The objects in my home that get handled the most would probably be, in order: house keys, tea tray, journal, little red radio. That last is my Tivoli SongBook (why, even the name is melodious!) and I hook it up to my computer to amplify the podcasts, music, and YouTube videos of the IQ2 debates I watch while I sew patchwork. If I could carry my tea and open my door with my Tivoli radio I would. (Replacing the journal would be tough.)
The Tivoli Songbook really is book-sized, if that book is the Penguin Classics edition of Great Expectations — and a satisfying thickness it is. The radio comes in several colors; mine is tomato red. There’s a tiny screen that glows a luminous ice blue when the radio is on and I appreciate the generous length of the antenna even though it doesn’t still doesn’t help me get reception in my condo. The SongBook gets loud, too, which is good for those moments when you need to bust out and dance like a maniac to the latest Lady Gaga record while you brush your teeth.
All of these qualities would be enough to to make my little red radio lovable, but I have another potent reason: I have gravely mishandled my SongBook and it still loves me.
I have dropped that thing a hundred times if I’ve dropped it once. I have plugged it into bum outlets and wiggled the cord like I was loosening a tooth; when I move papers too hastily it hits the wood table slap! flat on its back; the tip of the antenna snapped off; and when the Gaga is turned up way loud, the speaker threatens to blow out but never does. The wee radio keeps going. Sometimes I have to make a fist and bang it on the top to get it to work, but even that makes me happy: I feel like a soldier in WWI, smacking my radio receiver in the trenches: “Tivoli, this is Fons, do you copy??”
The Tivoli company didn’t pay me to write this post, by the way. They certainly could, though I doubt most companies are in the business of finding free publicity and then retroactively paying for it. Still, I recommend the SongBook this year as an excellent Christmas gift for someone you love. It runs about $200 and that’s not exactly cheap, but I guarantee pleasure for years (of abuse) to come.
Did I mention I have used it as coaster?