How things have changed
My friends in the aerial rigging trade are remarking on how slow it is.
How things have changed! In the 70s everyone wanted to get a colour TV
and many of them decided that the lead-up to Christmas would be the
time. The rush started on October 22nd, which was the date when ITV used
to crank up their Christmas promotion, and also the approximate date
when the winter quarter started. So ITV would swamp their channel with
promotions and the sheeple would count their pennies and then the rush
Things would get more and more frantic and for me, working for twenty
different TV shops, it was an exhausting gold mine. Through November and
December I would normally work from 8am until 10pm, seven days a week.
The first hour was awkward because the transmitters weren't turned on
until 9am! The last four hours needed a caplamp and various torches. It
was so easy when carrying a ladder in the pitch dark to walk into a fish
pond or cold frame. I did it many times. Dog **** was a massive problem
as well. In those days there were a lot of uninsulated overhead
electricity cables. I hit one once. The 18ft roof ladder became a 16ft
one because the power lopped the top two foot off. I got a bad shock.
And every third house right up the street was plunged into darkness.
Luckily the one I was working at stayed on.
During the last few days before Christmas people would walk into every
TV shop in town and say they’d buy a telly as soon as the shop had
organised an aerial for them. The pressure I had from shop managers was
People would ring round every aerial firm and make increasing offers.
“I’ll give you an extra fiver!” “I’ll pay double!” “I’ll give you a
I’d be working right up to midnight on Christmas Eve, and I’d be
welcomed at each house with open arms. Every happy customer wanted to
give me a drink, and one occasion I got very ****ed but continued
working, and driving.
We had to make hay while the sun shined, because that Christmas money
would have to carry us through the summer. Once the spring gales were
over, work dropped to nothing. I remember one August getting a total of
three calls all month. Most riggers had summer jobs. I considered buying
a chip shop or an ice cream van. In the end I hit on the idea of doing
up ex-rental black and white sets, and selling them by means of a small
ad in the local paper. It was a good way to meet the dregs of society.