I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.

Home Uncategorized Sucked Into The Tube

Sucked Into The Tube

Tom Inglis
A Great Feast of Light: Growing up Irish in the Television Age, by John Doyle, Aurum Press, 320 pp, £14.99, ISBN: 978-1845131951 The entertainment technology in my house in the 1950s was fairly limited. There was an old radiogram in the sitting room that used to play 78s. It worked when I was a small child but then it stopped, never to go again. The radio part did continue to function, and on a Sunday night after the rosary we would gather around the fire and listen to Opportunity Knocks. I remember sitting and looking at the face on the wireless and all the exotic places I could tune into – Paris, Rome, Stockholm, Moscow. In vain I used to twiddle the knob back and forth along the bands, hoping to hear something more than hiss and crackle, a voice from out there in the distance. I might as well have been praying to God. And yet I was continually drawn to the machine. It was my main hope of escaping the dreariness of my everyday life, of being excited and stimulated. That radio was the tardis of my childhood, a global mind machine that never really worked. Then came the transistor. The first one brought into our house was a rather cumbersome Bush that my mother kept with her, mainly in the kitchen. What was great was that she was able to bring it up to her bedroom to “put on her dial” and to do the ironing listening to Music While You Work. At lunchtime, when my brother and I came back from school, we tuned into the sponsored programmes, particularly The Kennedys of Castleross. In the afternoon she would bring the radio back into the bedroom for Woman’s Hour and other programmes from the BBC. We were Anglo-Irish in our house. I remember listening to The Goon Show and Round the Horne. Yes, there were great Irish comedians too, like Jimmy O’Dea, but they were never as clever and funny. Now while it is nice to share some of these nostalgic memories, there are not enough to fill a book. Then came the Japanese and really cheap technology. We got this tiny bright yellow machine that was twice as good as the Bush. On Sunday evenings my brother and I were allowed to take it into our bedroom and listen to Radio Luxembourg. It was the first nail in my Catholic coffin. I still said my evening…

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