Amstrad and other home computing hobby fanzines were a big thing back in the good old days of 8 bit – and we should know, our chief pen-pusher Stuart Williams started his editing career publishing one using a screeching Citizen 120D printer and a photocopier for the West Midlands Amstrad User Group here in England!
Decades on, though, surely fanzines are more of a thing with the terminally-obsessed followers of footie, fantasy fan-fiction or TV sci-fi? Aren’t websites, forums, Facebook and blogs the true, deep-burrowed homes and hangouts of geekish ‘amsters these days? Maybe not entirely – because a cracking little real-world, honest-to-goodness paper-based fanzine dedicated to our favourite Arnold has now come to the attention of RCN direct from the pen, or should that be the virtual dot-matrix printer, of James Ford from cpcfanzine.com.
The first issue of COLOUR PERSONAL COMPUTING (catchy title, eh?) was released to general acclaim back before Christmas, tagged as the Winter 2016/17 issue (arriving in January) and costing just three quid in the UK. It was packed chock-full of enough goodies, cheeky fun and useful info to fill the Oh, Mummy-obsessed bonce of any CPC-trufan. And we couldn’t wait to take a closer look ourselves (thanks, James!).
Of course, these days, the age-old fannish methods of production (wonky hand-scanner, toothless dot matrix printer with a half-dead ribbon, spirit duplicator, photocopier running short of toner, etc) are somewhat looked down upon (why, we cry?) and have pretty much given way to the laser printer, the pdf file and the glossy digital print/print on demand system, and this is inevitably true of COLOUR PERSONAL COMPUTING – or CPC for short.
So, while there’s still plenty of the undisciplined, rambling but really fun feel of the old-school hobbyist newsletter about it, with issue 1 being jam-packed higgledy-piggledy full to the brim with everything from the contents page to a wordsearch via the news section, reviews, hardware add-ons, coding and a look at new Amstrad games out now or in development, there is also a modern, digital slickness about the thirty-six page A5 monochrome mini-mag which speaks of consideration, quality and polished production.
It’s even properly folded and ‘stitched’ (stapled, for the uninitiated), unlike the good old days of hand-creased fanfold-printed fanzines loosely tacked together with a bent staple in the corner. Oddly enough, though, CPC is subtitled ‘toilet reading for your Amstrad Colour Personal Computer’, so maybe it should have been printed on cheap paper and stapled on the corner after all! Naturally, we would never put it to such a use, as it’s bound to become a future collector’s item.
What’s more, there’s adverts in it! Full page ones, no less! Well, if CPC carries on as a regular quarterly publication, which is the aim, it’s going to need more funding, and not just from Kickstarter, to get it up and out there amongst the (millions, surely) of online ‘amsters spread out across t’internet. So if you’re a seller of CPC goods and services reading this, this may just be your opportunity to spread the word as well.
Now, it has to be said that this is no replacement for the late, great Amstrad newsstand magazines of yore, like Amstrad Action or Amtix, but it doesn’t pretend to be. CPC is a fun little publication with a lot going for it that says as much about the enthusiasm and passion of the editor and contributors (mostly virtual replicants of James at the moment, it has to be said, so there’s a chance for budding retro hacks there) for their subject as it does about the many fine qualities of the good old CPC464, 664, 6128 and Plus sizes of same.
There’s also something endearingly retro about having a real, printed publication all about your favourite computer clutched in your hot little hand, rather than a bunch of insubstantial pixels on a screen. And that means CPC may be just what you’re looking for, dear reader. We certainly loved reading issue 1 here at RCN towers, and hope to see issue 2 in due course. This time around it’s even going to be in – appropriately enough – full colour!
Issue 2 of COLOUR PERSONAL COMPUTING has now been crowdfunded via Kickstarter, and can be pre-ordered to be sent around the globe, via http://www.cpcfanzine.com where subscription options are also available. There’s even a Facebook page.
So far, thirty-nine Kickstarter backers have pledged their support for issue 2, and it’s already fully funded. Why not give Colour Personal Computing your support too, and help get that circulation up?
If you’re still not sure, or you want a full set, you can still buy issue 1 as shown here, or download a free 8-page pdf sampler of that issue, via this link. Go check it out!
Review copy of CPC 1 kindly supplied by Colour Personal Computing.