The damage done

The original K6 on arrival at 'kiosk hospital' - note the damaged roof.

The original K6 on arrival at 'kiosk hospital' - note the damaged roof.

You’ll recall that the roof was damaged. Carl has found a replacement unit – here’s an excerpt from his latest email;

…with the old damaged roof free from the K6 it was an ideal time to ensure the replacement was exact. This replacement salvaged roof was from an old K6 that was originally located at a local racecourse (Fakenham).
The last picture shows both ‘lids’ being compared.
Here’s a photo walkthrough of the removal of the roof, followed by a picture of Carl comparing the old and replacement domes. Note the cable run in the casting – I’m hoping my K6 will light up the word ‘Telephone’ in all its 1930s glory!

Hello dolly

Carl writes…

With the hole now drilled in the roof it was necessary to remove the 2 ton clasp on the block & tackle to expose the chain link. This granted additional height to remove the domed roof. The chain was then bolted to the roof. Making sure the old bolts securing the dome were free, I carefully positioned the kiosk directly under the gantry, thanks to my ‘dolly skids’. These ‘skids’ allow me to move a K6, weighing 750 kgs, with ease on flat smooth ground. With a few grasps at the load chain the damaged roof was lifted clear of the transom rails, to which the roof section was pulled clear of the K6 on the gantry. The K6 was then pushed clear of the beamed gantry.

On the roof it’s peaceful as can be

Superman costume just out of shot...

Superman costume just out of shot...

Back to the phone box story. Carl at Remember When UK has started work again on my K6 (for the full story click the ‘Red Telephone Box‘ category on the right, or go back to the first post. Helpfully, Carl’s emails are practically a blog entry in themselves, so I’m going to paste some of his commentary in here.

[Carl wrote] The roof section is heavy & awkward & as the old GPO papers stipulate, two to three persons, tressles & scaffolding are required for fitting or removal of the dome panel. Fortunately the aid of the kiosk gantry eliminated [the need for] all but one person (me!) and no scaffolding in sight – by boring an 8 mm hole in the centre of the damaged roof.

London Calling…

K6 mobile telephone box

K6 mobile telephone box

My K6 is still in progress at Carl’s workshop (click the red telephone box category on the right or read the original blog post about this). Here’s a new product from Remember When UK that caught my eye. There are so many levels of postmodernism in this phone that it makes my head hurt…

K6 in a mobile phone

Excerpt from Remember When website below.

canddblog_mHow about this neat little number!

Modelled on our classic K6 Red Telephone Box, this impressive fully functional mobile phone is a real winner. It features a 65k colour TFT screen, camera, full SMS and MMS functionality, polyphonic ringtones, and GPRS/WAP 2.0. You can set your wallpaper to display one of fifteen different iconic images from old Blighty, plus you can select from Rule Brittania, God Save the Queen, or one of twenty other ringtone melodies. London Calling measures 102mm by 43mm by 21 mm, and weighs approximately 100 grams. As an unlocked GSM phone, all you have to do is plug in your current Orange, T-Mobile, Virgin or Cingular SIM card and start talking.

The London Calling mobile phone comes with the phone, travel charger, battery and the Getting Started guide. Additional accessories will also become available include a serial data cable, handsfree headset, and additional batteries and chargers. The London Calling mobile phone comes with a 90 day manufacturer’s limited warranty against defects.

Features of the phone include:

It is an unlocked tri-band GSM phone which will work in the UK, US and throughout Europe. Comes with pre-programmed ringtones including Rule Britannia and God Save the Queen.

Additional features include assorted wallpaper images of noted British landmarks. Perfect if you are traveling abroad to different countries.

For more information, or how to place an order, please contact us.

Living in a box

This man will not appear in my blog very often.

