Lending Library in Rotherwick, Hampshire, England.
For many towns and villages, the red phone box is part of the community’s history and identity. They are landmarks and an important part of the scenery and character of the village; a symbol of British culture since the 1920s.
Many communities lobbied BT (British Telecommunications plc) for the right to retain red phone boxes because of their historical and visual appeal. In order to save the telephone boxes which would otherwise be removed and demolished, BT launched a programme called ‘Adopt a kiosk’ in 2009. The programme allowed local communities and parish councils to adopt decommissioned telephone boxes in their areas for as low as £1 and turn them into something else.
Victoria Beckham’s letter to her 18 years old self.
I know you are struggling right now. You are not the prettiest, or the thinnest, or the best at dancing at the Laine Theatre Arts college. You have never properly fitted in, although you are sharing your Surrey school digs with really nice girls. You have bad acne. You think the principal has put you at the back of the end-of-year show (in a humiliatingly bright purple Lycra leotard) because you are too plump to go at the front. (This may or may not be true.)
There is a red telephone box outside the school and you have just rung your parents, crying, “I can’t do this, I miss home, I’m not good enough.” And Mum has told you to come home. “We’ll go to Lakeside and buy a new pair of shoes,” she said. It’s tempting. But then Dad got on the phone: “Stay there, prove everyone wrong.” If you’d listened to Mum, you would be going to Lakeside. (Shoes are important, just not right now.) It would be theeasy solution. And I’m writing to jolly you along, to offer consolation and encouragement, and to tell you, aged 18, to be strong.
You haven’t forgotten being bullied at school, have you? Do you recall that first day at secondary school? Most children were wearing their own coats and had the latest cool bag, but not you. Kitted out in the full St Mary’s High School uniform, you stood in the freezing playground while other teenagers walking past threw soggy tissues and old Coke cans that they plucked from the puddles. But the thick skin that you developed then is already standing you in good stead, and it will do so for the rest of your life.
Your complexion will sort itself out (in fact you will launch your own make-up brand); as soon as the Eighties are over, your perm will die down, and your weight will settle itself. At school you eat Super Noodles and boxes of Frosties because they say they are fat free, and you will endure many other silly fad diets (including an addiction to green juices). Instead, learn to embrace your imperfections – that is what I want to tell you. Let your skin breathe; wear less make-up. (And don’t ever let that make-up artist shave your eyebrows! The effects last forever.) You will always be addicted to Elnett hairspray but you will tone it down. Less of the “Hello! I just got stuck in a wind tunnel”, please. And I should probably say, don’t mess with your boobs. All those years I denied it – stupid. A sign of insecurity. Just celebrate what you’ve got.
Do answer an ad in The Stage, looking for candidates to form a new girl band. Line up around the block and audition to change your life. You love musicals – Miss Saigon, Cats, Starlight Express and Les Misérables – so you will perform “Mein Herr” from Cabaret, while everyone else sings a Madonna song. You haven’t yet heard of the internet or electronic mail or smartphones. Nor have you perfected the art of the selfie for Instagram (you can’t even turn on a computer right now, and Dad still drives to London to send a telex). But one day you will find that audition performance again online, and at the same time discover that your name brings up 47,800,000 search results on Google.
The judges of the competition will match you to four other girls, all misfits in their own ways. Together you will make it OK to look different. And, as the Spice Girls, you will sell 75 million records. You cannot possibly imagine your future life right now. You will travel on private planes, visit incredible countries, stay in fantastic hotels. (At the beginning, you will steal the hotel mini shampoos, shower gels and conditioners, but you soon realise that they leak in your suitcase – often disastrously.) You will storm into people’s offices, leap on to tables in hotels and go crazy (although you will also be the one checking that the table isn’t going to collapse). You will meet Nelson Mandela, Mariah Carey and Elton John. But please, I implore you, keep a diary. There will be so many amazing moments, and you will forget.
There will also be down days and bad days. You will often be so busy that you will be in a different country every day. And being young and a bit silly, you’ll complain and sit in hotel rooms and moan about being tired. Go out and see the country where you are. Go to galleries, go to museums. Soak up the culture. You are lucky to be there. If you don’t join the Spice Girls, you might always be that insecure person in that little shell, and you will never become who you truly are. With this in mind, be kind, be polite, be considerate of others’ feelings, because I know that every one of us would sit here now and say they’re not the main culprit, but we didn’t fully appreciate each other a lot of the time. So practise what you preach when you sing “friendship never ends”, and celebrate everyone’s uniqueness.
