Sunday, April 18, 2004


Need music? Living in the 1970s? Battery on your solid state transistor radio run out or Radio 1 closed down for the evening? Big sister hogging the Dansette? Fear not - just pick up the phone, and dial 16 for Dial-a-Disc.

Those were the days - charged at local rate so 2p would last forever. They only changed the record once a week (a fact I didn't learn until I'd heard the execrable "History" by Mai Tai for what seemed like a brain-numbing eternity, and the tunes themselves were introduced by a chuckling sub Tony Blackburn DJ who would have been shot at dawn in the New World Order. I would sneak out of the house, clutching loose change, to get my fix of hot music action in a urine-soaked phone booth.

Come to think of it now, what a load of steaming crap it was, but aged 12, in the red phone box outside the station with tuppence in your hand (the 1970s version of the mobile phone), it's either that or the dulcet tones of the speaking clock before he went corporate. Just don't try ringing during the summer, or you'll only get the cricket scores.

All of a sudden, Post Office Telephones became British Telecom and transformed itself from bumbling bureaucracy to multi-million pound business empire with shareholders to please. Dial-a-Disc bit the dust as some genius invented the 0898 premium rate number, and now you can get more or less anything from very bad sex to very bad tarot cards down the phone at a quid fifty a minute, and no need to worry about getting the cricket scores by mistake.

Au contraire, you only need to worry about the size of your phone bill.

Shed news

Big, BIG news in the world of sheds and outhouses, with the Discovery Home and Leisure Shed of the Year awards. Not only do you get to win (dare I say it? Go on - dare!) shedloads of cash, but you may also get the pneumatic, lightly oiled Sarah Beeny to come round and personally inspect your shed; before falling into your specially dug pit of starving tigers, because sheds aren't for girlies.

Sheds are graet, even if mine has an old "For Sale" sign blocking up one of the windows, is filled with boxes of outrageously flammable material and the cat (a GIRLIE CAT!) lives on the workbench. I once found a pair of old diving boots and a machete at the back. That's how graet sheds are.

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