Friday, 12 March 2021

Positive Songs For Negative Times #46: Four Phone Calls

When I was growing up, the phone in our house looked exactly like the one above. It was located on the wall between the kitchen and the front room. (Front room: there's another old-fashioned concept. Now they'd call it the dining room or the snug. It had a couple of comfy chairs and a gas fire, a small portable black & white TV we used to watch M*A*S*H* on, and the dog's basket. It was a front room.)

The last twelve months, some of the longest conversations I've had with my mum have been over the phone. The phone she has now doesn't look anything like the one above, but that's what I imagine her talking on... or asking me to repeat myself on because she's not heard what I said. My dad can't hear on the phone at all these days so he doesn't even bother answering it. Back when his hearing was a little better, he would occasionally pick it up, say hello and then shout, "Mary!" before adding, "hang on while I get your mother".

That's why I love this new song by the Lonely Tourist so much. Anyone who's been limited to phone calls as their only way of communicating with elderly relatives over the last 12 months will surely love it too. And if that's not you, I bet it'll still bring back memories of days gone by... especially the way the dad answers by saying the last 4 numbers of his phone number, something my mum only stopped doing a few years ago.

New single, available to download from:


  1. "Medd, 44317!" my dad used to answer, as if responding to an army roll call.
    If there's anything really important I need to tell my dad I have to do it in person; what I say on the phone and what he hears are two totally different things. (I too feel a blog coming on!)

  2. Great song and a post that resonates. I missed the rotary phone of my childhood so much, we got one but had to unplug it after an Openreach engineer that as soon as we plugged it in out broadband speed went off a cliff, for some reason. It still sits on the sideboard in the hall though, because it looks excellent.

    We all used to answer with the number, 6 digit, until we had to change the phone number in the very early 90s, and then it just became "Hello?"

  3. Great sweet song Rol - Your post reminded me of the song "Telephone Line" by the Electric Light Orchestra...
    "Hello, how are you? Have you been alright?
    Through all those lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely nights
    That's what I'd say, I'd tell you everything
    If you'd pick up that telephone..."

    Silly, I know.

    1. Rol/FBCB - File this delicious cover by Pugwash under 'Better than the original'.

    2. Thanks for that John - the Pugwash cover was great.

  4. My parents answered the phone by reciting the phone number - I thought that was the way of doing things, and continued into my work life. I suppose it comes from the days of many wrong numbers so if you heard the wrong number at the other end, you knew BT had failed to connect (again).
    Other than reciting phone numbers, I do recall that my Gran had a particular telephone voice (until she realised who was on the other end). I'd like to thin it was a generational thing, but my mother in law (about 30 years younger than my (now departed) Gran) does the same to this day.
    Great track that, by the way

  5. I only make one phone call per week these days, to my 91 year old aunt who lives alone in London. She has all her faculties, but is deaf as a post. After quarter of an hour of screaming down the line to her at the top of my lungs every Sunday, I need a few minutes of silence and stillness to regroup.

    1. That's pretty much me talking to my 92 year old mum.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...