The ( web site used Drupal for its content. The underlying data base was turned off for security in 2017. Some pages archives by the Internet Archive Wayback Machine and web archiving sites may be used to recover some content when necessary.


The * in the URL is a wild card and the first indicates “any date” suth the second meaning any tail end to the URL.


Austin Tate’s Blog to 31st January 2018

This is a backup of Austin Tate’s Blog for posts up to 31st January 2018. The style in use is slightly narrower than the original theme used (Twenty Ten) which had a main content width of 640 pixels.  Hence a lot of images do not lay out side-by-side where they were intended to.

Also note that although the media library is copied over to this backup, the links in the posts point back to the original blog location. The URL assigned to the backup media items is all lower case, so a quick replacement of the URLs on the XML for the imported posts was not possible.

All current posts are at

Early Drag Racing in UK

This post brings together some early scrapbook material about my involvement and that of my brother Jon with the early development of drag racing in the UK. I was prompted to bring this material together and scan some early press articles on our activities after an enquiry from Jeremy Cookson who runs a web site documenting early drag racing strips in the UK, and he was asking abot Riccall Airfield in North Yorkshire. This was the location of a number of eighth mile sprint and drag racing events run by the British Quarter Mile Association (BQMA).

Jeremy Cookson
Raceway Promotions & Club Liaison
Shakespeare County Raceway @ Long Marston Airfield

I run a Facebook page entitled UK Drag & Sprint Strips That Time Forgot. This is where we document as much as we can about long forgotten airstrips and motor racing circuits other than the established ones like Santa Pod. Recently we have added a profile about Riccall Airfield, Yorkshire where we are trying to piece together event and date information from the days when the certainly forgotten about British Quarter Mile Association ran a few eighth mile events in the late sixties (1969 I think). So, this is when I performed the usual search on Google and came across your blog page and references made to Riccall. In your time I note that you used to be the flag starter as well as Competition Secretary for the BQMA, and I was wondering if you could give me some additional information about these events that we could include in the profile. As you will see from the FB link we have uncovered 3 photos, the club logo and that’s about it. Since I have discovered that the club had its own newsletter called Acceleration. Dave Hoy and Chris Tilney I believe contributed to this publication with cartoons and artwork. Chris in fact is one of our Group Members who used to help out running events for the Newcastle & District Timing Association and Millfield and Tughall Airfields before moving to Felton as the North East Hot Rod Association.

My reply tried to give some information about BQMA…

You came across my blog post which included a short bit on BQMA and the eighth mile strip races we did at Riccall.

1965-10-03-BDRA-Dragfest-2-Woodvale-TicketMy other club involvement in the mid 1960s through to the mid 1970s was in Drag Racing clubs. Younger brother Jon won a competition in the Eagle Comic and was awarded 1964 “Drag Festival” tickets. I went with Jon and elder brother Morris to see the second visit of the US Drag Racing Team to the UK in October 1965 and saw them in the Drag Fest at RAF Woodvale Airdrome near Southport in Lancashire when the first 200+ m.p.h. finish from a standing start on a quarter mile run on British soil was done by Buddy Cortines. The participants included Don Garlits and Tony Nancy amongst other famous early US drag racers.


Drag-Racing-UK-Clubs BQMA Logo

I was a member of the National Sprint Association (NSA), British Hot Rod Association (BHRA) and British Drag Racing Association (BDRA). I also was involved as competition secretary and flag starter for the British Quarter Mile Association (BQMA) who ran events at Riccall Airdrome in Yorkshire. On one event at Riccall advertised for us by free (some called them “pirate”) Radio 270 we had thousands of people turn up to see the drag racers. I ran a drag bike in some events, and my brother Morris who raced a go-kart also entered at one stage with that.

My scrap book also contains a copy of two short pieces in The King’s School Pontefract Magazine – “The Pomfretian” from 1964 and 1965, and some local events we ran to promote drag racing in the North of Britain… including a Dragster float in the Knottingley Carnival on 3-Jul-1965 and a social evening on 18-Nov-1965.

