'Out On The town With G. Roy Butler'


Supa-computer first appeared in the 1960s James Bond film, Dr No. He played the role of a super computer that outputted secret data. In those days Sean Connery could dress in a Safari suit and be cool; he was even considered a ‘Lady’s man’. Supa-computer wore a cravat in the film and smoked a pipe. These affectations made him appear ‘brainy’. I first met Supa-computer at a swingers’ party in the seventies. His acting days were over but he was still an extraordinarily charismatic presence. He may have had one eye on the mirror as he entered the room but who could blame him? I sidled over to him and inputted some data describing my knitted vest, clogs, centre-parted curly hair and tartan trousers. He outputted a data card which simply sad, ‘Hubba hubba’. In those days the fashion was for shagpile carpet which both Supa-computer and I loved. I had to move with the times, however; and these days Supa-computer sits on a Perspex work station and I walk on polished floorboards.

In the hope that some day polished floorboards will be confined to the dust bin of history and I can roll around on shagpile once again, I asked Supa-computer to find me five fads that didn’t go the distance.

1. Having sex with a member of the British royal family – Your aim is true Supa-computer. This was quite a fad in the eighties but thankfully for trend-jumpers the fashion has passed its use-by date just as Prince Harry reaches manhood. No luck there for the diminutive ginger buffoon.

2. Television – By the year 2120 humankind will no longer be watching the telly. In the future families will gather around the wireless to listen to their favourite drama series and will respond to the ringing of the town cryer’s bell to go to the market square to hear the latest news bulletins. Fascinating glimpse into the future, Supa-computer.

3. Artificial Intelligence - Ha, ha, ha! Excuse my laughter, readers, but Supa-computer has added an amusing postscript: ‘I’m as thick as shit, me.’ Nice one Supa-computer and quite right – computers cannot think.

4. Flares – Soon after our chance meeting at the swingers’ party Supa-computer became my ‘old lady’. Together we fought in the last great revolution of the 20th century: the revolt against flared trousers. We might not have won but, like Lenin surveying 21st century capitalist Russia, we know we were right.

5. Nick Cave – When Cave crawled out of his southern gothic mansion in the seventies he was all the rage. He was hip, he was it, he was the boss and he was the buzz. ‘It’s so ironic, dahling, a private schoolboy from Melbourne acting like a hellfire southern preacher!’ And then we realised he was serious.