Monday, 31 October 2011

Haunting Memories

Tonight I heard a spooky piece of music on Radio 3 about a telephone. I wondered if I should compose a partner piece about a telephone box. Where do the ghosts of dead telephone kiosks hang out? While we’re on the subject of museums; what happened to the phone-boxes that were mercilessly ripped from our city streets, historic towns, quant villages greens and country-side verges for reasons that I struggle to accept?  Some have ended up in private gardens, caf├ęs and pubs; others, made into cocktail cabinets, shower-cubicals and, in what you might call post-modern irony, domestic phone-booths.

But saddest of all is that, in the newly re-opened National Museum of Scotland there are three old phone-boxes, only one of which is officially defunct. Strange it is to see how, as I wander around the exhibits on a reasonably frequent basis, the phone-booths that attract the most attention are the two that are still yet extant (just) on our streets: the original K2, and the more common K6 (please excuse the geeky jargon: here’s the K6, to illustrate)

Stranger still, in the museum section dedicated to the peculiar world of ‘communication’ the historical device that children and adults alike enjoy is the one that largely resembles two baked bean tins and a piece of string; a couple of funnels and a piece of garden hosepipe; an ear pressed against a glass against a wall. Maybe one day, communication as we know it will be a thing of the past…. Am I repeating, or getting ahead of myself?
Who cares – nobody’s listening, are they.
There's a ghostly silence at the end of this line

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