I simply cannot do it!

I simply cannot do it!


No wonder I have had such a hard time throwing it away. It is not only in my cupboard I recently read it is also in the Museum of Modern Art in New York where it is acknowledged as “one of the finest examples of modern design” (New York Times).

It has been in my stack of ‘things to be disposed of’ several times. But, I could never do it so back in the cupboard it went. And I still can’t do it!

 I am talking about the Kodak Carousel-S (picture above).  Designed by Hans Gugelot and manufactured by Kodak’s German division in 1962. it reigned supreme in the world of slide projectors for years. Production of the unit continued until 2004.

It was an expensive piece of equipment – $2600AUD, eight times the cost of most other slide projectors. However, as a sight and sound producer, I was sure it was worth it. Two circumstances combined to make it possible for me to own one (part own). My friend Bev Hanson, a landscape designer, also needed a top rate projector for her presentations. We decided to go halves in a Carousel. The other circumstance was that I had to drop in to Suva, Fiji for the World Council of Churches. Fiji was a well-known duty-free location. That is where I purchased my Carousel-S for the bargain price of around $1800AUD.

The reason for my Suva visit was to check on a project that the World Council of Churches had funded. The WCC had gifted a video production suite for the Pacific Island Churches; the idea being that locally produced, inspirational and educational VHS video tapes could be a valuable resource across the far-flung Pacific. After some stalling by church officials, I was able to see it. The equipment was in a store room, mostly still in its boxes. The problem was that no-one knew how to put it together and how to work it. Hmm! And so, a great idea floundered because of practicality.

Back in Australia, the Carousel gave great service to me and Bev. The high point in my Carousel usage came in 1980. I was responsible for the public gathering of World Council of Churches World Conference in Melbourne’. Located in Festival Hall, Melbourne’s biggest indoor space, seating 8000, my job was to make it a memorable occasion. As an experiment, I held the projector upright and pointed it at the ceiling, (something you should never do). Believe it or not, the Carousel-S kept on working. For the great occasion I had a number of Carousels pointing at various parts of the ceiling. Their projected images covered the enormous space with images of the world-wide church. In the dimly lit arena it created a spectacular experience.

It was at that same conference that I arranged for Danish manufacturer of Lego (from Billund, Denmark) to create a city out of lego blocks. This was on display during the conference. As part of one of the closing sessions, I broke it up and had 8000 pieces distributed to the huge audience. I asked them, “Why is a block of lego like a Christian?” After discussion from the floor I shared my answer. “A block of lego is of no purpose by itself. It is made to joined with other pieces. That is its destiny. And to be bright and beautiful it needs to be joined with pieces of other colours.” Years later when I met a few of the same people at the WCC world conference in Canberra, some of them told me they still carried their lego block as a reminder of their Christian calling.

The technology of sight and sound has moved on. What I can now do with my phone would have taken a room full of equipment in years gone by. Through the internet I have access to millions of images. My finished productions, all sorted and trimmed, simply require a memory stick, (looks like a piece of plastic about a quarter the size of a ball point pen). Insert this stick into a port (connection slot) on most computers and, as if by magic, the images are on the screen(s).

Decades ago, I bought Bev’s half share and that made the projector, totally mine. But, what to do with it now? It sits in my crowded cupboard taking up valuable space. But I can’t dispose of it. Or more correctly, I won’t dispose of it. I looked up ‘Trade Me’ (on line market) and believe it or not, this old classic machine has a value. But I don’t want to sell it.

So, I’m stuck – spinning my wheels.

An old friend who lives with her husband in a large farm house said to me, “I know the kids are trying to get us to move to one of those new units in town. I am not moving. I could not face unpacking all the cupboards and sorting through all the stuff we have accumulated.”

Actually, I think I am generally OK with getting rid of things – furniture, appliances and even computers and tech stuff. Parting with these things has caused me no pain.  However, I must admit I don’t like parting with old jackets and woolen pull-overs.  They kind of become part of me. However, when this happens my wife Pauline, wants to take them to the bin or the welfare store.

And books – I know I have a problem with books. All of my recent efforts of down-sizing my library have been thwarted by the discovery of some wonderful volume that I really must read again. So, to date, with regard to sorting my library, nothing much has happened.

But my relationship with my Carousel-S is in another league again. The questions is – do I own the projector or does the projector own me?

Old Father Time takes no prisoners. The clock is ticking and the final shake-down and sort-out will come whether I like it or not.

I don’t think about the coming years much, but with regard to the projector, one cheerful thought has crossed my mind. The projector is in a purpose-made, robust case. The case with the projector inside, could sit beside my bed.  Items such as cups, water jug, books, cards – whatever, could be placed on it. Pauline would probably object. But if she wanted to put a pretty cloth on it, I would not mind. Could this be the final solution?

Stan Stewart

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SUNDAY SERVICE, 28th July 2019