Sunday, January 9, 2011
Remembering red phone boxes
And while they don't normally taste as good as Yorkie Bars, unless it has been a particularly heavy night on the Boddingtons, they are certainly as asthetically pleasing.
The classic red phone box was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott and there were actually a whole family of models from K1 to through to K6.
Although red phone boxes are a powerful symbol of Britain, they were actally phased out with the privatization of British Telecom in the 1980s when cheap, plastic-looking replacements started to appear, although the classic red boxes have survived in places such as conservation areas and some parts of London like Covent Garden where Brits like to hoodwink visitors.
They are apparently red in most places, including Gibraltar, with the exception of the city of Hull, where the council was allowed to take them over and paint them cream. If you are unlucky enough to live in Hull, you probably lack the intellectual ability to realize your phone boxes are a different color than those in the rest of the country.
It seems strange to me that red phone boxes have become this cutsey emblem of Harry Potter England abroad. When I grew up they invariably smelled of cigarettes from all the butts crushed into their concrete bases and urine from drunken passers-by who would use them as improptu toilets.
Normally someone had spray painted a few anarchy symbols on the side of the boxes and knocked out some windows and, if the phone book was still inside, it would have been half ripped.
I have lots of quaint teenage memories of spending 20 minutes to pluck up the courage to make a phone call to a girl, only to find the receiver had been smashed in, or somebody had taken part in the contest to see how much chewing gum could be crammed into the coin slot.
In the 21st Century, when just about everybody over the age of 10 has a cell phone, these relics of the past are rather irrelevant.
But prostitutes still have to put their calling cards somewhere, I guess.