Normal Service is Resumed
A while ago I wrote about the frustrations of having to replace a faithful clock radio with a new and whizzy one – Evil Clock Radio – that would not submit to my authority. Now, yet again, updated tech turns out to be deeply disappointing, with the arrival of a device that I would have christened Pathetic New Trannie, were it not for the risk of being misunderstood.
For well over twenty years we had in our bathroom a small Sony radio that served us well. I doubt we had to change the batteries more than once a year, and we always got due warning that we needed to do this because the voices of the little people inside the radio grew fainter and fainter. A few weeks ago, though, it just cut out suddenly, and no amount of twiddling, tweaking and vigorous shaking could coax a sound out of it.
As one of my life’s small pleasures is listening to Sailing By and the shipping forecast while I clean my teeth, clearly we needed a new one.
I admit that the main focus of my search for a replacement was to find one of the right size to fit on the narrow ledge where it would be living. I even went to far as to cut out a piece of paper representing the right dimensions to take to the shops and apply to the models on offer. I noted vaguely that some had longer battery lives than others and went for the higher range.
The new radio looked smart and sounded good – job done. Except that two weeks in, it died. Thinking that we had maybe put in some old, nearly-spent batteries that were kicking around, we tried some packet-fresh ones. Two weeks in, the same thing happened.
I got Googling. Sure enough the battery life of this radio was twelve hours, and anger with its lack of ambition was widespread: ‘For what this is costing me in batteries I could have hired a 26-piece orchestra!’ raged one unhappy punter in shouty capitals.
There was one last hope. I fished the Sony out of the box destined for the dump and Googled its model number. Instantly, several of the dear old things popped up on Ebay, refurbished, in good condition, modestly priced – and all of them lacking the paint spatters and specks of rust that ours had acquired.
Nanoseconds before I clicked ‘confirm order’ I had a sudden horrible thought. Wasn’t the government going to pull the plug on analogue broadcasting any minute now? More Googling revealed, in an amazing piece of serendipity, that only 45 minutes previously it had been announced that analogue broadcasting, due to end in 2022, would now continue till 2030. Hooray!
I’m eagerly awaiting the arrival of Sony Jnr, but, in the run-up to COP 26, I’m left wondering how green digital radios are. The internet assures me that digital broadcasting consumes far less energy than analogue, but how can this be when, in my experience, the devices needed to receive the signal consume around 2600% more energy than AM/FM ones? Time to start a revolution: Anarchists for Analogue.