Forbidden to be footloose

I’m becoming infatuated with the South African novelist J. M. Coetzee. Such spartan prose!

In his third-person memoir, Youth, Coetzee writes about working for IBM’s London offices in 1963.

Even though he worked on the cutting edge of technology, the practice was mind-numbingly dull; much unpaid overtime was required; and when his programming skills were lent in a minor way to the Cold War effort, the job caused him to contradict his personal ethics.

The account contains what must be one of the earliest examples of using a computer to skive:

He also writes of how the odds are sometimes stacked against the aspiring Escapologist:

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Robert Wringham is the editor of New Escapologist. He also writes books and articles. Read more at

2 Responses to “Forbidden to be footloose”

  1. Thanks Rob from the future!

  2. Hi! It’s Rob from the future here and I just stumbled upon this old post. Something I failed to note about the first quote is that, as well as being an early example of using a computer to skive, it’s an early example of computer programmers working devotedly for no extra money into the night.

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