tim   .


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.   hunkin



. I have had a recurring fantasy about having my own amusement arcade ever since I was a teenager, when I had a saturday job for Ruffler and Walker, an amusement machine manufacturer. I had built the Instant Eclipse machine in 1999 and put it in Southwold high street, but when I  put it out again in 2000, the people living next door complained and I managed to persuade Chris Iredale, the owner of the pier, to let me put it outside the pier cafe. It was not a great success. The salt air kept tripping the RCD, stopping it working.

 Meanwhile, Chris had started rebuilding the pier. Despite the dismal performance of the Eclipse, he agreed to let me have a tiny arcade (about 12 ft square) for my home-made slot machines the following summer. Most of the initial machines had recently come back from London when Cabaret Mechanical Theatre closed in 1999. The arcade was satisfyingly popular and I enjoyed keeping it running and thinking up ways to improve it - with additions like the photos of celebrities using the machines. I even built my own change machine.

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Machines in the 2001 arcade:
The Doctor
The Chiropodist

The Gene Forecaster
The Rodent Retail Trainer
The frisker

Before the pier opened, on a visit to my house to see the slot machines, Chris saw the water clock in my garden. He asked if I could put it on the pier. His enthusiasm for the clock was partly why he risked giving me the space for the arcade   see :
Southwold pier waterclock

During the first summer Chris gave me a few old machines from the main arcade that had become too unreliable. I found the Sega Space Harrier particularly inspiring, and decided to convert it into a machine of my own. By summer 2002 it had become the Microbreak, and I had also had time to make the Bathyscape. Test Your Nerve, another machine originally from Cabaret, returned from a holiday in Los Angeles, and Will Jackson refurbished his old Cabaret machines - Brainwash and Crankenstein - to join the collection. In June 2002, the arcade expanded to squeeze in the extra machines. The Booth of Truth, made in collaboration with Sarah Angliss, arrived in October 2002.  By this time I was keen to take over the entire shed and built Instant Weightloss, Quickfit and The Expressive Photobooth over the winter and expanded the arcade again in June 2003 to its current size.   



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