Stevie Mach

Writer, creative, general good guy… with mild OCD

My First Computer, My Amstrad

Young man in a public bar

I was living in a dilapidated flat in the town of Bellshill in 1986. I was working for the railway company, British Rail, and barely made enough to feed myself after paying the rent and council tax. Any other money was spent on booze, and in those days, I did drink a great deal. In fact, working shifts meant that I had patterns of free time that entailed drinking bouts at strange times of the day and night depending on what particular shift I was working. I worked on the freight side, so there was none or very little interaction with the public. Of course, it is completely different now, with workplace random drug and alcohol checks, and being virtually unable to legally drive with any alcohol in your system, which is as it should be, but back then, no one bothered too much if you had been drinking before work, and it was a given that you would go for a drink after work. As long as your speech wasn’t slurred and you weren’t falling over, you were mainly ok. If you had stepped over the line, you would be sent someplace quiet to sleep and sober up, or in extreme cases be sent home sick!

More or less, this was my routine for years. Work, drink, weekend clubs and parties, girls, booze, and sometimes drugs, though I was never a serious partaker in drugs.

How Can I Stay in More and Drink Less?

Of course, patterns of behaviour become habits, and habits become addictive and hard to break. Back then I was only doing what a great deal of young people were doing, and some probably are doing the same today. But, today, I would probably be classified as an alcoholic, or at least someone with a serious drink problem. Today, though, it probably wouldn’t happen, at least not in a work environment, there are too many checks and balances, and therefore, you would have to knuckle down and abstain, or lose your job.

I Decided I Needed a Computer

I was living alone at the time, and it was hard sometimes to just stay in and glare at the walls when the nearest bar was a couple of minutes away. I would scribble some writing down on paper, and type it up if I had a writer’s workshop to go to, but the writing was random and haphazard. I decided though that I needed something to distract me from hitting the pub all the time, and so came up with the idea of writing more, and that it would be far easier to write more if I had a computer.

Computers though, then, were out of my financial reach, this was before the advent of windows*, therefore computers were all floppy disc green screen simple affairs, but still very expensive at that time to buy.

Amazingly though, at that time, for a Christmas present, one of my sisters bought me an Amstrad 1512. It included LocoScript word-processing software, and a green screen monitor, and was a revelation and an inspiration to write with. It was also the best present anyone has ever given me.

Now I Needed to Write

From then on, I wrote profusely, it was such a joy to write something, then easily edit it on the screen. No more ink scribble edits to decipher, no more retyping to do to have a legible copy of text, and the ability to print off as many copies as I wanted. Such joy! I was now attending two regular writer’s workshops and doing weekly exercises for them, as well as writing short-stories, and keeping a regular personal journal of thoughts and ideas. I entered some writing competitions around this time, won one of them and received some nice book tokens, and started planning out my next novel.

That computer kept me motivated and inspired me to continue writing. It served me well for a good few years. That was my first computer, an Amstrad 8512.

If you visit my homepage,, you will see a list of my books for sale. If you do take a chance and purchase one, if you enjoy it, please leave a review, it will be greatly appreciated.

An Amstrad 8512 computer

* I believe windows computers came out around 85/86 but were not commonly on sale to the UK public at that time, or perhaps they were available, but I knew nothing about them at that time. I think it was the early 90’s before they really became affordable and popular.

Featured image at top of the page AI generated.


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