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Phone chats, a magazine with life hacks and more

The Internet has become so firmly entrenched in our lives that even those who started using it at a conscious age do not remember very firmly what we replaced this source of knowledge and information with before. How did you find the right place, person, material for an abstract or book, how did you communicate when it was impossible to meet? Everything was more complicated – but everything was.

Directories and Encyclopedias
Usually they recall only telephone directories — where one could recognize someone’s home phone number by name — and large encyclopedias in several volumes about everything in the world, but in fact, in the pre-Internet era one could buy or find such publications on various topics : From popular medical or culinary guides to very highly specialized, related to any profession, hobby or science.

Of course, in small towns and especially villages, libraries did not have such an extensive stock of different books that it was easy to find information on the fauna of the tropics or a narrow technical industry. This problem was solved in two ways: deliberately carved out a day to go to the regional center or regional center, to a larger library, or sent an analogue of the search query to some media: that is, they wrote a request to cover this issue in the next broadcast or next issue of the magazine.

Subscribing to thematic magazines in the USSR was very cheap, and many kept years of filing publications of various topics. It’s not because it’s nice to re-read about new products in the Soviet heavy industry – but as a replenishing guide, alas, without the ability to search for topics alphabetically, as in a book guide, but with constantly updated information.

Such binders were collected not only at home, but also in libraries of various kinds of cultural houses. Subject magazines were easier to order than new encyclopedias, and the demand for them was very high. Especially on publications dedicated to a particular work with hands. I must say that they were beautifully, accurately and clearly illustrated, which replaced the video series on YouTube with the desire for knowledge.

Magazine filings were a detail of the Soviet interior.

When a Soviet man desperately wanted to know what they ate in Ancient Rome or how the fate of the lover of Chekhov and the Stanislavsky actress Marilyn Monroe, as well as a little enlightenment in the latest in psychology, pedagogy and medicine, he wrote a letter on radio or television. There were several programs in which they were always ready to answer such questions or devote a separate issue on a topic that is interesting to the audience.

There was only one thing: it was important not to miss the program. It was difficult to even ask someone to record the issue on tape, so you sit down in front of the device with a pencil and a notebook and quickly write down everything you need with text, by hand.

To answer questions from listeners, radio hosts invited doctors of science, writers and doctors to the studio.

To answer questions from listeners, radio hosts invited doctors of science, writers and doctors to the studio.

Inquiry Office

Addresses and phone numbers of organizations, as well as citizens, if their surname, name and patronymic are known, could be found in the city information bureau. The work schedule of the institutions was also given there, which did not differ greatly: from nine to seventeen. But it was possible to find out which days were unacceptable. True, not in every city, more often I had to call the number received in the information desk.

It was possible to find out the numbers of institutions by the telephone help line, but it did not work in all cities. There was another telephone service, also not everywhere: the exact Moscow time. But more often, citizens checked the signals on the radio.

In general, the phone played a special role in the life of Soviet people. Children hung on the phone for hours in the evenings, for example, doing homework together or just discussing something. There were even their own “phone games” – verbal, purposely in order to play with a friend or girlfriend in the evening. These are mainly “cities”, burimes, various quizzes. Some played real verbal role-playing games! To be honest, sometimes not only children, but adults, too, hung on the phone — but no one made any comments about this! If in the house the devices from different apartments for some reason made it possible to listen to each other’s conversations, then the children of one entrance sometimes organized collective chats.

Not every samizdat was persecuted in the USSR. Home-made manuscript (less commonly typewritten) magazines and wall newspapers were a popular form of entertainment in work collectives, in residential entrances and even in families. No, we are not talking about wall newspapers drawn on the instructions of the party and the class teacher — there were just silly newspapers that they did on their own initiative.

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