Thursday, November 23, 2006

So the latest Ashes started in Australia overnight, sounds like it was a pretty tough day for the English. I managed to avoid checking on the score until around 6am, by then Australia were well in control, bringing back memories on childhood for me. It feels as though I woke up early on many freezing cold winter mornings, switched on the transistor radio which I had taken to bed with me the previous evening, only to hear that England were being soundly thrashed by a rampant Australian side.

Listening to a small radio in bed in one of the great joys in life those days. I guess I, like so many others of my age started by listening to Radio Luxembourg under the bed clothes whilst nervously waiting for my mum to tell me to "turn that off!" The reception for Radio Luxembourg in Bristol was pretty bad and the signal would ebb and flow, leaving you with the joyful sound of static for minutes at a time. Maybe it was this which caused my love of tuneless experimental electronic music? On occasions I would wake with a start late at night, realising that I had drifted off and the batteries on the radio has died. Now this was in the days before rechargeable batteries and we didn't really keep much of a battery stock in the house, so the prospect of several days without a radio was a worrying prospect.

Eventually I graduated to having a radio which I could plug into wall and keep on the table next to my bed, amazingly this didn't happen until I was on the verge of leaving school and starting my first job. By then I had made the move from Radio Luxembourg to John Peel on Radio 1. I dipped my musical ear in and out of the Peel show for a few years, until the festive 50 of 1978 saw becoming a regular listener. To ensure I didn't miss anything I would record the shows as well, so that I could play the tapes the next day, this would ensure that none of those fantastically obscure tunes slipped past me.

To this day late night radio is an essential part of my (and Orynthia's life). Our companion in the bedroom is Mark Radcliffe, consistently entertaining - sometimes just fantastic. Whenever he has Simon Armitage or Stuart Maconie as a guest of the show the silliness quota goes through the roof, and we lie in bed chuckling away at the wonderfully frivolous banter.


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