Small World

When I was 15, my family took a trip to the UK. I was pretty obsessed with the country since my two favorite things in the world — my Commodore 64, and later my Amiga — were actually celebrated there. I would buy import British computer magazines (at Rich’s Cigar, still do) and pore over them infinitely at the dinner table.

One of my favorite things to do on my Amiga was write music in trackers, a unique, note-by-note way to write tunes that was half-music, half-programming.

When in England, I requested a stop: the offices of CU Amiga magazine. We showed up and rang the buzzer and someone thoughtfully let us in and we sat around a table and talked — 15-year-old me, my Dad (thanks Dad), and the magazine’s technical editor, Mat Broomfield. Eventually, I pulled out a disk with one of my Amiga songs I’d written, just to share. 

Mat surprised me: “Hey, how about we make this the tune of the month, and put it on the next cover disk!”. I was thrilled. And nervous. (The song was unfinished.)

They mentioned something about a free subscription to the magazine (it never showed), and I never saw the actual issue itself (importing was spotty), so I assumed it just never came together, and eventually forgot about it.

Until last year. It all came flooding back. Did I dream this? I nervously Googled.

There it was, thanks to the internet: the September ’91 issue coverdisk.

I quickly found and bought a DVD of every issue of CU Amiga. It really happened:

Then, Cut to Yesterday

Rob Beschizza, out of Boing Boing, read my post about The Incident music:

 

To summarize: not only did the magazine actually publish my dumb song, but a 13-year-old Rob Beschizza remixed it, and as internet pals we had no idea until yesterday that we shared this connection.

You’re pretty cool, universe.

(For the curious, here’s the song on SoundCloud, and the original modI’m warning you: it’s not good. The middle portion is wholesale ripped off from the TurboGrafx game Ys, and I have no idea why it goes all Russian at the end, I think I got bored. But, it’s now a piece of personal history.)

Finally, Consider This Postscript

Steven Frank, co-founder of Panic, and I met because I was looking for the ProTracker software used to write this Amiga music, and he had a copy. Were it not for Amiga mod music, Panic would not exist.

4 thoughts on “Small World

  1. This is great! My friend had an Amiga 500 and we used to love reading those imported UK Amiga magazines that were roughly the height and width of a box of corn flakes!

  2. I think your mod was probably the first mod I ever heard. I haven’t heard it in 20 years and yet, listening to it now, I still remember it. My Amiga 500 has not survived, but your music remains embedded deep in my skull somewhere.

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