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Category Archives: Home entertainment

My uncle was a lover of new technology, particularly in the field of home entertainment. He was the first person I knew to own a colour television. Not all the programmes were broadcast in colour, of course. But the first time I saw the colour TV I was mesmerised. It seems hard to believe in these high definition days that the majority of ordinary people settled for monochrome sets well into the 1970’s.

When was Colour TV introduced in your country? Check the list…
1950 United States
1958 Cuba (suspended until 1975 following the 1959 revolution)
1960 Japan
1963 Mexico
1966 Philippines, Canada ( Colour broadcasts from the United States were available from 1953)
1967 United Kingdom, France, West Germany
1968 Soviet Union, Netherlands
1969 Denmark, Ireland (Colour broadcasts from United Kingdom available from 1967)
1970 Sweden
1971 Yugoslavia, Belgium, Poland
1972 Brazil
1973 New Zealand
1975 Australia, Spain
1977 Italy colour broadcasts were available from abroad since 1967.
1980 Portugal, Argentina
1981 South Korea
1982 Pakistan, India
1984 Turkey

I keep my music on hard drives and memory sticks. Thousands of LPs in a space the size of a small loaf of bread. The records themselves, once ripped, are stored away. But the magic of handling the discs, of placing them gently on a turntable and listening in anticipation to the warm hum and slight crackle before the music begins remains as exhilarating as ever…

The blue-and-silver Walkman TPS-L2 (the first commercially available Walkman) went on sale in Japan on July 1, 1979.

This magazine ad comes from June 1980 (in the UK the Walkman was known as The Stowaway).It was not cheap (around £100, with a second set of headphones costing around £15 extra- the average weekly wage in the UK in 1980 was £110)

Summer is but a distant memory now- but on those long hot days what better way to relax- get into the shade and cool off in your dazzling white cotton shorts, listening to some smooth sounds on a neat portable.

Sinatra? Burl Ives?
Mr Rock Hudson here was certainly in for a laid back time…

What a world that was.
Warbling, fuzzy music, flimsy cases.
Joao Kartoshka has lost count of the number of ‘tapes’ that he has had over the years- all lost now, of course, gradually consigned to the garbage as they turned up in drawers or in the backs of cupboards. A record- now you’d never throw a record in the trash, would you? Regardless of how damaged it was it always seemed to retain some inherent worth as an object- but a cassette. Even the pre recorded ones seemed destined for a short life- the ghastly miniscule sleeve art, unreadable text, the discouraging loose shuck of the spools in the casing and the very fragility of the ribbon of magnetic tape itself. When I form a mental picture of a cassette it is unlabelled, lying discarded on the floor of a dirty car.
And of course the cassette players, from these early surreal toothy pianos to the silver ghetto blasters of the nineties, always with their promises of superior sound. It is tempting to condemn the cassette as ultimately being music packaged for people who did not have much space in their lives for music, whose tastes were fleetingly transient, and who just didn’t care about quality…

On the other hand cassettes might be viewed as the great populist format, giving us our first entree into music piracy- home taping, large collections created at low cost, mass production and distribution of material, easily portable. For sharing. And of course, a means of recording demos without access to a studio. In other words, despite their failings when it came to quality and durability, indispensible.

All that was once directly lived has become mere representation– Guy Debord.

I want that radiogram, I want the record that they are listening to, I want my girlfriend to look this happy.
Maybe she is dreaming of a life away from this sterile home, away from her radiogram obsessed boyfriend and his difficult jazz?
She wants the wind in her hair, the sand between her toes and Yeh Yeh music…
Perhaps she is dreaming of Kartoshka?

Do you remember those lengthy instructions that were printed on the inner sleeves of certain ‘gramaphone records’? Store vertically, away from light and heat, always return the record to its sleeve… Looks like the owners of this gorgeous Motorola have disregarded all the advice about care of their records…

Throw in a decent laptop with a high speed internet connection and I’d be more than happy with this set up. I bet there was a lava lamp somewhere in this room!