You are going to have so much fun with your clothes – PVC catsuits; chokers that say absurd things; weird spiky blonde hair. It will never occur to you that you appear ridiculous. You will turn up at awards ceremonies resembling a drag queen. But I look back at you and smile. It will add interest to your life to go from one extreme to another. I love the fact that you will feel free to express yourself. Fashion will take on added stature one day, but try not to be stifled by it. You will learn, as you mature, to swap heels for Stan Smith trainers, minidresses for crisp white shirts. And you will never be one of those people who just roll out of bed. Wear sunglasses a lot. Even inside. Especially at airports. They turn a nothing-outfit into something quite pulled together and cool. You are going to really like Aviators. (Then one day you will develop your own!)
On boyfriends and lasting love: learn more about football, especially the offside rule. And yes, love at first sight does exist. It will happen to you in the Manchester United players’ lounge – although you will get a little drunk, so exact details are hazy. While the other football players stand at the bar drinking with their mates, you will see David standing aside with his family. (He’s not even in the first team at this stage – you are the famous one.) And he has such a cute smile. You, too, are close to your family, and you will think how similar he feels to you. He’s going to ask for your number. (He still has the London-to-Manchester plane ticket on which you wrote it.) I’m afraid that most of your first dates will be in car parks, which is not as seedy as it sounds. It is because your manager, Simon Fuller, will warn you, “Don’t let anyone see you out together or you’ll get hounded.” At the time, you won’t understand why.
You are going to be very, very famous, both for the band you form and because of the man you marry, and then later for a fashion business you will launch in your own name. You will get used to fame. Although you cannot set a price on losing privacy, you will learn to use celebrity to your advantage. For good things. For charity. One day you will have the privilege to campaign on behalf of the United Nations to end mother-to-child transmission of HIV and Aids in Africa. And people will listen. Changes will happen. That is not to say you won’t be affected by what you see of yourself in the press. It will hurt you when people comment on your weight. It will continue to upset you whatever age you are, because we women are very tough on ourselves.
The paparazzi will become part of your life, their long lenses waiting. Some are nice, some not. They may make your children cry, or they may give you a compliment – but you will not be able to control every image they publish. When you are pregnant with Brooklyn, they will snap you sitting by the pool at the Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles in a black-and-white bikini, and the picture will make the front page of a British newspaper. It is an unkind shot and so upsetting that for the rest of the tour you will barely leave your hotel or sit outside. And I’m the same now. Do I relax on the beach in a bikini? No. I am still hugely self-critical, and because of that I can be a little uptight. My 60-year-old self would probably say the same thing to me as I am telling you now: enjoy yourself a little more. Be less image-conscious. Learn to relax. You are going to make mistakes – of course you are. You will be super-super-successful, but you will find out that you can lose it all much more quickly than you can earn it. That is a hard lesson to learn. Collectively, I now see, the Spice Girls were victims of our own success, believing we could do anything, that the sky was the limit, that we could do it all on our own. You will learn from that, and when you have another opportunity you will not lose it again.
On being a mother: once you are a parent, you worry. And you are going to have four, so that’s a lot of worry! Mum likes to say, “You might be 42, but I still worry about you.” Children mean that you will be constantly tired and will develop big bags under your eyes. Your children will always come first, but never forget who you are and what you want to achieve. Is it possible to have it all? To be a successful working mother? You will hear this question asked by many women as you grow older. What you will realise is that by working hard, yet always putting family first, it will be possible to achieve that balance. Nothing will be perfect, but it is only now that I have learnt to appreciate all I have and all I have been blessed with. I am happy.
A word on school sports day: never wear platform heels and flares if you have to take part in the mothers’ race. And never believe another mum when she says she will stick with you at the back of the race. Because she won’t. And when they announce, “It’s the taking part that counts,” it’s not. It’s all about winning. You will shout at home but never at work. Be a nice boss. Ultimately, go with what you think, but don’t smother those who are talented. (If they are not, then admittedly I get frustrated – I’m not very tolerant.)
On marriage: have patience. Bite your tongue. Be supportive. And preserve a bit of mystique. Never let yourself go completely (at least brush your hair, clean your teeth, have a bit of a brow going on because you will always want him to look at you and feel attracted). Always make time for each other. Because if you don’t, everything will revolve around the children and I’m not sure how sexy that is! And do not forget the person you fell in love with. You will follow your man around the world, moving from Manchester to Spain, and then America. In Spain you will revel in watching him enjoy some of his best footballing days. Spain is also where you will lay the foundations for your own fashion brand by collaborating with others on denim and sunglasses.
