Oh Clive, you misunderstood man you, I really like Clive, he is a damn genius and despite the fact that he comes across in the BBC dramatization Micro Men (which if you have not seen and are into learning about how Acorn and Sinclair duked it out I would suggest you watch it.) as bit of crazy arsehole.
Now, before I start this is my opinion of the chap and because it is an opinion and is mine it does not really matter what I say as most of this is anecdotal and is literally me rambling about nothing important for a bit, just putting my 2p worth.
Clive Sinclair, he brought us the ZX 80, a marvel at the time costing under £100 British squids by mail order, which at the time was damn near unheard of in UK, it had a terrible membrane keyboard that felt like you were typing on a chopping board, the screen blanked momentarily every time a key was pressed or a BASIC program was executed because of the processor being busy, this annoyed a lot of folks and possibly induced many a seizure, but hey that’s what you got for a sub £100 computer.
Computers at the time were still seen as expensive pieces of kit for the hobbyist, sent out in kit form and required soldering fiddly bits together and turning your fingers into bunt sausages in the process so were generally out of reach of the average Joe and Mary as they required intimate knowledge of how computers worked to assemble.
However the Z80 gave the consumer the option of a fully assembled unit, it was available in kit form for a cheaper price, but the option for the consumer was there.
The Z80 sold around 10,000 units this made Clive crack a smile for once and lead the UK into being an the driving force behind the push for Micro Computers in Europe in the 80’s, well done Clive! A+
Sinclair’s marketing tactics at the time were very text heavy articles in magazines boasting about the specifications, the price everything and the kitchen sink Clive liked words, a lot, he liked to use phrases like “excellent value” and “powerful” in his articles to draw in the reader and it worked, quite well in fact, riding on the success of the ZX 80 they went on to design the ZX 81 and the widely popular ZX Spectrum that you can get for a dime a dozen on Ebay assuming the scalping (pardon my french) b*stards do not try to rip your skinny jeans off and steal your wallet.
He had a go at that dodgy electric car that he was kind of obsessed with, that never really did very well..
However good on him being forward thinking, the C5 may have been a gigantic wet fart humiliating Sinclair and maybe making him want to crawl into a ball and assume the fetal position forever, to quote the Sunday Times of all things:
“It travelled five yards outdoors when everything when phut and this motorised, plastic, lozenge rolled to a halt with all the stationary decisiveness of a mule”
I cannot help but laugh at that, I am a terrible person though.
However look where we are now, electric cars everywhere, charge points and what not popping up in every major city, he had the right idea, it was just the wrong place and time for that technology, it does not help that it looks like it was made by Fisher Price and has the style of a camp 80’s sci-fi flick with homoerotic connotations (to me anyway), I am not projecting, honest.
Either way, this man went on to bring us the ZX Spectrum, Sinclair QL (that means Quantum Leap), a plethora of other products, and eventually was bought out by Sir Alan Sugar of Amstrad where design literally is an afterthought rather then the center piece.
Credit where credit is due, Clive had a lot of teething problems and everything else problems, but he delivered, we are now starting to see the benefits of electric vehicles, we appreciate that Sinclair put the UK on the map in the micro era and boosted the UK’s computer literacy with his affordable products that were for the “everyman”.
The thing about Sinclair products is that they are timeless and even now you could put one in your house and they would not look out of place, that is excellent design, so I think we should all stand up and give old Clive a pat on the back, for all his failings he had some really innovative ideas and was just kind of in the wrong era for it to be relevant and resonate with the consumer.
Anyway I am signing off this one and condemning it to the archive, I hope you enjoyed this one, give us a wave Clive!