Back in the 1970’s something particularly fantastic happened….
I can’t remember the exact year, but I wasn’t very old, and anyway, a high degree of chronological precision is not really required to tell this story. Other than the following basic facts, we can ignore the year…..
I was young, it was the morning of December the 25th, and judging by my flared trousers and shirt collars that extended so far from the neck, that they got in the way when you were fastening your trousers, it was definitely the 1970s.
So Christmas morning finally arrived, and I unwrapped my first Present, and was delighted to discover that my intense wishes, letters, and gentle requests to Santa at the department store Debenhams had not gone completely unheard.
I had asked for a large “Twin Manual” electronic organ, with built in rhythms, 100s of sounds, and a large internal speaker with which I could drown out the incessant arguments that plagued my childhood.
Santa, in his infinite wisdom, and probably driven by the lack of funds in the Aston Household had met me half way…Well maybe not half way, but at least it was a start….In the Parcel was my very own, Electronic Musical Instrument, “The Stylophone.”
The Stylophone was a tiny marvel. A battery operated, musical instrument that was portable, fun, and didn’t sound too bad, given its size, and limited capabilities. In fact so good was the Stylophone, that David Bowie used one on one of his hit records, so not only was it fun, it was also very cool.
The idea behind the instrument was to bring to the Market and Instrument for everyone, that was easy to play, cheap to purchase and that had instant appeal. The inventor Brian Jarvis clearly got it right, because it rapidly became one of the best selling instruments of all time, with close to four million Stylophones being sold to date.
This early exploration into Electronic Music clearly had an impact on me. So much so that despite a flood and a Transcontinental relocation, we still have (somewhere) an original 1970s Stylophone in the box, and the last time I checked, still working…..
Now back in 2019, and I remain fascinated by Electronic Music. So much so that my bedtime reading is usually magazines dedicated to Synthesisers and all manner of sound shaping gadgets. Last night was no exception, with my tired eyes struggling to remain open, whilst leafing though an electronic magazine (Future Music) I discovered some exciting news. The apple has apparently, not fallen far from the tree… Brian Jarvis’s son has restarted his Fathers company, and is about to release a new Stylophone….This new version of the classic instrument will be a full on Semi Modular Analogue Synthesiser, built around the same design principles as the original….
With December still a fairly fresh memory, its a sound bet, that a request to Santa right now is not likely to yield much success. It looks like the new model will be built in limited numbers in the UK, and sold only direct from the manufacturer, with no dealer network. This is a new challenge for me, but one way or another I think its time for a trip down memory lane with another Tiny Organ…