A literary telephone box


In reading ‘Island’ by Aldous Huxley I came across the paragraph below. The speaker is talking about a ‘Mutual Adoption Club’ and comparing it to Western society. On Pala (the island the title refers to) whenever the parental home becomes too unbearable the child is allowed to migrate to one of its other homes within its MAC. A MAC consists of from 15 to 25 assorted couples and everyone in the club adopts everyone else. An inclusive, voluntary family. This is one of the good ideas of the book but there are a few hoopy ones – must have been all the drugs Huxley was taking…

Things are a great deal better in your part of the world – better, but still quite bad enough. You escape the state-appointed baby-tamers; but your society condemns you to pass your childhood in an exclusive family, with only a single set of siblings and parents. They’re foisted on you by hereditary predestination. You can’t get rid of them, can’t take a holiday from them, can’t go to anyone else for a change of moral or psychological air. It’s freedom, if you like – but freedom in a telephone box.*

*Huxley, Aldous. 2005. Island. London: Vintage, p.91.


Current TV favourite

I’ve become very fond of Father Brown. He’s a follow up to Miss Marple so what’s not to love. This scene cracked me up – another fab use for a phone box. Make a phone call to a cross-dressing club and when you give the right code phrase the door in the wall behind the phone box will open and let you into the club.

Father Brown

Fargo 2

The second Fargo TV series (wonderful) showed us a few phone shots and one box in particular got a lot of use:

Fargo again (1)

Fargo again (2)

Fargo again (3)

Fargo S2 2

Climate effects

There has recently been much flooding across areas of the UK. Here is a photo relevant to this blog:

flooded phone

Source: BBC News


Recent viewing

I don’t actually know this programme but couldn’t ignore the ad, for obvious reasons;

Better call saul

This shot is from the penultimate episode of ‘Humans‘:

Humans penultimate episode

From the recent adaptation of  Jekyl and Hyde:

Jeykll and Hyde

The iconic red box even turns up on a US highway in ‘Austin Powers: the spy who shagged me’.

Austin Powers 2

Merry Christmas Everyone

Xmas 2015 comp

Phone for fish

aquarium phone box comp

A Mayfair phone box will be transformed into a glowing aquarium and trees will be hung with lights when the Lumiere festival come to Lndon next month.  Neon balloon dogs will set up home in the Strand, while angel-like figures, by Cedric Le Borgne, will appear around St James. The French artist is one of more than 20 who will use light shows and special effects to brighten up streets from Kings Cross to the West End from January 14 to 17. Curator Helen Marriage said:

“Lumiere London is a free event, accessible to all.”

Norfolk, UK

Recently spent a weekend in Norfolk and came across these:

Great Yarmouth phone

Great Yarmouth

UK, Holkham



This isn’t new to this blog, as such, but good to see the phone box still warrants news articles. Here reproduced from yesterday’s ‘Guardian’…

Sir John Soane: how tomb for architect’s wife inspired the red telephone box


The Soane family tomb and the telephone boxes it inspired.


When Eliza Soane died 200 years ago, it changed the life of her architect husband Sir John Soane – and it changed the British streetscape through the strange afterlife of the tomb he designed for her, which inspired the design of the iconic red telephone box.

Soane never got over his wife’s death on 22 November 1815 although he lived until 1837. He was one of the most renowned architects of his day – creator of monumental public buildings including the Bank of England, churches, and country houses, as well as an avid collector of fragments of older buildings including Old St Paul’s cathedral. He blamed her death on the shock of discovering that their son George was the author of some malevolent anonymous reviews of his work.

Her tomb, which became the family vault, was raised over her grave in Old St Pancras churchyard in 1816, and inspired the Giles Gilbert Scott telephone kiosk. Scott knew the tomb well as a trustee of the Sir John Soane’s Museum for 35 years, and his 1920s creation is now an endlessly imitated landmark in British design.

Staff of the museum in Lincoln’s Inn Fields in London, the family’s home and his workshop, have commissioned a specially designed wreath to lay on her grave in Old St Pancras churchyard.

Helen Dorey, acting museum director, said: “I regard this primarily as a private pilgrimage which we are doing because it is the right thing to do to honour our founder and his family.”

The ceremony was organised for 23 November, which dawned sunny and frosty in the first cold snap of winter.

“The last time we laid a wreath on the Soane tomb was in January 1987 to mark the 150th anniversary of Soane’s death – there was snow on the ground,” Dorey recalled.

The Soane family home – with features including a shadowy cell for an imaginary monk, a gigantic Egyptian sarcophagus and a towering monument to their pet dog, but also Eliza’s cosy dining room and parlour – has been open as a museum since her husband’s day. It is still full of memories of Eliza, who was a passionate art collector and added paintings by JMW Turner and William Hogarth, which are still among the gems of the collection.

She was buried on 1 December 1815, and Soane recorded in his diary: “Melancholy day indeed! The burial of all that is dear to me in this world and all I wished to live for.”

Soane never forgave his son for Eliza’s death. He framed the fatal reviews in black, and hung them on the wall, headed “Death Blows given by George Soane.”

There are several images of the tomb in the current exhibition at the museum, Death and Memory, including a wildly romantic view by George Basevi, which shows it as a gigantic structure set in a forested gorge, not a crowded London churchyard.

 George Basevi’s painting of Eliza Soane’s tomb. Photograph: Hugh Kelly/Sir John Soane’s Museum

Mexico City public toilets

Another guy that takes photos of urinals…

Using public toilets all over Mexico City completely changed the way I viewed it