If my memory is correct it must have been 1961, when I was 13, that my older brother and I were given a transistor radio each for Christmas by my parents. But there was no secrecy or Christmas wrapping to make them a special surprise. Instead, the first I knew of my gift was hearing a faint tinny noise following my father around the house. I realised afterwards that he was holding one and playing it to himself (evidently enchanted with it). Then a little later he handed them to us unceremoniously (probably reluctant to give up the novel devices). I was jealous of my brother who received a red one, while mine was brown (he always got the best it seemed). The radios had faux leather detachable covers with poppers at the back to close them and the radios themselves were ordinary plastic. But once I’d got over mine having only a boring brown colour I was delighted with it, and regularly tuned into Radio Caroline under the bedcovers late into the night. I kept mine for years and my husband remembers using it during the 1970s.
(I seem to remember there was a pop song at the time called Transistor Radio.)
As soon as you mentioned the “faux leather detachable covers with poppers at the back to close them” my memories ignited. My family had a black radio, just like the ones you described.
Was the song “Transistor Radio” that you mentioned the one by “Benny Hill”?
One of my most powerful and poignant Christmas memories comes from about 1969, I think. I used to love to read the Christmas issue of the RADIO & TV TIMES and, in this year’s issue (it could have been 1970, though), there was a feature where various celebrities had told their favourite childhood Christmas memory.
The only part of that article I recall was Cilla Black’s Christmas memory: of waking up on Christmas morning and walking through the silent streets on her own.
I’ve been trying for decades to find a copy of that issue of the RADIO & TV TIMES — or, at the very least, that feature article….
Another fond Christmas memory I have is of my family going shopping at Sopers (possibly in Harrow?) just before Christmas. This would’ve been around 1968. They had a big Dalek from DOCTOR WHO there and it was open at the side so kids could sit inside it. Brilliant.
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