Monday, 20 December 2010

Telefusion

In the dim distant past when TV's and Videos were worth fixing and when Betamax still stood a chance, there was a TV rental organisation called Telefusion.


The head office of the company was in Blackpool if I remember correctly and had repair centres all over the UK. It also had a retail outet called Trident and contracts to service equipment for a lot of the larger suppliers such as Boots, SWEB (South Wales Electricity Board) and others. In those days there were many other rental companies that have now dissapeared, these included Visionhire, Radio Rentals, Multibroadcast, DER and Granada.


I had resumed my training as a TV engineer and attended an interview with a company in Swansea called Radiocraft. I was the sole engineer in Swansea although there was a service department in Cardiff who could handle stuff if I got busy. Conditions weren't good in the workshop and the manager of the branch looked as if his head was about to blow on many occasions. I eventually found an advert for a delivery driver for Telefusion. Although this was a step down, the salary was a better and I got the use of a company van (a Ford Transit).


I attended an interview quite late in the evening and met Bernie Murphy who was good enough to offer me the job. I started work and met the engineers there, they were probably one of the best bunch of people I have ever worked with and included Tony Green, Paul Beer, Roger Solomon, Bernie of course, Frank, Bill and Alan whose last names elude me , Jeff the other delivery driver and Paul Beer.


After about a year or so and a temporary move to Visionhire, an engineers position became available and I re-applied and was succesful. My company vehicle then became a small white 980cc Ford Fiesta, in this I travelled about carrying all sorts of things in the back and wearing down brakes quite rapidly as I normally covered quite hilly areas with tools, spares and a spare TV in the back.


We all got into work in the morning, got handed our calls and made our way down to the Civic Cafe run by Steve the Greek. I had known Steve some years earlier as we used to frequent his establishment for refreshment when out on calls.


We sat down over coffee and a steamed pie covered in Tomato sauce and sorted our calls into a more reasonable order then went on our way. As we were a rental company and also supplied slot TVs, some of the houses we had to go to defied description. I remember one where my feet stuck to whatever was on the carpet and I had to kneel down and my trousers were wet when I got back up.


We had to repair video recorders that had been fed bars of chocolate, toast and on one occasion chicken curry. And then there were times when the customer said could they get the tape back before you took the machine back to the workshop as the tape belonged to a mate. This normally meant that the tape was of the adult variety and of course could not be removed in the home due to possibe damage. The machine was taken back to the workshop, the tape removed and added to the vast library that we had acquired there.


On one occasion I had to attend a house and having fixed the VCR asked the customer for a tape to test. The customer informed me that the machine was her sons and got one of his tapes for me, the tape was marked “Treasure Island”. I inserted the tape, pressed play and noticed that the scene was of a woman putting lipstick on, I thought this must be a commercial and turned my attention back to the tape path to make sure all was well. At this point the customer shouted “Jesus Christ, I'll bloody kill him”, I ooked back at the screen and noticed that the woman was now doing something else with her mouth and the gentleman that accompanied her in this scene was looking very happy.


Paul Beer and myself became quite good friends and we visited each other quite often to help each other out on repairs, we unofficialy formed the Telefusion Ford Fiesta display team as one of us moved towards the middle of the road and the other would pass on the inside etc.


Then came the news that the company was being bought by Visionhire, Telefusion had been losing money for some time and despite a restructuring was still doing so. Apparently when Visionhire took over, the company had about enough reserves left to trade for another 2 weeks.


I was one of the people made redundant as the company became part of Visionhire's repair organisation called Serviscope, this was eventually taken over by Granada and then dissapeared.


Airport by the Motors is one tune that reminds me of the good times and always brings a smile to my face. The last time I heard of Bernie and Tony they were working at Swansea University, Paul left before the redundancies to work for Comet and the last time I spoke to him he had moved to Mastercare, I don't know what happened to everyone else.


The Civic Cafe is no more although the building is still down by Joe's Ice Cream parlour, I kept in touch with Steve from there for a few years until I moved to Cornwall. 

Good times with good people that will never happen again