‘Walking around with a head full of music…*’
With the Sony Walkman almost five years old at the time, there was quite a number of imitators. Philips’ equivalent was the Skyliner. Binatone’s answer was the HipFi – self explanatory as to where the device is often placed. In 1983, there was another one known as the Promenade. A name which is more New Brighton than New York, Whitstable than Washington, and Torquay instead of Tokyo.
The Benkson Electronics Promenade PSC11
In the Autumn/Winter 1983 Argos Catalogue, the Benkson PSC11 was the top of the range of their two walkpeople. The lesser PSC4 was a common and garden personal stereo, with the cassette player its only facility.
Its superior brethren not only had a cassette player. It also came with a built-in FM and AM radio. Brilliant in practice, so long as the wearer’s headphones also doubled as an aerial. Not so. A bog standard telescopic aerial is used to pick up signals. Though some may come to grief whilst on the move, with the aerial fully extend, it was designed more for its other feature.
On the flip side of the tape deck was a set of two built-in speakers. Which, if you wished to used the set in the same way as a transistor radio, was good for use in the bathroom. The Promenade PSC11 took three AA batteries, pretty hefty compared with the Philips Skyliner though less than the cheaper Cathay MC150 (which took four AAs).
Benkson Electronics was a marketing name for Benkson Benkart, a Barking, Essex based company active from the 1960s to the 1980s. They imported and rebranded Japanese electronic devices, mainly radios and televisions. The company was dissolved on the 19 August 2003.
Interestingly at the time when Argos sold the Promenade PSC11 and its competitors, another product line of theirs was chart topping albums. A selection of the Top 50 albums and tapes were available in all showrooms. That might have hurt The HMV Shop a little for two minutes, being next to Argos’ Town Square branch in Oldham.
- Argos Catalogue edition: Autumn/Winter 1983;
- Page and item numbers: page 213, item 9;
- 1983 Prices: £39.99;
- 2014 Prices: £123.21.
S.V., 14 December 2014.
* Wired for Sound, Cliff Richard (1981).