Just a quick post today from the phone, to try out the excellent wordpress for iPhone app. I had a meeting on Wednesday in London at the Institute of Musical Research. It’s a group called the UK Popular Musicologists’ Collocquium and represents an all-too-rare chance for (popular) music staff from different universities to get together and discuss academic articles and analysis relating to popular musicology. There are about eight of us the meetings, which are chaired/organised by Allan Moore (editor of Popular Music Journal), and we get together every six months or so in Guildford or at the IMR (any musicologists reading this, do feel free to get in touch with Allan if you’re interested in becoming involved). I’ve made a basic WordPress/edublogs site so we can collect together study materials and YouTube links – UKPMC site.

This meeting’s theme was discussion and analysis relating to a particular track – Prince’s ‘When Doves Cry’. It is a fascinating song (noted for its lack of bass line) in that it appears to be based on one eight-bar chord loop – Am  | G   |  G   | Am   | Am  | G   | G   | E7  Am | – but is actually based on a four-bar loop that is only actually stated halfway through the track  – | Am  | Dm/A  | G   | E7+5/G#  E7/G# |  (hey, this stuff keeps me awake at night).

Like any multi-million-selling song, it’s always interesting to note just how well-constructed it is – and to make inferences about why it was so successful. It seems to obey most of the general ‘rules’ of songwriting (lots of primary and secondary hooks, lots of monosyllables, effective lyric imagery, economical use of language, clear meaning, unusual title) while deliberately challenging them in other ways (relentless/repetitive chord loop, quirky rock-funk guitar solo intro followed by guitar-less arrangement, slightly mad lyric lines “animals strike curious poses”, classical extended mono-synth outro). Prince, for me, is like Bono or Sting – however smug or irritating they might seem as people, you have to admire the sheer talent at work.

And, as a bonus, while walking past Hyde Park I got to see five K6s all together. If you’re unsure why I have become such a phonebox geek you need to read this previous post. After which you may still be unsure.

Five K6s near Hyde Park. Model A, 1936, if I'm not mistaken.

Five K6s near Hyde Park. Model A, 1936, if I'm not mistaken.


Carl has now sandblasted the phone box, removing all the paint and returning it to its original casting state. I learn that this K6 was cast in 1935 at the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow – as shown in the casting lettering on the back. The lid is cracked and is going to be replaced, but in every other respect it’s come up good as new – take a look at the way the sandblasting has revealed the crisp detail of the casting on the Tudor crown.

Here's the K6 immediately after sandblasting - back to the bare cast iron

Here's the K6 immediately after sandblasting - back to the bare cast iron

Here's the tudor crown after sand-blasting - not a speck of rust!

Here's the tudor crown after primer has been applied - not a speck of rust!

The K6 is now almost completely paint-free, revealing the cracked roof, which is to be replaced.

The sandblasting and priming has shown more clearly the cracked roof, which is to be replaced.

Here, you can see the original 1930s GPO trailer on which Carl transports his K6s

Here, you can see the original 1930s GPO trailer on which Carl transports his K6s

Open the door, get on the floor…

30.04.09 012The phone box arrived in Norfolk at Carl’s kiosk hospital last week. First step – take the door off fully, and drill out the concrete floor, exposing the whole of the cast iron frame ready for sandblasting. Apparently they come up good as new, even down to the detail of the original symbolic Tudor crown (replaced in 1952 at the Queen’s behest with a more contemporary one). The domed roof is probably past saving, so Carl is planning on replacing it with a reclaimed one from another K6.

In a previous post I marveled at the detail of the original 1950s K6 install instructions (and the devotion of whoever typed it in to get it online). But Carl was, of course, way ahead of me – I feel very much like an ‘apprentice anorak’ in this world. He has a huge archive of K6-related documentation, some of scanned from the original 50-year-old paperwork. It’s an impressive archive.

Blogging editorial note – I’m blogging four concurrent stories at the moment – the phone box, the studio build, the guitar book and the Widcombe song. To follow these as individual threads, use the ‘categories’ on the right hand sidebar – here they are as links.