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This is a post about phone boxes

You gotta feel for British Telecom: in this day of cellphones, there’s almost no need for public pay phones. The old boxes are expensive to maintain and operate at a grueling loss. They tried to replace the old red boxes with modern glass ones (emblazoned with a logo unaffectionately known as ‘the poof with the pipe‘) and there were riots.

And by riots, I don’t of course mean Baltimore-style toiletpaper-looting, CVS-burning riots. This is England. I mean dozens and dozens of people wrote very rude letters to the government written in green ink.

The upshot was that the phone boxes were slapped with protection orders. These days, they are quietly being decommissioned, when they can be prized away from the neighbors. Or recommissioned as something else — there’s one near here with a defibrillator in it. Fully renovated, they sell for thousands. There’s an interesting article about it here.

The article links out to — well, it would do, wouldn’t it? — the Trainspotters Gazette of kiosk sites. There’s a Kiosk of the Month, Profiles in Kiosks, the A-Z of Kiosks and kiosk articles rated by popularity.

The two favorites are K6 and K2, both designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott (1880-1960) who also designed the Liverpool Cathedral, the Battersea power station (an iconic London landmark, now decommissioned and remade into fru-fru apartments) and Bankside power station (now the Tate Modern).

You’ll recognize the K6. It is THE red phone box. The domed roof is thought to have been modeled on the tomb of Sir John Soane in St Pancras Old Church.

Would I shit you? I would not.

Do have a browse. The site covers all of them — the tardis police box, AA sentry boxes (that’s Automobile Association, not Alcoholics Anonymous) and phone boxes from K1 (beige and cast cement) to the Poof with the Pipe (KX100).

That’ll give you something to think about for a while. Good weekend, y’all!


Comment from Formerly known as Skeptic
Time: May 1, 2015, 5:21 pm

I saw that logo nickname and wondered what it could possibly look like to pick up that name. Then I followed the link and realized that it couldn’t possibly be called anything else (or some variant thereof).

Comment from mojo
Time: May 1, 2015, 6:30 pm

What is the “poof with the pipe” supposed to symbolize? Wouldn’t something like a telephone handset be more informative as to what the intended purpose is?

Comment from Skandia Recluse
Time: May 1, 2015, 10:51 pm

I want one of the blue boxes with the flashing light that makes the sound of the tardis. I’d put it out at the gate to the estate where visitors would call the main house to announce their arrival and request the gate be opened for their admittance.

Comment from David Gillies
Time: May 2, 2015, 2:31 am

Mojo: the poof with the pipe was the general logo for BT. It was a sort of cod-classical allusion, to Pan or somesuch. A messenger or herald or whatever. Their current logo is a kind of multi-coloured globish sort of thing, which I suppose is meant to suggest their role in global telecommunications etc.. It probably cost them half a million sovs from some gang of shysters in red braces.

Comment from Man Mountain Molehill
Time: May 2, 2015, 4:15 am

I remember driving into some random village at the end of a winding, essentially one lane road somewhere around a more rural part of Hampshire and finding a cluster of about 5 houses, and one lone, red phone box by the side of the road. Seemed oddly iconic of English life as it mostly doesn’t exist anymore.

If they remove the phone boxes from central London how are the hookers going to advertise?

And, while I’m reminiscing, I used to work in a building that still had a working 1940s Bell System phone booth in the lobby. The kind Clark Kent uses to change into Superman, with the wood fold-down seat, attached phone book, ventilating fan in the roof, big ass coin-operated dial phone that rings internal bells as you drop coins, and so on.

Comment from mojo
Time: May 2, 2015, 6:58 am

I used to like the old BBC logo, the one with the map flowing onto and off of a sphere. Trick graphics for the time.

Comment from MikeW
Time: May 2, 2015, 2:51 pm

Hah, I’d never heard the reference to ‘green ink’ before. But the way you used it, it seemed like a thing, so I checked it out. Heh, pre-internet trolling, sweet.

I’m giving odds that the designers of your ‘Poof with the Pipe’ went on to bigger and better things… Wenlock and Mandeville, ya think? (Love the crotchless pants)

Of course, they’ve got a long way to go to keep up with the Olympic Mascot designers on this side of the pond. Atlanta’s 1996 ‘Blue sperm with stars shooting out of his ass’ indeed!

P.S. Thought I’d check out the ass porn in the spam trap by including a buncha links. 🙂

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 2, 2015, 2:54 pm

You did indeed end up in the slammer, Mike. But it was worth it.

Comment from drew458
Time: May 2, 2015, 2:57 pm

When they come out with What Kiosk? magazine, then it will be an Official Thing.

Comment from mojo
Time: May 2, 2015, 7:00 pm

And a very good morning to HRH (Female Infant), the Princess of Cambridge.

Pool? My entry – Alice Diana Elizabeth

Comment from mojo
Time: May 3, 2015, 5:30 am

Sky News strikes again

Comment from bastiches
Time: May 3, 2015, 5:39 am

As clever a use you can conjure for the old box, a Leftist commission is going to hire an NGO funded by a multi-national to recommission the things as Homeless Urinals.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 3, 2015, 2:24 pm

That’s *beautifully* done, mojo.

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