The St. Albans Rob Hubbard Fan Club - Human Race (Welcome To Goldrunner)
When I was 13 my claim to fame was,
Rob Hubbard slept in my bed.
No not like that.
My dad made computer games. At the time for the Atari ST / Amiga. I was still infatuated with the Commodore 64, mostly because game composers would make your heart soar with their soundtracks. Me and my friends would buy a game solely based on who wrote the music. We would intentionally stop a game loading to hear any 'hidden bars'. We hammered away at our synths, hopelessly trying to figure out what notes these virtuosos were summoning straight from heaven and through that sound chip.
I never thought dad really paid much attention to this. I guess he must have. One day he came into my bedroom and said,
A musician is coming over next week to help with the new game. We'll need your bedroom for a few nights. You'll sleep on the floor in your sisters' room.
Like hell I will.
Which composer?, I said.
Have you ever heard of Rob Hubbard?, and then he left.
What the fu... what did he just say?
I wouldn't believe it. And then my mum went to the train station and brought him home. Right there. Rob Hubbard, in my house. Because my dad worked from home we had a lot of business folk visit. My mum thought most of them were snooty and posh. She said Rob Hubbard was lovely. Of course he was lovely mum, he's Rob Hubbard.
He came over to work for a few days because he didn't know 68000 (the language of the ST) and dad helped him write a music driver. They worked night and day but on a few occasions this besotted fanboy was allowed in dad's office.
He was incredibly humble and very polite. We had a big Casio synth and I will never forget how, after lots and lots and lots of nagging from us, he played Sanxion Loading Music on it. Full 123bpm speed, two hands and absolutely note perfect. I don't think I've seen anyone play the keyboard that good, before or since. This guy was the real deal. The bee's knees.
He came over to my bedroom C64 setup to play us new tunes of his. I remember he thought the 1541 disk drive sandwiched vertically between two CRTs was hilarious. Back then interference and disk delicacy meant this was a very reckless thing to do but, meh, I was 13 fight me.
Amazing. What's this? He said it was a new Thalamus game called Delta and it was going to have loading music where you could alter it yourself. Amazing.
Woah, what's this? He said it was an alternative version of Sanxion Loading. It sounded crazy. He let me copy it and I listened to it countless times. It was slightly slower and bounced around all over the place. I've never heard it since.
A day or two later the job was done, my mum took him back to the train station and life returned to normal.
Those tunes will stick with me for life. When I sit at a keyboard I often idly play them to warm up my fingers. I sometimes find my fingers wandering into new notes like baby leaves growing on a tree. I imagine, like everyone else, I recreate this music to capture cherished nostalgic energy. A childhood souvenir you can wrap yourself in to feel warm.
I no longer deify him of course. He was an incredibly talented nice man at the top of his game. I'll always fondly remember those few days though. What a ride. Some things are worth sleeping on your sisters' floor for.