The Sanyo Telecolor showed me my
earliest telly visions.
These include Rob Muldoon, costumed as Count Robula, hosting
the Friday Frights circa 1987; and the Seoul Olympic Games in
1988. Whether these thrilling experiences helped shape my
character, values, athleticism, attention span, etc is
unknown, but regardless, I have an affection for the Sanyo
I am shedding possessions in preparation for a move north
and, although I have not watched it in years and it no longer
gets a picture on any channel, I am reluctant to let the old
I am having precognition of what I've got till it's gone.
What I've got: this solid-looking box of wood with a
woodgrain veneer; a glass screen with beautiful curvature
that is so flattering to the sheets of snow inside; eight
large channel buttons that make a satisfying pop when you
press them, and five colours of the rainbow as part of the
retro Sanyo logo.
It must be full of lead. It is enormously heavy and would be
difficult to transport to Wellington. Still, thinking I might
do so, I bought a cable and a set-top box and tried to
breathe Freeview life into it, but to no avail. They lied to
us! You can't get Freeview on your 1980s woodgrain
televisions at all.
I am shocked to think they would lie to us.
So, to a new purpose it must be put. I already have a
bookcase that used to be a PYE vid-matic woodgrain television
set. But that was an easy conversion to make because I did
not grow up with the vid-matic. I grew up with the Telecolor.
To eviscerate it and turn it into a bookcase would be to
accept the defeat of its televisual function. And that is one
Another option is keeping it for an odd, postmodern lamp in a
corner of my Wellington chambers. The volume would remain
off, but would the glow be comforting, in the way some lamps
are, or would the rapid black-and-white flickering be
A flickering television set also has a cultural association
with frustrated desire for filmed scenes of people, landscape
and ads. Just because my desire to watch such scenes is now
about as obsolete as the Sanyo Telecolor, does not
necessarily mean I will be able to overcome the sense my
telly/lamp is inadequate.
And even if I overcome any psychological resistance to the
television as lamp, what about visitors to my home? They
might find it creepy and annoying. One's lamps should please
I welcome suggestions from readers, and will consider offers
to take the Sanyo Telecolor off my hands. It's free to a good
home, but not to a bad landfill. You can comment below or