Birmingham User Group (BUG)

How it started, by Clive Thomason








I was a special projects manager for Currys (the retail group before they joined Dixons), back in 1982.

My brief was to launch Atari Computers onto the high street. Our main working partners were Geoff & Ann Brown (Centresoft), Mike at Calisto Computers, Derek Moon (Marketing guru who put the proposal to Currys main board) and Dave Clarke, who oversaw the operation from Birmingham's main branch.

One of the ways to get computer awareness to the masses was to hold open evenings or weekends (to demonstrate the complexity of 1k of RAM etc.!)

I proposed that we start a user group in the Birmingham area, and looked around for suitable premises. I came across the pub in the Bull Ring and rented the upstairs room (I think initially once or twice a month).

Our first main enthusiast was the programming manager from Sperry Univac who was fascinated by the operation of the Atari 400. We then had regulars coming in the Birmingham store  - I think Steve Gould?, Keith (beard & glasses), and a kid who looked like Jimmy Hendrix and wore black contact lenses - and put up posters advertising the first night, which had a massive turnout.

I then decided to start a newsletter/magazine for the Atari Users, but due to being employed by Currys - and with the user group funded by them also - it was deemed one sided to also be producing the magazine. So, we formed a committee and Les said that he would like to do it, and the rest is history.....