Thursday, August 02, 2012

Video Killed The Flat Pack Star

My first experience of a flat pack was a cassette storage unit (remember cassettes? Primarily they were used to record the charts on Sunday night and were prone to getting eaten by your cassette recorder). It was a disaster, instructions written by a lunatic guided me through twenty tortuous steps involving nails, screws, glue, a few bits of flimsy hard board and a shredding of patience. I was left with a wobbling carousel holding a hundred cassettes that was prone to fall over regularly injuring small children and pets.

Household furniture was no better, a stereo unit, yes, I know that is old fashioned, never really fitted together correctly and finally lost its insides one night after loading it a little too heavily with LP's. Saggy bottoms or droopy drawers was the most common weakest point on most flat packs apart from the person constructing it that is. Instructions written in Cantonese and Danish only added to the confusion, you needed tools from Mr Greys box and always, always something was missing or the instructions showed something impossible to achieve without giving yourself a triple hernia or indeed getting arrested.

So imagine my dismay that the only office furniture we could find that was suitable was of the flat pack nature. My track record wasn't too hot so as I sat in front of five sturdy boxes and I felt a shudder run through my spine.

For a flat pack it was extremely neatly packed, every item had been carefully wrapped and every little screw, washer and bolt had been placed in little packets to aid identification. I gave a little shriek of delight as the instructions proved themselves to be of the readable variety and after a quick count not only was all the parts there but they had even thought to include spares and an assembly tool. My, how things had moved on.

So, two hours later everything was constructed, the instructions worked like a dream, everything fitted without injury or arrest and more importantly the things were so sturdy. I was impressed.

I still have that old cassette carousel somewhere in the murky heights of the loft, not long after its construction out came CD's requiring yet another storage system only to be followed by DVD cases, yet another storage nightmare. Thankfully in a digital age I no longer need a big wooden construction to flaunt my wares, just a degree in information technology, accounts with media providers, more equipment than they used in the first moon landing and a penchant to complain on how everything has changed since flat packs and cassette tapes.

Now, where's that video recorder the size of a battle ship? I must remember to record that old repeat of The Two Ronnies after I have used a bit of Sellotape to make it recordable again. There's a thought, I have never built a storage unit for my video tapes, I wonder if they will catch on, they are the latest craze apparently, imagine, being able to record television and get this, you can even rent films out.

How very decadent and rakish.

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