I was reading this post, and it got me thinking about tellies I have owned and loved. There have been several, starting with:
1981-c1986 Black and White Mitsubishi portable
I was 13 years old and this was the biggest Christmas present I had ever got (It was also supposed to be a surprise, but my dad had inadertently given the game away by asking whether I would like 'something big for watching things on', which he seemed to think was a subtle test-the-water type enquiry). Anyway I was flabbergasted, surprise or no surprise. No more sitting watching TV with my parents in the living room. Now I could invite my mates round and we could play darts, spin our Bananarama singles, and watch Minder in glorious black-and-white. Isn't it funny, by the way, how we have all seen at least 40 episodes of Minder in our life (those of us who grew up in the early 80s that is), but our collective memory of them has been whittled down to one scene, in which Arfur has gotten into a spot of bother over a job laod of army reject waistcoats, so Terry has to beat up a rival heavy in a lock-up garage? I think it is very strange anyway and proof that some unseen forces are at work.
Anyway, after 5 years of Minder I went off to become a student and watch colour telly in a common room with loads of other students. The telly moved into my mam's kitchen and served there a good few years. They built them to last in those days, you know.
Summer 1988. Retro 1960s design big orange telly (but with black and white picture)
Actually I don't suppose it was a retro design, it was probably really a telly from the 1960s. I bought it in a second-hand shop in Aix-en-Provence, where I was spending 6 months as part of my degree supposedly learning French, but really getting drunk every night with a load of Americans. None of the French students seemed to want to talk to us (they considered us a bunch of no-good drunkards) so I decided to fulfil the 'learning French' part of doing a French degree by buying a telly and using it to watch dubbed episodes of the Avengers. To this day I have perfect aural comprehension of the Gallic tongue, as long as it is spoken by a decent cove sporting a bowler hat and cane, and not moving his mouth at the same time as the words.
When it was time to go back to Wolverhampton I tried to take the telly back to the shop (they might have given me 2 Francs for it) but it was too heavy to transport through the sweltering Provencal streets on a suitcase trolley, so I abandoned it by the side of the road. I hope it found a good home.
1991-92 moody Nigel's portable telly (colour)
Me, Mark and Nigel were TEFL students sharing a flat in San Sebastian, Spain. Nigel was older and more domesticated than us, and to prove it he went out and bought a little telly, which me and Mark would use to watch live English football on Saturday afternoons. But then Nigel (who was more than domesticated really, he was obsessed with housework to the point of psychosis) took the TV away as revenge for me and Mark not washing the bathroom, so we had to go to the local bar and watch football instead. It was a hard life back then, I don't know how we coped.
1994 Useless portable telly (black and white)
I was a graduate in my twenties now and my quality of life should really have been improving gradually in line with the demographic norm. But the tellies were getting worse. Me and my Manchester housemates were reduced to watching the 1994 World Cup like a villageload of impoverished Cameroonians: on a tiny, fuzzy black and white screen, with the commentary alternately blaring out at full volume and receding into a whisper. It was the best World Cup ever, according to people who actually saw it.
1996 big boxy telly from the 1970s (colour)
Things were looking up. A girl was moving out of a house I lived in, and had no need for her telly, which had years ago been bequeathed by her grandmother. It was mine for £30, and followed me through 2 more houses, before one day, having lived to a grand old age, it had a telly heart attack and imploded, appropriately enough half way through Casualty. OK I made that bit up, it was Brookside.
1999 another useless telly from the same shop as the first one (colour)
Why did I go back to the reconditioned TV emporium on Shudehill, Manchester? Because I am stupid. Anyway this telly did us proud for a while (and it had Ceefax, an astonishing luxury!) but then the colour went, to use the technical term, all to blazes, and in the 2000 European Cup final the Valencia players in their orange shirts had fuzzy edges like they were in a Ready Brek advert. Come on, I was 30 years old now and still couldn't watch telly properly- this was getting beyond a joke.
1999- present. Big widescreen affair with all the trimmings (colour, of course)
I could not take any more the ignominy and frustration of the sub-standard viewing experience, so I marched into Granada TV rentals and demanded they provide me with the widest, shiniest and surround-soundingest telly known to man. The day it was delivered, by two burly men in brown overcoats, was, after my wedding and the birth of my baby son, one of the proudest of my life. I even got Sky Sports and for several months refuseed to move from the couch 'cos there was always a game on. Then I realised it was always Ipswich Town v Bradford City and gave up the subsciption. But kept the TV.
And that is my life story in a series of tellies. I hope you enjoyed it. Next time out, my life story in spoons. But that is for another day. Now it is time to go home. I wonder, what's on the old gogglebox tonight?