I suppose I have always had one foot in the past and one in a glorious imagined future. Boy was I/am I deluded. The present has always been a place to dream from rather than a place to do things in. To think about doing without doing is my greatest pleasure but also my undoing in terms of seeing my glorious imagined future through to fruition.
It always began with an object.
As a small child I Ioved old, solidly made things rather than toys. I particularly liked gadgets given to me by Uncle George (an ex army horse vet, marksman and collector of junk). Things like lighters, telescopes, musical instruments, oil lamps, cameras, radios, all the things I still love to play with now. He would just give them to me when we visited or send them to me for Christmas. I still have most of them. They had layers of dirt that were satisfyingly easy for an eight year old armed with a sharp screwdriver, a brush and a tin of Silvo to worry away at, to reveal polished brass, leather, silver, Bakelite and glass. I tackled dead insect grime, flints that had decomposed to a sticky grey dust, ancient hand-made screws that had not been loosened in 100 years, electronic components that had literally waxed away to a caramel gloop. I was an avid and effective cleaner but I almost never fixed them. I could not be bothered to learn how, it seemed unimportant.
I still have this camera. It’s still broken.
I liked to peer into the viewfinder (very tricky you have to do a sort of sideways glance into a magnified tarnished mirror) and see a future that starred me as its inventor. The fact that the camera had no film did not stop me taking pictures and I still have those tucked away in my head nowdays appearing as a mediocre pieces of poetic nostalgia for nobody to read. As I say my efforts to restore lost functionality were incompetent but that didn’t matter as the goal was to transform these objects into something magical, usually some device with no relationship to the original, utterly meaningless to anyone but me, or if things didn’t go so well, a tin of small disconnected parts labelled ‘parts’.
Here are two survivors.The labels fell off.
I still don’t actually know how computers work and I certainly cannot fix them. I cant be bothered to learn how… but the dream to make a magic future-transforming-object out of old junk still motivates my computer voice work today.
Hence the phone box – ah so now it makes sense.
To be continued.