He was just about to launch the first personal computer costing less than £100 - £99.95 indeed or you could get all the components in a plastic bag and solder it up yourself for £79.95. It was the ZX80, it had 1 kilobyte of memory on board and needed a TV screen to display anything, a cassette-recorder to store anything and was loaded with Sinclair BASIC as a programming language. You could, if you were geek enough, also tiptoe directly on the firmware and program in machine code. It was neat, it was a triumph of appropriate technology, it was catchy . . . and it caught on in a huge way. Cheques and International Money Orders poured in from all over the world and one of TB's many jobs was to open the envelopes and bank armfuls of cheques.
For some reason (Oxfam?), she tore all the stamps off the incoming envelopes and put them in a biscuit tin. Meanwhile back in Boston I was taking a course called Mammalogy with the great bat-expert (would that be chiroptologist?) Tom Kunz. So, from sitting at the feet of the master, I knew a bit about the taxonomy and characteristics of animals that suckle their young. When I came back to Europe the following Summer, I went through the biscuit-tin, abstracted all the representations of mammals and stuck them onto sheets according to their evolutionary relationships. When we tricked about with stamps as children, the standard album was arranged alphabetically by country, which is another way of looking at the world.
So today I'll give Sir Clive a slightly off-centre tribute to say:
"So long and thanks for all the stamps".
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