‘Oh, it’s changed!’ were the first words spoken by Marie when we sat down to talk about the ‘tele.’ Born in Italy in 1961 Marie migrated with her family to Australia when she was six, prior to coming here she had no contact with any kind of technology or media, as we were talking I asked if she remembered the first time she ever watched tv. “Of course I do!” she said with a cheeky grin on her face “…it was the most exciting thing that I had ever seen” (Marie 2016).
What Marie called ‘the box with faces’ was her neighbours black and white television set that lived in their living room, unable to afford one of their own, Marie would sneak across the road when her mum was cooking or doing the washing to get her afternoon fix. As we sat with our coffees Marie would stare off into the distance and then laugh to herself every few minutes sparking a new story about her neighbours. “The first few times I went over, we all used to sit and watch TV together,” she reminisces, “but then as time went by it was just me and the neighbours children, and then just me. My sisters weren’t interested in it at all!” (Marie 2016).
According to online education platform Skwirk, Marie’s family was among the 6% of households that did not own a black and white television set during the 1970s (Swirk, 2016). It was fascinating to me to sit there and talk to a woman who would wait at her living room window for her neighbours to come home because it made me think back to when I was a child. Every afternoon when I got home from school, I would turn on my tv and press play on (in my opinion) the greatest movie of all time – The Lion King. I remember television being exciting! Now it’s just used for my parents to fall asleep in front of and me to plug my Apple TV in to.
Just as I memorised every line in ‘The Lion King’ Marie would sit in front of the tv and mouth the words to every advertisement that there was, when I asked what her favourite show was she popped up in her chair and sang “meet the Jetsens – do do, do-do!”
What I found most interesting about the conversation was the way Marie talked about the unifying abilities of her neighbours television set. The fact that all her memories of watching tv included some friend or family member. I know it may sound silly, but in this day and age tv is used to keep children quiet, bring some action into your Tuesday evening and some drama into your Sunday. We all lead such busy lives that the tv I know is more about finding a spare couple of hours to watch 12 seasons of the new Netflix drama.
Until next time,
Marie Troncone (2016), interviewed by Jake Troncone, interviewed on 13 August.
Skwirk 2016, Communications 1970s – 1990s, Skwirk online education, viewed 14 August 2016, <http://www.skwirk.com/p-c_s-14_u-189_t-505_c-1868/nsw/history/australia-s-social-and-cultural-history-in-the-post-war-period/the-impact-of-changing-technology-on-everyday-life/communications-1970s-1990s>.