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50 Years ago today

Hello, is that Edinburgh? It's your Queen calling – and one dialled all by one's self - Scotsman.com News
WHEN she picked up the receiver on this day half-a-century ago, the Queen changed the way the people of the UK communicated with each other.
Sat beside Prince Philip in Bristol's central telephone exchange, surrounded by dignitaries and their wives, with great ceremony she dialled an Edinburgh number and uttered the words: "This is the Queen speaking from Bristol. Good afternoon, my lord provost."

It was the first long-distance phone call in the UK made without the help of an operator.

It almost makes me feel old, even though I'm not fifty I can remember tapping the phone rest and asking the operator for a number, kids today they wouldn't believe it....


My daughter (age 8) came across a picture of telephone operators somewhere and I had to explain to her what these women were supposed to be doing. My explanation was met with a look of total incredulity.

Her whole life it's been possible to simply pull a device out of your pocket and in moments be speaking to your Nan living on the other side of the Atlantic, even if you are out of the house.

Sigh. I remember as a wee kiddie in the 70s my parents booking phone calls to my Auntie Meg in Canada in advance, because there was only one line across the Atlantic, or something. Then they would talk about the power cuts and 3 day week. We actually bought a cassette recorder, one of those little mono jobs, for the purpose of sending taped messages to each other, as it would be cheaper than a phone call, though only one was sent as it turned out to be rather more difficult to fill a cassette up with things than having a conversation, I think.

It really struck me how much things had changed in 2001, when I phoned my colourist who was working on the comics what I draws, and who I had met on the internet, from my mobile phone in a pub, to discuss a contract.

That's what annoys me about Britain these days, and why I'm such a raving libertarian. Things have improved immeasurably thanks to technology, and a bunch of arseholes running the country ruin everything else. They're gearing up to ruining the internet now, indeed. Really, all I want them to do is just go away and leave us alone. Wouldn't things be grand?

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