DIAL A POEM
The cartoon was inspired by a photo of Dave Calder dressed [at the suggestion of a smart press photographer] in Tudor garb borrowed from the nearby Liverpool Playhouse, taken in a phone box in Williamson Square, Liverpool.
What made Dial-a-poem feasible was the new technology of the late 1970's - answerphones used cassettes for the outgoing announcement as well as storing incoming messages.
By recording poems as the announcement, either live or by prerecording on reel-to-reel it was possible to provide poems of several minutes length.
The first poem was The city by CP Cavafis chosen and read by Dave Calder
It gathered serious coverage and more callers than the technology could satisfy. Nevertheless, using work from a wide range of local, visiting and classic poets, the service ran for some 10 years.
Radio 4 today 8.48 3/10/79 interview
itv: Richard Duckenfield, snf, reports on a new telephone service for Merseyside, Dial-a-poem, and spoke to Dave Calder of the Windows Project about it. 04/10/79