🔗 Novelty answerphone greetings

A fun piece of forgotten cultural ephemera.

A post for #WeblogPoMo2024.

Believe it or not George isn’t at home Please leave a message at the beep…

I have no memory of having an answer machine in our home growing up. In the mid nineties British Telecom started offering a virtual service where we could call a number and listen to messages which was cheap and worked really well. No complaints.

But it meant that our household missed out on a minor cultural phenomenon which has since all but been forgotten.

In May 2010, I posted a link on bensinterests to a site that’s now been deleted. Thankfully the Wayback Machine has a link to the charmingly late-nineties styled webpage in all its glory.

A webpage that contains MP3s of a very short cassette originally sold by Radio Shack in the eighties:

These are glorious, and gloriously naff. A fifteen second piece of robotic electrofunk where a vocoded voice says their operator of this machine cannot take the call! An instrumental version so you can record your own vocals over the top!

People don’t make phonecalls much now. Answerphone use has certainly dropped off, and I can’t think of a single example where I’ve heard something custom like this in at least twenty years.

But these are fun, right? Far too fun to be forgotten, and it’s wonderful that someone’s taken the time to record this cassette, tag the MP3s properly, create a fun website, and put it online.