Editor's Reunion: Will

By Will Watts

Originally published in EUG #50

Hello everyone! My name is Will Watts (just like Michael Caine but completely different) and, for the benefit of those who don't know, I should explain that I started the Electron User Group in June 1991 and edited the first thirteen issues before handing things over to Gus Donnachaidh in 1994.

The first eight issues of EUG were paper-based "magazines", but when the cost (and hassle) of photocopying became too much, I thought it best that we move to disk. I should also point out that during this changeover I received invaluable help from Richard Dimond and (ex-member) Derek Walker as well as many other people.

You may be interested to hear that our new(ish) editor Dave Edwards has plans to transfer (transcribe?!) those early paper beauties onto disk, making them available as back issues. I hope he intends to put a health warning on them!

Our editor requested that I write a piece for inclusion in this, the landmark fiftieth issue of EUG, and I understand that Gus will be writing something too. Without detracting from Dave's exciting new innovations and infectious enthusiasm, I think Gus is the person we should all be thanking at this moment. He kept things ticking over for a very long time and, in collaboration with Richard Dimond, made many improvements to the EUG disks.

Dave - and several other people - have asked how I feel about the way EUG has developed since I bowed out. Well, on the whole I've been quite pleased with the way things have gone. Gus created stability and brought new members on board - many of whom were refugees from other 8-bit groups which folded. With no commercial companies now supporting the Elk/BBC directly (as far as I know!) [Superior do! - Ed], everything is up for grabs and, under Dave Edwards' administration, it looks like 'protected' software will be cracked and distributed! Then there's this new-fangled Internet thingy...!

So, with Dave Edwards as the new skipper at the helm and Gus Donnachaidh as the 'glue' that held things together for so long, I have to see myself as a brief piece of ancient history!

I'll leave the other two Eds to ponder the growth and future of EUG and explain why I started the thing in the first place...

When Electron User magazine (Database, later Europress, Publications) rolled off the press for the last time, I was a bit stunned, along with many other Electron owners. The Micro User magazine had promised to cater for Elk users but made no great effort because, like Acorn User magazine, it was rushing to cater for the expanding Archimedes market.

However, Europress invited ex-EU readers to subscribe to what it described as a "Brill!" new magazine called Let's Compute! So, partly against my better judgement, I sent off my subscription and in due course, the Let's Compute! club pack arrived. The pack consisted of a folder containing - amongst other things - a paper baseball cap, a badge and a red plastic ruler (or 'rule' if you want to be pedantic). I remember my partner Alison trying very hard not to laugh as she watched a hulking great (then) 35 year old examing goodies suitable for a kid of eight.

There was only one course of action. Very solemnly, I put the paper hat on my head, pinned the badge to my shirt, held the red plastic ruler like a baton and marched around the room singing, "Let's Compute! Let's Compute!" to no particular tune. At this point Alison's composure began to crumble. It's true what they say, you know. "If you can make a woman laugh..."

I think that was the turning point. Let's Compute! could not, and would not, be the end of the line for the Electron. Someone had to do something! So, I took the bull by the horns, grasped the nettle with both hands, put my nose to the grindstone, shoulder to the wheel, stiffened my upper lip, took a deep breath, girded my loins, threw caution to the wind, put my whole self in and did the Hokey Cokey. I was knackered. The rest is history.

There can be no doubt that running EUG is a labour of love. It can be very rewarding and great fun at times but there is still an awful lot of boring hard slog involved. I'm glad I don't have to do it any more and my hat (Not the one from the Let's Compute! club pack) is off to Gus and Dave E for all their hard work.

Well, I think that's quite enough from me for now. It only remains to congratulate everyone who has had a hand in keeping EUG going - onwards and upwards! Here's to the next fifty issues!

Will Watts, EUG #50