Tech Lives: Vic Reeves
T3: Well now we’ve got that clear… Did you get the questions that we emailed you the other day?
VIC: No, I haven’t got an email.
T3: What really?
T3: Do you have a computer?
VIC: Yes, but I don’t really look at it very often. There is one in the house. My wife looks at it. I think she uses it occasionally, to look at the prices of shoes.
T3: Well technology is useful for that. Communication and shoes: that’s its two main functions. So, what was the first gadget you ever bought, or were given?
VIC: A shoe horn probably. A shoehorn is probably one of the greatest gadgets ever. If you wear constrictive shoes, then it’s a great boon to the shoe wearer. I think I probably had that for my ninth birthday, when I was wearing white leather shoes that were particularly uncomfortable. Even though they had another gadget which was animal prints on the bottom of the sole.
T3: So you could pretend to be a fox in snow and mud?
VIC: No, so you put your shoe into the dirt and mud and it had like a reference for several animals on it. So I could tell whether that print was a roe deer. It had a compass in the heel.
T3: Did you find as a result that hunters kept turning up at your house, thinking that you were a roe deer?
VIC: No, they were only tiny! This is going back to the 60s, and they were only about a quarter of the size of an actual print and there were about 16 on the bottom of the sole and it was just a recognition thing. But it did have a compass in the heel which invariably filled with sweat in the first wearing of the shoe. You could never tell where you were. You had to take your shoe off and then try and dry it out with the aid of the sun to see where you were on earth. An early GPS I guess – your shoe.
T3: Do you remember what the first electronic gadget you bought was?
VIC: Does Scalextrix count? Well, I didn’t have one of those, I had the Matchbox Motorised Motorway which was a cheap version of the Scalextric. It looked the same but it had springs in the grooves which got jammed up and then set on fire. It was the poor man’s Scalextric and it was terrible.
T3: Wouldn’t that mean more realistic crashes?
VIC: Well not really, because the springs used to buckle in the grooves so it would just get all jammed up. The mechanism, the cogs and all that, kept whirring round grinding against the spring which would then cause smoke to rise from the pack usually within the first two hours of opening the box.
T3: So it’s more of a car breakdown simulator than racing.
VIC: It was just a really depressing Christmas present.
T3: What is the most recent gadget you have purchased (or been given)?
VIC: We’ve got a coffee making device. I’ll go have a look at it know. It’s Nescafe Dolce Gusto Cruz. It involves a little sort of dish of coffee that you put into the slot and then you press a button and a cappuccino comes out of it. It’s so you can pretend to be posh for a moment.
T3: George Clooney advertises those doesn’t he?
VIC: Oh, does he? Doesn’t he do the other ones? A posher one? We did have that one but it was too much of a palaver to get the little pods. So we went back to the Dolce Gusto one. It’s the easiest to use, and you can buy the little pod things in Sainsbury’s, so you don’t have to get them off a computer.
T3: What’s your favourite type of coffee for it?
VIC: You know what, they come in various coloured pods and I don’t know what they are. I suppose if I looked on the box I would know, but I just stick whatever’s nearest to hand in. I prefer a cup of tea anyway.
T3: Classic. Elegant. Does it froth the milk for you or is it in the pod?
VIC: No that’s the best thing about it. It froths the milk for you. It’s like the sort of thing you see at a railway station.