In late 1965 and early 1966 brought together drag racers in the North for some social events which led to the formation of the BQMA…

I designed the BQMA logo and still have the original artwork in my sketchbook. A run of stickers/decals and a few chrome bumper badges were produced. One is on the wall in the De Lacy Motor Club House at Brotherton in Yorkshire with various motoring memorabilia. Also here is an image of a BQMA membership card… mine from 1967…

There is a posed BQMA group image of a couple of the dragsters and three drag bikes with their crews at Riccall…

I cannot recall how many races we ran. The races were only open to club members by our RAC competition licence… but one specific event went a bit viral when Radio 270 (as In mentioned above) ran a LOT of mentions of it on the radio.

At that time Jon was in touch with Radio 270 off the Yorkshire coast and even went out to the boat that had the transmitter just at the time we did one event. He had met Mr. Proudfoot, a supermarket chain owner in Yorkshire, who was involved with Radio 270 and got invited out there… which led to the coverage on the station and encouraged a LOT of people to come. I recall over 1,000 turned up, but that is from a vague memory! And to comply with our licence to let them in we had to get them to join the BQMA… So for a year we had a BIG membership! They did get their Gestetner produced newsletters, but it was way more work than we expected. Mike Hobman was the general secretary. He died at a very young age I am sorry to say. Our dad, Charles Tate (a local JP) helped us out a LOT and took charge when the car queues backed up at Ricall. Coordinated with the police to make sure there were no obstructions and helped sign folks in at the gate. Sterling job for which I have continued to have fond memories of a busy but excellent day. We met our licence conditions.

Ruth 2.0

Ruth 2.0 and Roth 2.0 are low-poly mesh avatar bodies, specifically designed for Opensimulator. They are built to use standard SL UV maps using scratch-built open source mesh bodies by Shin Ingen with other open source contributions from the OpenSimulator Community.

This page provides links and resources elating to these developments…

Vue Virtual World Artworks

Vue is a virtual educational and research institute bringing together all those interested in the use of virtual worlds for teaching, research and outreach related to the University of Edinburgh.

A number of virtual world artworks have been created in the Virtual University of Edinburgh (Vue) virtual world platforms such as Second Life and OpenSimulator. Some are novel pieces of art created collaboratively by members of the University from a number of Schools, others preserve temporary real world art installations which have long since disappeared to preserve their concepts and designs, others honour University members who have won art or photographic competitions with their works.

InSpace Gallery

A model of the InSpace Gallery that sits alongside the Informatics Forum was created initially on the Vue regions in Second Life and ported to the OpenSimulator-based Openvue grid and via the OAR Converter tool to Unity3D and Sinespace.

The Inspace Gallery can be reached via:

Inspace Gallery – Construction Walkway

Informatics Forum InSpace Walkway: On-site Construction Walkway Art, January 2007.
Artists: Richard Spencer, Dan Brown, Kadie Salmo and Richard Brown (Informatics Artist in Residence, 2005-2007).

Images and 3D models related to the construction walkway appear in the virtual world InSpace Gallery.

Paolozzi Turing Prints

The Paolozzi Turing Prints are displayed in the (real world) level 5 boardroom in the Informatics Forum and appear in articles for promotion of the School of Informatics. The designs for the prints appear in the InSpace Gallery on the in the OpenSimulator-based Openvue virtual world grid and in the Vue region on the Sinespace virtual world.

A model of some of Paolozzi’s plaster maquettes used for his sculptures and some stainless steel and bronze sculptures given to the University or on display in the Informatics Forum also appear in the virtual world InSpace Gallery.

Rakhi Kumar – Stairway to the Clouds – Photos

Rakhi Kumar created a number of atmospheric photos of the spiral staircase that sits atop the Informatics Forum. These photographs are on display in the InSpace Gallery.

Photo Competition – Graeme Pow – Penicuik Turner Prize 2008

Graeme Pow – Penicuik Turner Prize 2008: Frosty Wrought Iron Spiral
The winning photograph is on display in the InSpace Gallery.

All Eyes – Collective Art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Luce Foundation Center

Austin Tate (avatar: Ai Austin) contributed an image to an online public collective art venture entitled Ghosts of a Chance which led to an exhibition in 2008 at the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Luce Foundation Center [Final Report by Georgina Goodlander] [Local Copy]. The mosaic is on display in the virtual world InSpace gallery.

