Hands up who misses the landline? Bonus points if, like an alcoholic with drink, you remember your first ever encounter with the fixed phone device, especially if it was one that you had to prompt into action with a circular swoop of the finger.
I recall my Saturday mornings as a young child well. I must have been six or seven and I was desperate to ask a question on ‘ Multi Coloured Swap Shop’.Each week I’d spend hours, when others were watching Noel Edmonds pose questions to the latest pop sensation, sitting on the hard parquet floor in the hall laboriously dialling and re-dialling. The TV was in another room. I wouldn’t actually be watching the programme itself. I had more important business to conduct.
I never did get to ask my question. I never got beyond the engaged tone. My Dad, in a vain attempt to curb my obsessive behaviour, did take me to a wet field in Wycombe where Cheggers (RIP) had set up stall with his roaming swap-shop. I swapped a favourite toy for something that was broken in a box; my deal-making, business acumen laid bare for all to see from an early age.
But I’m rambling. There is no point talking about foolish attempts to woo girls in my teenage years from the now-carpeted steps leading off from the hallway; the clock-watching waiting for 6PM to pass and the cheap rate to begin. I can barely believe that I once told a young woman who was blatantly not interested in a date that they would ‘regret that decision one day’. I’m sure she never has. There are many more landline misdemeanours that I could draw upon but I won’t.
In years to come this prose will seem archaic, distant, confusing and perhaps quaint. Maybe, some younger, more mobile readers are already wondering what the point of this weird invention, the landline, could ever have been?
The Phoenix Foundation, a sextet from New Zealand, have just released a song called Landline. The tune itself is an upbeat slice of happy funk-bounce. Laced with a healthy dose of 80’s psychedelia yet sounding thoroughly right for 2020, it’s worth three and a half minutes of anybody’s time. According to the bands co-frontman, Samuel Scott Flynn, this “ridiculous song is about trying to keep real connections with your friends in this bollocks time in human history but in the video I’m a human telephone trying to stab a Spy Vs Spy version of Luke. Makes sense.”
A video to make you smile, a song that draws upon feelings of nostalgia to make sense of today’s crazy world. This is right up Sonic Breakfast’s street and I’m sure it’ll be up yours as well.