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红色电话亭,一个英国经典文化标志的回归

更新时间:2018-5-23 20:48:03 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

The Red Phone Box, a British Icon, Stages a Comeback
红色电话亭,一个英国经典文化标志的回归

Sometimes it’s hard to let go.

伦敦——有时候,放手很难。

For many Britons, that can apply to institutions and objects that represent their country’s past power and glory — stately homes, the monarchy … and red phone boxes.

对很多英国人来说,这句话可以用在代表大英帝国曾经的权力与荣耀的体系和事物上——庄严的建筑、君主制……以及红色电话亭。

Battered first by the march of technology and lately by the elements in junkyards, the iconic phone boxes are now staging something of a comeback. Repurposed in imaginative ways, many have reappeared on city streets and village greens housing tiny cafes, cellphone repair shops or even defibrillator machines.

先是受到科技进步的冲击,后来又遭到废品收购场的风雨侵蚀,如今,这些标志性的电话亭开始东山再起。许多以富有想象力的方式被重新利用,重新出现在城市街道和乡村绿地上,变成小咖啡馆、手机修理店,甚至还能提供心脏除颤器。

The original cast-iron boxes with the domed roofs, called Kiosk No. 2 or K2, first appeared in 1926. They were designed by Giles Gilbert Scott, the architect of the Battersea Power Station in London and Liverpool Cathedral. After becoming a staple on many British streets, the booths began disappearing in the 1980s, with the privatization of British Telecom and the rise of the mobile phone consigning most of them to the scrap heap.

最初的圆顶铸铁电话亭被称为2号电话亭(Kiosk No. 2)或K2,最早出现在1926年,由设计了伦敦巴特西发电站(Battersea Power Station)和利物浦大教堂(Liverpool Cathedral)的建筑师吉尔斯·吉尔伯特·斯科特(Giles Gilbert Scott)设计。在成为英国许多街道上的标志后,这些电话亭在20世纪80年代开始消失。随着英国电信业私有化和移动电话的兴起,大部分电话亭被送到了废品场。

About that time, Tony Inglis’s engineering and transport company got the job to remove phone boxes from the streets and auction them off. But he ended up buying hundreds of them himself, with the idea of renovating and selling them.

也差不多在那个时候,托尼·英格利斯(Tony Inglis)的工程和运输公司得到了一份工作,把电话亭从街上搬走并拍卖掉。但他最终自己买了几百台,并打算对它们进行翻新和出售。

That might have seemed like a crazy idea back then. “They are so much against the times,” Mr. Inglis said in a recent interview. “They are everything that you wouldn’t do today. They’re big, heavy.”

在当时看来,这可能是一个疯狂的想法。“它们与时代太格格不入了”,英格利在最近的一次采访中说:“它们代表了你今天不想要的一切。又大又笨重。”

But Mr. Inglis said he had heard the calls to preserve the kiosks and had seen how some of them were listed as historic buildings. He said he had been convinced that he could make a business of restoring them, and he was soon proved right.

但英格利斯说,他听到了保护这些电话亭的呼声,也看到了其中一些电话亭是如何被列为历史建筑的。他说相信自己能把修复它们变成一项事业。不久之后,他被证明是对的。

Britain has a penchant for conserving its heritage, of course. “We are obsessed with the old, and that’s because our experience of the modern world has been bruising,” Dan Snow, a well-known historian and broadcaster, said. “If you look around at the things that people are very nostalgic for, they are things that remind older people of our imperial and hegemonic past.”

当然,英国一直有保护其遗产的嗜好。“我们痴迷于旧世界,因为我们在现代世界一直四处碰壁”。著名历史学家、广播员丹·斯诺(Dan Snow)说:“看看那些人们非常怀念的东西,它们会让老一辈的人想起我们的帝国和霸权时代。”

That desire also drives much tourism to the country and famous buildings are often high on the lists of visitors. “We’ve got quite pressing economic reasons to celebrate our history,” Mr. Snow said.

这种愿望也把许多游客带往英国,而著名的建筑往往是游客旅行清单上的重点。斯诺说:“我们有非常紧迫的经济理由去庆祝我们的历史。”

As Mr. Inglis and, later, other entrepreneurs, got to work, retooled phone boxes began reappearing in cities and villages as people found new uses for them. Today, they are once again a familiar sight, fulfilling roles that are often just as important for the community as their original purpose.

随着英格利斯以及后来的其他企业家开始行动,改装后的电话亭开始在城市和乡村重新出现,人们发现了它们的新用途。今天,它们又一次成为人们熟悉的景象,在社区里扮演着与它们最初的使命同样重要的角色。

In rural areas, where ambulances can take a relatively long time to arrive, the kiosks have taken on a lifesaving role. Local organizations can adopt them from BT for 1 pound, or just over a dollar, and install defibrillators to help in emergencies.

在农村地区,救护车可能需要较长的时间才能到达,电话亭承担起了拯救生命的功能。当地组织可以用1英镑的价格从英国电信公司购买这些设备,并安装心脏除颤器来帮助应对紧急情况。

“The defibrillator is a good idea, because they’re in a prominent place,” Mr. Inglis said. “It’s just there in the back of your mind and the one time you need it you’ll think, ‘There’s one on the village green!’”

“除颤器是个好主意,因为它们在一个突出的地方”。英格利斯说:“它就在你的脑海里,当你需要它的时候,你会想到,‘村里的草地上有一个!’”

Others also looked at the phone boxes and saw business opportunities in those cramped spaces. LoveFone, a company that advocates repairing cellphones rather than disposing of them, opened a mini workshop in a London kiosk in 2016.

其他人也在狭小的电话亭身上看到了商机。LoveFone是一家提倡修理而不是丢弃手机的公司,它于2016年在伦敦的一个电话亭开设了一个小型工作间。

In addition to being eye-catching, the tiny shops made economic sense, according to Robert Kerr, a co-founder of LoveFone. He said that one of the boxes generated around $13,500 in revenue a month and only cost around $400 to rent.

LoveFone的联合创始人罗伯特·克尔(Robert Kerr)表示,除了引人注目之外,这些小商店还具有经济意义。他说,其中一个电话亭每月的收入约为13500美元(约合86000元人民币),租金仅为400美元左右(约合2500元人民币)。

Mr. Inglis said phone boxes evoked an era when things were built to last and to be useful. Early models, for example, had mirrors and little shelves to rest an umbrella or a parcel on.

英格利斯说,电话亭让人们想起了一个时代,在那个时代,东西被打造得经久耐用。例如,早期的电话亭里有镜子和用来放置雨伞或包裹的小架子。

“I think they are an honest construction,” Mr. Inglis said. “I like what they are to people, and I enjoy bringing things back.”

“我认为它们是一种实实在在的建筑,”英格利斯说。“我喜欢它们对人们来说代表的意义,我喜欢把事物带回到生活中来。”

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