Colonel Sanders?

The machine had to be stripped down and bathed to remove the Kentucky Fried felon’s remains. His behaviour at the party was so unwelcome that the hostess, sweet delicate thing that she is, retired to bed very early indeed.

Understandably Andy has been hired to present the public face of THALAMUS. The thought of Half Biscuit-Half Beast, who weighs in at 16 stone, I’m told (and though he’s over six feet tall manages to look much shorter) being the public face of anything is akin to an obscene Mount Rushmore monument in its magnitude.

Meanwhile in the world of software, strange things have been happening. The lovely Jane Smith of ARGUS recently received a banana through the post. So did several other gorgeous, pouting computer beauties. When somebody starts sending young women bananas, it’s time for some hardcore investigative journalism.

My first call was to my personal mole, the Elegant Baxter, who is no longer eligible, I’m quite happy to say. Michael is quite capable of making people go weak at the knees, though unluckily for him his suitors are not always one hundred per cent suited. He wasn’t the man behind these particular fruity doings though.

Next I phoned Jane to see if she’d sing. Well, the banana may have been yellow but she was no canary. I asked her if it was firm or squishy to the touch but she declined to comment. All she would say was that an instruction accompanied it, warning her to wait for the gorilla.

Eventually the gorilla arrived — or rather a photo of said simian did. And with it an explanation. It was all a publicity stunt by a PR agency, touting for business. Now I ask you — if you were Jane Smith, would you hire somebody who send you a banana to publicize your games?

Still, it brings us neatly back to where we started and my thought for the issue. In a month where there are no launches, even a Jiffy bag full of pulped banana would be welcome. So Jane, if you didn’t eat it, please forward before I starve.

Yours in fear and loathing,

Hunger S.Minson