Story dated 17th June, 2002

What a great combination - live music and pinball - and that's what was on offer at this year's Pinball The Pinball is part of the Stoke Newington Festival in north London and took place last Saturday at the Stoke Newington Assembly Halls.

Entrance cost £6 (£4 concessions) with a flyer or £2 more without. Luckily there was a flyer on the pavement outside the Halls so for once, litter collection paid off.

The Pinball has run for a few years but this was the first with actual pinball games. There were six games in all, covering a wide range of years but none were that recent:

Bally Minizag, Gottlieb Far Out, Bally Star Trek, Bally Escape from the Lost World, William's Bride of Pinbot and Data East Star Trek.

The single player Minizag was the oldest game of the six (February 1968) and the Data East Star Trek the newest (December 1991).

The games were provided by a chap who goes by the name of Pinball Geoff. He claims to have around 140 games and these all looked in good condition - not pristine but given that most players were casual players at best, any extra effort would probably not have been fully appreciated.

The choice of games was good and there appeared to be no preference by the players for the more modern machines.

But the Pinball isn't all pinball. The major draw for the crowd was the prospect of seeing and hearing five bands playing live.

There wasn't time for me to hear all of them, but one which particularly grabbed my attention was called Spaghetti West One. (West One. Western. Geddit?)

For non-Londoners, West One - or W1 - is a postal district of the capital.

As you might have guessed they play Ennio Morricone-esque music but with a more modern twist. I started writing this review while they were on but had to stop to appreciate the music.

So after a few more songs and a change of band it was back to the pinball.

Unfortunately in the interim several games had developed faults. The Bally Star Trek had run out of credits, the Bride of Pinbot had a broken flipper and the Far Out had a stuck ball.

Although problems with pinball games is almost inevitable, it was a shame as the Pinball introduced many non-players to pinball and this wasn't the ideal image to project as confused would-be players failed to understand why their game wouldn't start - even putting in money to no avail.

Hopefully these problems were sorted out before the close of the show - other commitments prevented me staying beyond half-time.

Even with those problems the Pinball was a great event. The bands I heard were excellent and it was possible to play pinball and appreciate the music - indeed they seemed to complement each other.

There was good demand for the games and it would be nice to see even more games at the next event - perhaps some newer games too, to let non-pinball players know that new games are still around and being made.

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