Posted by: docdenbow | December 31, 2014

Everything I Had To Know

2014, I’ll leave you with this……………….

I love radio as a medium. I love radios as well. I can clearly recall the radio that I had as a youngster. It was a Grundig Party Boy and I used it night after night listening to Radio One and BMRB in my bedroom. The sad thing for me is that due to my loyalty to any possession,  I have absolutely no recollection of what became of it. Did it break and get discarded? Did I give it to a girlfriend as a love token? I can only shake my head and wonder of what became of my childhood friend. Naturally down the years there have been others, all have been adequate and pretty in their own way, but all have been unable to take the place of my first love. That’s the thing with first love, the memories burn with a smoking intensity giving rise to a sweet, sweet scent of misty nostalgia.

Prior to my discovery of girls and just how nice they looked and felt,  I’d listen to my records and the radio seeking out new “sounds.” However, on occasions when Party Boy and I were battered in submission by 20 minute “songs” featuring heavy mellotron use (Thotch anyone?) we would set off on a journey of exploration of the airwaves of Europe. VHF (FM to you young ‘uns) was pretty crap for that, as in those days bugger all seemed to be broadcast that was out of the ordinary unless you wanted to listen to the one sided conversations of PC Plod. On medium wave and long wave you could move along the frequencies in search of something tangible – and there never was anything there. It was like going to parties hoping to get a snog from a pretty girl and failing miserably time after time. You would never, ever succeed but it wouldn’t stop you going back to try again.

For a long time I neglected radio. She must have thought that I had forsaken her like so many others had done before me. We would sometimes meet for secret trysts when I was alone in my car, but that was about it it. I could tell she wanted commitment, but I was being seduced by another – the video cassette tape who occupied my time by showing me an endless array of fuzzy forgettable movies featuring people I had not heard of – and still haven’t. I flirted unmercilessly with video nasties, Driller Killer, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Evil Dead. What chance did she have, with her fading appeal like that of an aging pin up, against new technology?

Then along came digital broadcasting with Freeview and the ubiquitous tin boxes that delivered digital programmes to a whole plethora of cathode ray monsters. For myself, I discovered the joys of digital radio. Well, that’s not true really, what I did discover was the concept of digital radio. To be honest I was singularly unimpressed as digital seemed to offer nothing that good old VHF, Medium and Long Wave offered in the choice of stations. I was becoming a luddite as I was thinking that if these digital radio chaps get their way all we’ll be able to listen to is sanitized pop stations that play John Farnham’s  “You’re The Voice” every twenty minutes. A vision, or perhaps earful, of hell for me.

Bush Radio reproduction of 1959 TR82 transisto...

Bush Radio reproduction of 1959 TR82 transistor portable.(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yet, for all of that, radio and I are together again. Like long separated lovers our romance has been rekindled. Once more we are spending time together and after all of these years we’re getting to know each other all over again. We enjoy quietly listening to Radio 3 and Radio 4. We sleep peacefully to the sound of Classic FM and smile at the inane sporting enthusiasm of TalkSport. When possible we listen to our youth on Radio 2 and from time to time explore Radio Wales and even Planet Rock. Our relationship is more fulfilling and the love more deep seated and mature than in years gone by. Gone is the Party Boy and in its place I have a Bush radio that looks like it came from the 1950s. It has a big friendly dial on the front to tune to FM and AM as they’re called these days. Along the top there are the usual controls for Digital Radio and there are a few presets. Her voice is not the smoothest, but remaining a shallow adolescent I chose the Bush for its pure magnetic draw. It is a fine looking piece and its look takes me back to my childhood when every home had a fine looking Bush entertaining the household.

I do believe that the decline of radio has as much to do with intellectual laziness as does to do with other media. We all have MP3 players and CD players for our music. We have huge widescreen TVs and Blu ray players to entertain our eyes and games consoles to numb our senses and perhaps it is fitting that the humble wireless as a relic of a bygone age should be consigned to the recycle bin of history. Notwithstanding all of those distractions, the humble wireless will continue as long as there is a proportion of the population who are not contenders to be guests on The Jeremy Kyle show and actually read real books and not Kindles. These people read broadsheet newspapers and have little or no idea what a Candy Crush is or a Facebook page looks like. These people are our future, they have sufficient imagination to listen to a radio play, be entertained and enlightened by “Woman’s Hour” and laugh uproariously at “Just A Minute” and listen to music that is not heavily influenced by Simon Cowell.

Everything I had to know, I learned it from my radio.

Anyway For Now,

That’s It.



  1. As thought provoking as ever Doc. Well Done.
    I love nothing better that listening to the radio while working where ever I happen to be or in the motor. I must get myself a nice new Dab for the sideboard.

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