if you are under 25 then you have no idea how far phones have come since, say, 1983. or if you watch any old skool tv then maybe you do?
i can barely imagine myself using the antiquated phone we had in my early childhood. but i did – it was one of those heavy plastic things BT used to give out in standard issue red, cream or dark olive green. it had the letters of the alphabet printed on the piece of cardboard behind the clear plastic dial, next to the numbers. this hinted at the availability of a US style phone system where you could easily memorise commercial numbers, but as far as I remember this didn’t happen in the UK, where we like to make everything as difficult as possible. put it this way, you couldn’t dial 0800-TESCO.
we even managed to memorise numbers, it is possible. at a push, i can still remember the numbers for all of my friends and family up to about the age of 12 but probably couldn’t more than three of the numbers in my blackberry today under pain of death. perhaps the most famous number of all was the number for swap shop – 01 811 8055. ironically then, it was easier to contact the bbc in 1982 armed with that knowledge, than it is to find their number on a website designed to discourage calls.
phones then, were integral to relationships. an iconic image of the 80s is that of a girl on the phone with a suprised expression on her face…i couldn’t find one though! she was probably surprised she was allowed to use it…phone bill battles were so commonplace that neighbouring friends often succumbed to old tin cans on a string trick. i have no idea if that even worked….
blackstreet – booti call
bootsy collins – what’s a telephone bill
cheyne – call me mr telephone
good girls – just call me
junior brown – long time me call
in the mix – dial me baby
loose ends – dial 999
new edition – mr telephone man
portrait – i can call you
prince – how come you don’t call me anymore
ryan leslie – promise not to call
sheena easton – telephone
sherrick – just call
teairra mari – phone booth
tony jay – telephone line