TURNTABLES AND RATS!
It's been a long time since I
had a chat with our readers on this site. I seem to spend so
much time moaning on about how the media is deteriorating before
our eyes I think I've forgotten how to just have a chat. That's
not good if you're Irish - and I am Irish.
remember back in the old days in Dublin, as far back as 1979
when I was just 16, broadcasting on a radio station which was
set up in a lighthouse in Killiney, Co. Dublin in Ireland. For
those of you who don't know, these were the days of pirate (illegal)
radio in Ireland.
But well before the "Superpirates" came into the fore.
Stations were set up in garages, lounge rooms, bedrooms, attics,
ships, and yes - even lighthouses! Before I started my shift,
playing ELO, The Eagles and the like, I had
to put a 50 pence piece in an old meter - this kept the electricity
going! 50 pence allowed for an hour of running the turntables
and transmitter. Can you believe it? It's true.
would be hail and sleet hitting the windows as I looked out
to sea in the middle of the night - the light above me giving
me glimpses of the harsh waves on the rocks. Play
misty for me was the movie from an earlier part of
that decade- a scary story about an obsessed fan and a DJ on
a radio station - also with views of the sea. But I was not
frightened. No one is when they are sixteen. A time when you
truly believe you are unbreakable. The lights went out in the
little room of the lighthouse every time the meter ran out -
the record would grind down to a halt. Then I'd put my 50 pence
in that meter, and the record would slowly start and gain pace
back to its 45 RPM - in this case, Simon and Grafunkel's voices
sounding like grumpy old men until the increased speed of the
record brought their voices back to their (then) youthful tones.
Since I'm having a chat with you, perhaps I should tell you
about some other weird locations I worked in. There was a station
called Southside Radio, which was in a disused beer-keg shed
at the side of a hotel called Hotel Victor in Dunlaoghaire,
Co Dublin. Another was a rat-infested attic above a record shop
in Dublin's city centre (Capel Street)- the station was called
It was sometimes hard to learn the art of broadcasting under
these conditions - but it was always very funny. Of course,
after numerous radio stations surrounded with rats and bugs,
came a time to be rewarded - with work on the superpirates Radio
Nova, Q102 and Energy 103 - we had reached the early to late
80's by that time. But you know, despite state-of-the-art studio's
and reasonable pay, it was never as much fun as those rat-infested
hovels where we learned how to mix records and tell people the
time in between every record!
days my life is spent with computers. I do voiceover work for
commercial enterprises and the odd radio show, but it's all
about computers now. Computers have become so multimedia-friendly,
heck knows what could come of it. I could be a full time broadcaster
again - through this medium. But radio, whether through megabytes
or frequencies, has become so anal and controlled, so contrived
and predictable, I'm not sure I want to be part of that. It's
too safe - too clean - and too fucking organised! Give me rats
in the attic anytime. Don't think I'm ready to be old and wise
yet. Well, not wise anyway. And to think I was just going to
have a chat with you and
not moan on about how the media is deteriorating before our
eyes - damn! I screwed up again!
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