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Thursday, 16 May 2013
It filled a corner of their living room,
but never quite produced the sounds
that we, who lived with them, were keen to hear.
The radiogram, my gran and granddad's
pride and joy. It hummed and strummed. And Churchill
must have loved it, for his voice boomed through it
often when the two of them sat close, ears
almost to the yellow grill. But others
stayed away: Dick Barton, for example,
the Special Agent never did come through.
To hear the likes of him we had our own
technology: a crystal set. Sulphide
of lead, the crystal was. We tickled it
with a long wire - the whisker from the cat.
No batteries were needed. No power
of any sort beyond the waves caught by
the crystal's long antenna. Here and there
were hot spots on the crystal which if you
tickled them just right with the long wire, not
too hard and not too soft and just in the
right spot, you'd get a crackle in the 'phones
or a long hiss before a voice or sound
effects or honky tonk. And all from no-
where and by magic, all from the ether
and all free. But if the adults used it
it would merely crackle and the only
voice you'd hear was theirs. They'd fret and fume and
curse each time the tune was lost to crackle.
Written for Poetry Jam where this week's prompt is Crystal