My first computer!
This was my birthday in November 1981.

I remember going to get the ZX81 on the bus with my mum and riding back holding it on my lap and trying to absorb every word from the back of the box. It was a few weeks before my birthday so it had to go away to be wrapped up and given to me on the actual day. Not fair! :)

When I finally got to use it I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. After finally tuning it in to the family TV, set up on the living-room floor in front of it, I opened the manual and tried to figure out what was going on. I found the only way I could get a line to “go in” was to put REM at the start. After that, I could type anything - so that seemed the way to go. So my first program was a bunch of REM statements listing the family’s favourite things.

Eventually I got the hang of it with help from listings in magazines, and in particular the book “30 Programs for the ZX81”.

The next year I upgraded to the ZX Spectrum and these some great years. It was the middle of the 80’s, trading games and tips. Arguing with the Commodore 64 owners and lusting after BBC B's Elite. Writing programs myself - always in basic - including a few games for my younger brother: a horse racing game and an FA Cup simulator.

So a job in computers was the only way forward for me. With some skill and a lot of luck I got my first job as a trainee programmer straight from A-Levels and never looked back. I met some good people and had some amazing adventures. Long may it continue!

Thank you Sir Clive.