There is a related MSc project done as part of the MSc in e-Learning/Digital Education in 2011-2012 entitled “I, PI, … Eye“.

Supercar Comic

A detailed 3D model created by Mick Imrie and Austin Tate of Gerry Anderson’s Supercar from the children’s puppet TV show of the early 1960s was used by Austin Tate to create accurate outline line art for the Misc!Mayhem Comics Supercar Comic in 2003. One example page is on display in the InSpace Gallery… a dramatic page from issue 0 page 21…

ACE Sculpture

There are many objects placed in the Vue virtual world spaces. Galleries and displays for student projects have been set up annually for some Schools with some of the exhibits being in place for longer periods. One sculpture was created when the Vue regions on Second Life were first set up in 2007 and it has been replicated on later platforms used for Vue including in OpenSimulator and Sinespace. This is at “ACE Sculpture” by James Stewart of Arts, Culture & the Environment. It demonstrated the use of a simple “prim” to build complex shapes using the in-world building and twisting tools, as well as surface texture properties.

Trans – – – ~ Formation – a trans-media virtual environment art installation

A trans-media virtual environment interpretation, created by three artists and one virtual world avatar. It is a formation of modular kinetic objects along with accompanying music and images. It includes a version of a “molecules” robotic kinetic sculpture originally designed by Richard Brown, Artist in Residence in the School of Informatics 2005-2007, for the Informatics Forum. The planned installation was called “Formation” and has been recreated in the virtual world inside the Castle Hill terrain on the Vaults@Vue as part of the art installation. Music was provided by Julian Wagstaff of the School of Music in a piece he suggested called “Treptow“.

More information at—~formation.html The installation can be found on the Edinburgh Uplands region on the Openvue grid via:


North Landing – multi-media virtual world installation

A multi-media virtual world installation inspired by dramatic landscape and historical events off Flamborough Head in Yorkshire. It was inspired by the musical by Julian Wagstaff entitled ” “John Paul Jones” and a piece of dramatic music in that entitled “The Battle of Flamborough Head”. Austin Tate also has a close association with the North Landing on Flamborough Head. The piece includes an in-world controller to activate kinetic movement of objects, waves, coloured lighting, atmospheric and particle effects. A visualisation of the music was created using the Sony PlayStation2 music player visualisation to add to object faces.

More information at

Vue Theme & Vue Balloon Tour Machinima

John Clift, composer and at one time Disney executive and producer, as well as a friend of the University of Edinburgh, kindly allowed us to use one of his compositions as the “Vue Theme”. The Vue Theme is used as background music on the Vue facilities in virtual worlds [Vue Theme: John Clift Box 2 Track JC-B2-T08V3 230199.mp3].

It was used for a machinima created by a team from the School of Informatics (Ai Austin, Anwen Munro, Davie Munro & Skye Gears) in 2008 with a balloon ride over the Vue regions and educational facilities in Second Life.

The balloon itself was based on a real life event where a balloon “glow” took place in the University of Edinburgh Old College Quad in January 2006.

University of Edinburgh Ballooning Club Glow in Old College Quad, January 2006 image used with permission of David Gifford
Music (Box 2 – JC-B2-T08V3 230199.mp3) used with permission of John Clift

In fact there was an earlier balloon flight over the Old College Quad by James’s Sadler in a hydrogen balloon in 1815. More on his balloon flight is available in an interesting article entitled “Four Fantastic Aeronauts” with lots more images on the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum web site [Sample images used here with their permission].

Real World Public Art Around the University of Edinburgh

There is an extensive and varied collection of public art across the University of Edinburgh… some documented in an article entitled in an article entitled “Thair to Remain”** in the The University of Edinburgh Bulletin Staff Magazine, December 2017.

** The inscription on which the title was based was noted by the Bulletin Editor as corrected to “Thair to Reman”.

OSCC17 Hypergrid Tour

Thirza Ember introduced the Hypergrid Safari in a talk on 10th February 2017 at the OpenSimulator Community Conference 2017 (OSCC17)…

Then later that day, the OpenSimulator Community Conference 2017 Hypergrid Safari included five locations on a number of OpenSim grids …

One of which was our OSGrid RGU Oil Rig region… for more details see this blog post.

Blow Out Preventer (BOP) on the sea bed: