Fed up with Smash Hits? Still trying to work out what NME stands for? Is No. 1 a number 51 in your ratings? If the answer's 'yes' to any of the above questions, then Keep Publishing could have a little package designed just for you. No, not a game, but a fortnightly music magazine for the Spectrum.
Every two weeks you could receive a single cassette that may well solve that inky fingers problem associated with the traditional music press, and give you the latest lowdown on the pop world. Shake comes in the form of a normal cassette and inlay. There's no literature to read, just load in like a normal game. To keep you occupied you may be presented with a word square to unravel or even a few pop trivia questions to be solved before the first section has loaded.
Section One presents the magazine's contents, which can be chosen from a menu. Just like any other magazine there's an editorial, written by the editor, Roger N Foster, containing something different each issue. Further content usually consists of elements such as record reviews, Reflections and Breaking Out.
As many as 20 recently released singles are reviewed, and information given on up to ten LPs. Reviews state the record's title, recording company, plus a few critical and informative words by a named reviewer, and every issue a record is awarded the prestigious Star LP accolade. Musical tastes vary from artists like Five Star, Swing Out Sister and Curiosity Killed The Cat to the less well known Lillo Thomas and Boston.
Reflections contains a short piece on the music that inspired current hits. Issue Ten's was based on the inspiration and music of Edwin Starr. On the other hand, Breaking Out looks at current groups with a potential to be stars of the future.
For the quizzologically-minded a crossword puzzle features in every issue of Shake. You have two weeks to solve the pop problems contained within the squares until the next issue comes out with the result of the previous crossword and a completely new one to tax your musical mind.
After perusing Section One you can load in the next part. Section Two consists mostly of musical news and charts. Fans of musical statistics should love it because Shake contains a large selection of charts. As well as the usual current top UK popular singles and albums, there's also a chance to see lowdown on the soul charts, meander through the mellow sounds of the Killer Cuts, and storm your way through the top ten Heavy Rock singles of the moment.
Of course not all records run high in the British charts, Shake offers a run down on hits running fast in American and Canadian charts - although these vary from issue to issue. Issue Ten even provided an Election chart of ten singles most apt for playing on 11 June.
Regular news displays information on tour dates, current musically orientated books and sometimes even obituaries on recently passed away popsters.
Newsflashes in the last issue we received gave information on the new Spectrum 3, the coming of the Beastie Boys and the Radio One ban on George Michael's latest single.
Section Two also contains major features, such as Decca Through The Sixties, and Eric Clapton - History Of A Man, covered in full detail with accompanying digitised pictures.
The third and final load offers a small Pop Master quiz based on a changing theme, and reports from outside correspondents on live performances around the country from bands touring the UK.
Shake side two acts as a showcase for new bands, a chance to give the public a taste of their music. Keep Publishing releases a recording of an emerging group every issue, to be given a listening while a digitised picture of the artist(s) is displayed on screen, together with band background information.
Because he's planning on becoming a musical superstar soon, we asked Robin Candy for his opinion on Shake...
The presentation is particularly impressive. Layout of the pages is neat without being too cluttered and the use of digitised pictures gives a very professional appearance. Some title screens boast that Shake is the magazine you can hear, but I found sounds produced through the Spectrum quickly became annoying and I switched off.
I was happily surprised by how Shake manages to be reasonably up to date In Its news items - obviously an asset for a magazine of this type, although I could have done without the news messages scrolling slowly across the bottom of the screen, it would have been preferable had the entire text appeared on screen at the same time. The tape's B-side features demos from new bands, and while not always a thrill to listen to, this is certainly a novel way of promoting new names.