“Now, let’s take a look inside this fascinating medieval long burrow”

St Andrew's St, 1986

Between 1984 and 1986, the BBC partnered with Acorn, Philips, and Logica to create a modern version of William I’s Domesday Book. Stored on a pair of optical laserdiscs, the modern Domesday project contained a multimedia snapshot of life in the UK during the mid-eighties.

I remember watching a children’s quiz show back then and wishing we could be taught in such a cool way, but all the Irish Department of Education had to offer were fifty year old film projectors and velcro figures on felt boards.

The BBC has now released the completed work online, and it looks like Cambridge hasn’t really changed all that much in thirty years.

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Ranger, Barbarian, Magician, Thief, Cavalier, Acrobat… and Dick

Dungeons & Dragons
Image by DraXus via Flickr

Have you noticed everyone on Facebook changing their profile pictures into cartoon characters from their childhood. You may have done this yourself. You may have been guilted into doing so by random appeals on behalf of the NSPCC or other child protection agencies. You might even have changed your profile picture into a character from Dungeons and Dragons, maybe Dungeon Master himself.

Remember Dungeons and Dragons? Kind, friendly Dungeon Master leads our youthful protagonists through a series of trials and adventures always ending in IMPORTANT LESSONS on FRIENDSHIP and SHARING. What a nice chap.

Wrong.

Dungeon Master was an asshat. He abducted six kids and an endangered animal, tortured them for fourteen hours, and left them to die in unresolved peril. Want to raise awareness about child abuse? There’s your child abuse right there.

Dungeon Master – the Joseph Fritzl of cartoon land.

Update: We have received an injunction from the Unicorn Anti-defamation League and therefore are obliged to say that Uni was hella cute, if a little bit whiny. We offer our apologies and no offence towards any magical creature was intended.

Except to Dungeon Master. He’s a dick.

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Giving the Schafernaker

Ben and Tom had the idea of getting the phrase giving the Schafernaker into common usage, just like the Santorum (NSFW) and lifting your luggage (NSFHypocrites).

Next time you’re cut up on the motorway, pushed about on the Tube, or just plain fed up with the world consider giving the Schafernaker.

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And I looked, and behold a pale horse

The War GamesImage via Wikipedia

I would encourage everyone to check out The War Game, a BBC fictional documentary by Peter Watkins which was never shown due to governmental pressure. Appearing to be the first of what is now a genre of “aftermath” movies from Briggs’s sublime When the Wind Blows to ABC’s The Day After Guttenberg-fest, it’s in equal measures frightening, harrowing, and an ultra-realistic depiction of what might have been.

I grew up in the 80’s of Reagan, Thatcher, and Haughey and remember the all pervasive fear of nuclear war. Survivalist books were on the best seller lists. Chernobyl gave us in Europe an idea of the widespread damage a nuclear detonation could do. Even Tomorrow’s World got in on the act with a special programme simulating a Soviet Nuclear attack being repelled by Reagan’s fantastical SDI programme (if anyone can find something on this please let me know).

Of course, since I was only nine years’ of age, I truly believed there was a nuclear attack. Thankfully Mr. TuliĆ© put me right the next day in school.

UPDATE: Ferg pointed out Threads, an eighties documentary which is just as harrowing.

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