But I need to warn you: a lot of your time there will be really hard. I’m not afraid to say now what a horribly difficult time it was. People will say awful things. You will be a laughing stock. Every time you turn on the television or look at a newspaper it will seem as though someone is having a go at you and your family. You will learn how mean other women can be. (And it will teach you always to support the women around you, to take them on a journey with you.) Others would crack under the pressure, but you won’t. Use that time to close off, to focus, work hard and protect the children. In relationships people will throw obstacles in your way, and you either manoeuvre around them or you trip up. You will never discuss with David how many children you both want; you don’t say to each other, “Where shall we live?” You don’t discuss any of that because you will be young and in love. Even when you don’t necessarily want the same thing, your support for each other will mean that you will stick together and grow up together. And it will be worth it.
Most days, you will look at your life and think, “Wow! I was never the one who was supposed to get all this.” I want to tell you that I still feel that way now. Recently I was in New York for the British Vogue cover shoot in a penthouse at the Carlyle hotel. I looked out of the window and I could see the sun shining and all the yellow cabs below and I pinched myself. You are going to have many of those moments. Don’t take them for granted.
“This definitely isn’t the most comfortable place in the world to switch garments. But I’ve got to change identities - And in a hurry!”
- Superman, 1942 Sunday Comic Strip
A red telephone box stands in the distance, just when you need it once. In a somewhat drunken stupor, you limp towards it. As you finish dialling a number, a low voice on the other end mutters, “Wolverine” and you watch as your muscles grow, your legs elongate, your feet lengthen, and your cock thicken. You stumble out of the booth as you feel your voice grow into nothing more than a husky growl, and look down to examine your new body as Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine.
Following the War of the Craft, many remnants of Craft manifested themselves in the open world as reality altering paraphernalia across the world and its many eras. One of these many examples came to be known as The Telephone Box. This manifestation of power appeared in the late 50’s and took on the appearance as a red telephone box, wherein it randomly disappeared and appeared in many cities across the globe. It is seen as being indistinguishable from any other telephone box, but seemingly having an “almost hypnotic” effect upon certain men, especially those that are attracted to other men.
Upon entering, the user will feel compelled to dial a number, whether it is one they know or a random number, but no matter what number they dial, The Voice will always respond and utter the phrase of a super powered comic book character.
Such examples have been the following, Captain America, Venom, Iron Man, Spider Man, Green Arrow, The Flash, Superman, Black Panther, Batman, and many others.
However, The Voice has recently been known to spout “Ten” or “Eleven” to the user, transforming them into British actors David Tennant and Matt Smith, usually in a specific outfit and with an odd device appearing in their pockets.
Once a name is said, the phone will immediately hang up and whoever is inside the phone will begin transforming into the comic book character, though these transformations can vary from looking more like the comic book counterpart to how a modern day audience identifies these heroes. This means that nowadays, people may actually end up transforming into Chris Evans’ Captain America or Andrew Garfield’s Spider Man. This is also based upon the user’s own personal preference.
Usually the transformation begins with the hands, causing many to believe that the magic emanates from the phone itself, this, as well as the trigger being caused by The Voice, further gives credence to this observation.
Anyone who tries to leave The Telephone Box during transformation is unable to, as the hinges for the door disappear and meld into the walls as the doorknob disappears as well as any windows so they are unable to signal for help or break out.
Other transformations that may break the phone box such as The Hulk have been unable to do so, as The Telephone Box simply grows to allow the body to grow completely inside of it before having a door large enough for them to step outside.
It has been noted that on the outside, The Telephone Box doesn’t appear to change shape or size during this, causing some of believe that the interior is simply a different realm akin to The Studio. However, oddly enough The Telephone Box can actually enable someone to visit The Studio when exiting the box. Upon exiting, The Telephone Box will always suddenly disappear and appear somewhere else within the world, always in cities or towns that are at least somewhat populated.
Once the transformation is finished, not only will the user be transformed into the character physically, but they will be transformed into them mentally as well. Though a higher libido and same sex attraction is present, they will find themselves with the character’s own powers and morals, needing to save other lives as Superman or stop crimes as Batman.
Whenever two or more people are within The Telephone Box (the maximum ever being fitted is four), the user (in reference to the one actually using the phone) is transformed into the character. Meanwhile others are transformed into inanimate objects, such as the outfit of the user (which usually manifests from whatever clothing they have on or if nothing at all than it simply doesn’t appear).
However during the last transformation with four people, the user was turning into Thor, his friends becoming his outfit, another his boots and well as the transformation was finishing, his other friend seemed to become this:
Not that the user minded, as he became known as Thor, forgetting his old life and putting his “friend” to good use.
The Telephone Box still exists to this day, and nobody knows exactly who or what The Voice is. Only, whoever or whatever they are, they still continue to transform men into heroes and more.