The humble telephone – how it has transformed our worlds. My parents still talk of their lives here in the UK in the 1970s and the way they would try and seek a connection for a phone line back home to relatives in India. It would sometimes require up to three days notice, the line was fuzzy, intermittent and barely existent – and that was a good day. The bad days saw no lines at all, each heart-sinking disappointment widening the berth of home-sickness that they already coped with on a daily basis.
Calls abroad were prohibitively expensive so the phone conversations themselves were more a matter of informing family they were alive and less of a chit-chatty catch up scenario. How could they have possibly ever imagined a world in which they and everyone around them would own a pocket-sized phone that could read the time, show the news, reveal the weather, take a photograph and pay a bill? Nowadays, we laugh that it is my Mum out of all of us who is most glued to her Samsung but even I, a generation beneath my parents, could never have imagined a world like this.
Hand Model – @LondonKiwiEmma
Day upon day for years throughout high school, I would stand at our local train station using the last couple of coins in my purse to phone my Mum from a public phone box outside Platform 5. I would let her know my train home from school had just pulled in, my hungry appetite and impatient teenage temperament desperately hoping she would be done from work in good time. Those phone booths were the only channel of communication Mum and I had during the school run time of day (and importantly, my only way of knowing whether I had time to squeeze in a bag of peanut M&Ms from the newsagent just outside the station.)
It was my generation that observed the transition from a mobile phone-less world to a world in which a day without our phone becomes a (somewhat first world) catastrophe. It leads me to wonder who, now, uses the phone boxes that are still dotted around my city so affectionately and so many other cities across the world? Are they merely for the few who have left their phones at home or been the victim of phone theft ? Are they solely for the posers who hang their heads out of red London phone booths and post a gram an hour or so later – or are these iconic emblems that were once such an integral requirement on our streets, simply now being defaced and used as urinals for late night drunken revellers?