"Currys are big in the entertainment business! ... and you can't buy cheaper."

If you were thirteen and you woke up with that lot under the tree at Christmas, you'd be the happiest boy alive. Also note that, back in 1983, companies could use the word 'cheap' in adverts. Not 'value' or 'economy' or 'reasonable', but 'cheap'. Life was harsher then and the people died of disease and industrial accidents all the time, and there was no point messing about the bush. Life was too short to obfuscate.

Note the mass of silver and wood-panelling, and the Texas Instruments 99/4A, included here presumably more for its looks than its popularity. Also note the Sony Walkman. Back in 1983 the name 'Walkman' still sounded bizarre, and nobody was sure if Sony was 'Sone-ee' or 'Sonn-ee', or a mis-spelling of 'Sonny'. That particular Walkman remains trendy nowadays, and if you wore it to a party in a trendy part of London people would deliberately ignore it, so as not to appear too interested in it, which is what trendy people do when they want to pay you a compliment.

It is surprising that Sony haven't re-released the model, with updated electronics and reduced power consumption. The Walkman was a revolution at the time - like a lot of Japanese technology, it didn't do anything new, but what it did do, it did really well, in a nice, handy package. This knack was identifying trends and and sating them - gluttonising them, even - came as a breath of fresh air in a country infested with brown cars that nobody wanted. Japan seemed invincible at the time. Even today, after a decade and a half of economic instability, Japan is still the world's leading source of groovy consumer gadgets and attractive young ladies.

(c) Ashley Pomeroy 2001