Life before the internet – occasionally amazing, more often than not completely frustrating. We reminisce about life BG (Before Google)...
This morning on the MC features team desk, the topic of teletext came up. ‘What’s that?’ our features intern, Francesca looked puzzled. She genuinely had no idea what it was. For those other younguns who are too wee to remember, teletext was sort of like a very, very basic internet on your telly. But it got us thinking about other things we remember about life before t’internet, to that no so long ago time BG (Before Google) when we were forced to look things up in actual books. Imagine! And carried a real life A-Z in our work bags to get us from A-B! Wild! It may have only been fifteen short years since the invention of google, but oh how life has changed *sighs wistfully* See how many of these you remember…
Teletext AKA Ceefax. This was the original internet without the whistles and bells, accessed via the teletext button on your remote control. Forget buying a 3D, HD, TV with surround sound – back then it was all about whether your telly had text. For 38 years teletext provided not-so-up-to-date info on news, sports. Superfans even used it to book their holidays! Highlight of the week was the kids/games section getting updated on a Saturday. Who can remember the page numbers of their favourite pages?
Fax Machines Pinging over an email to someone is almost as simple as breathing these days, but way back when if you needed to get something to someone urgently and the post was just too slow, you dusted down the fax machine in the corner of the office. When they were introduced in the 70s, people hailed them as a technological miracle. ‘You can print something and send it over the phone in seconds!’ Magic!
Yellow Pages Need to book an appointment with your hairdresser or search for your local Chinese takeaway? Once upon a time, you had to look it up in the brick that was the yellow pages. A sort of listings phone book of all things local, this still exists in online format, but there’s something nostalgic about thumbing through the beast that was the yellow pages. And who can forget that cute advert where the little boy uses it as a footstool so he can kiss his way-taller-and-probably-older-than-him girlfriend?
Encyclopedias Wikipedia who? We had to look things up in massive, dusty encyclopedias. In. The. Library!
Pagers Before iPhones, VIPs and kids who wanted to pretend they were important had a pager. If someone needed to get hold of you urgently they had to call a number so that a message could be sent to get you to call them back. Utterly, utterly pointless, but we’d be lying if we didn’t think people with pagers back then were totally cool. Walkmans/Minidiscs/Cassette Players Pre spotify/soundcloud/itunes music couldn’t be downloaded (what’s downloading anyway?). Instead we had to listen to music on oversized plastic contraptions a la minidisk, walkman, ghetto blaster (remember those?)
A-Z Going to a meeting/job interview/new bar across town? Make sure you’ve packed you’re A-Z. The distinct possibility of getting lost was something you had to factor in to every journey, before a little blue ball guided our every move.
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