Thursday, 25 October 2012

Ceefax No More

There has been lamentation among cricketers the length and breadth of these islands.  Ceefax is no more.

It is widely reported that former Prime Minister John Major used to check the cricket scores on Ceefax between meetings.  Fantasy Bob too - not the same TV obviously, and not the same meetings. But the same cricket.

FB suspects that John Major shared his complete absence of any understanding of how Ceefax worked. But when it first arrived it seemed to him a magical vision of the future.  A TV set became something more than a TV set, and the pressing of buttons on a remote control became a new skill for a future age.  Just as being unable to find the remote became a major source of stress among cricketers.

The only page numbers from Ceefax that FB remembers are the cricket numbers, 340 for the index and 342 for the Test match scorecard. There is no cricketing reason for these numbers to be have been chosen. But chosen they were and they gave instant access to the state of play.

And now what was the future is the past.  Digitised out of existence. 340 has no meaning any more - it is just another number.

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