Sunday, 22 April 2018

#52Ancestors, Week 15, Taxes

Well, this one has been taxing to say the least ! So much so that I am well into Week 16 and still deliberating. Should I look at people who paid land taxes or poll taxes ?

I don’t recall there being any accountants or tax collectors…maybe an excise man (but I think he was very much on the periphery of the tree), so perhaps someone who has been taxing to research ?

I’ve recently been writing about an object for one of the units in my Diploma and was reminded about tariffs on imported goods and how difficult the government made it for people as late as the 1970’s in New Zealand to import items such as cars. How ridiculous when they didn’t really have a domestic market that they were trying to protect.

Anyway, it just reminded me that this affected other imported goods too. New technology that people were wanting to purchase to be a part of the tech boom beginning to happen. One such invention was stereo players.

I don’t remember if we had a “sound system” before this one or not. Perhaps we did. My grandparents had the radiogram which I wrote about for Week 8 – Heirloom. Before stereo sound there was only mono.

Anyway, a stereo was what was wanted, but the cost to import one, or buy one from a store was pretty extravagant in late 1960’s New Zealand. So what to do ?

Build your own, of course.

Dad and some friends hatched a plan (as I recall) and would order the components required to be delivered to one anothers’ homes. Then they would get together, sometimes in the lounge room at our house, or individually and sort bits. I will probably get all the names wrong, but there were transistors, diodes, valves and others with their little wire legs to get soldered (in the correct places) onto a circuit board, to build an amplifier. The case had to be made too I think, and all the knobs and decals to be added so that you knew which was on, off, volume etc. Then start again, this time a turntable.

Then there were the speakers, they were bought too; and the speaker boxes built and assembled at home, lined with insulating batts. They were BIG speakers, plus a smaller woofer, nothing like the teeny ones in today's mini systems.

I’m not sure how long the whole process took, from inception and design to completion, but it was done. Take that Mr Tax Man !

Then came the music. Albums were often purchased by catalogue and would arrive packed in cardboard packages, delivered by the mailman. Acker Bilk, Herb Albert & the Tijuana Brass, Louis Armstrong, The Seekers, Gary Puckett and the Union Gap, Henry Mancini, Frank Sinatra, soundtracks to Sound of Music and Oliver, Peter and the Wolf, the classics; symphonies and the like – and MOOG music !

How much simpler it is now and how much more accessible these items are to purchase. But what a sense of accomplishment to build your own.

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