It seems to have always been there, that chatty feller, or rare woman’s voice (hello Anne Nightingale) on the radio airwaves, in between the cleaning of shoes, stirring up of porridge and the studious reading of comics. Yeah, radio with that noisy, anonymous, dj friend that often inspired or bugged me back then and still right now, day after day.
First there was Ed Stewpot on Saturday morning with all those songs especially aimed at little ‘uns like me – Ernie, the fastest milkman in the west, The runaway train and so many cheesy, cheery others. All of those silly songs made me the well balanced human being you find today…
Not Swap shop – him off the radio…
Then there was Noel Edmonds, not on Swap Shop with his weird beard and Cheggers, but on radio 1 complete with his cheeky, wise cracking comedy milk-man, Flynn, chatting away as I’d try to roll out of bed and get ready for school. I liked Noel Edmonds best as an exuberant, excitable voice with a face and stature which I could only (positively) imagine. What a disappointment it was to actually see and hear him later on the telly! Let that be a warning, Steve Wright, Chris Moyles, Simon Mayo…zzzzzzzzzz.
BBC Studio B15
At the weekends there were also some lightly campaigning, socially aware, investigative radio programmes with a DJ that seemed to share my first name, without permission – Adrian Juste in Studio B15. Once I plucked up the courage to actually call in and speak up about why exactly the youth of the nation should cycle to school, like me. It seemed to go well. Especially pleasing was a hearty pat on the back from the burly games teacher, Mr Jenkins, on Monday morning. It seems he had also tuned in and heard yours truly on the air waves of national BBC radio 1. Yeah, me!
Too much gravy
Around that time there was also a new and unknown, anarchic radio DJ doing his little show, ‘Too much gravy’ on Sunday afternoon. It was great fun with phone ins and much silliness. It was strangely very short lived. Whatever happened to that little feller from Manchester, Chris Evans?
The John Peel late night wing ding
Of course anyone that had spots, awkward blue jeans and doctor Martens to mercilessly chew and gnaw at your bleeding sore ankles was also bound to be listening into Radio 1’s late night radio wing ding with John Peel. It was with John Peel that I was first beamed into interstellar, galactic radio nirvana when the man himself repeated, for little old me, a studio session by my then hometown goth heroes, Bauhaus. Just because I wrote in and asked, yeah! Alas, I was out when this titanic moment of radio history occurred and only learned about it from some of my fellow sixth form pals, the very next day. Apparently John Peel also wound up the repeated Bauhaus session with “and if you’re listening out there in radio land, Adrian, I hope you enjoyed that.” I wasn’t, but everyone else did John.
Spurned by Radio 4
Another high water mark in my personal listener adventures in radio land came when I migrated to Radio 4 and took on the mighty MGM cinema bosses on the Radio 4 Today news programme. I was volunteer press officer for ‘Save our cinema’ campaign’ and we had got the call… If I do say so myself, I landed some hefty and heavy verbal jabs on that nasty managing director from MGM cinemas. It was a great, game changing, three minute news package interview, ready to roll the next day. Er, except that next morning every other story was dumped in favour of wall to wall blood and bombing stories from Israel. So much for being spurned by the boffins at Radio 4! Huh!
The radio 1 breakfast show with Mark and Lard and me…
Perhaps my first fickle love, radio 1, would have me back? A twist of the dial and a postcard to Manchester soon did the trick, this time to my new radio heroes, Mark and Lard. They had recently been freshly plucked from their late night, 10 – midnight, slot to fill and present the prestigious Radio 1 breakfast show. What could possibly go wrong for the two Marks from Manchester? What was not to like for me too, innocent and willing contestant fodder that I was. Anyway, on the train from Birmingham up to Manchester I excitedly reviewed in my minds eye some cheerful chubby radio banter with Mark and Lard over a full, complementary, BBC breakfast platter after my own very successful appearance on their light hearted, knock out radio competition ‘The Buzzy buzzy bee quiz.’ As you will naturally recall in this short radio competition every answer in the quiz began with the letter ‘B’ and opened with the cheeky chappy, Arthur Askey singing his classic comedy music hall song ‘The busy buzzy bee.’ Well, for the life of me, I still can’t remember how I only scored two and my opponent scored three answers beginning with ‘B.’ But never mind, at least there would be the consolation prize of the chance to talk radio and popular culture with Mark and Lard at the end of the breakfast show at 9am. Perhaps the sharp eyed young lady in traditional media black leggings, black polo neck and black shoes had come to guide us towards the fabled, free, BBC breakfast bar, where Mark and Lard would later join us goggle eyed contestants clutching our small, hotel sized, pot of honey and poorly enamelled busy buzzy bee badge? Sadly it was not to be, no, instead she asked us if we wanted a taxi and briskly walked us towards the exit with no sign of a cup of tea, fried egg or any cheerful chubby banter and chat with the two Marks.
Radio waves - goodbye or hello?
Ahh, the magic of radio. Probably it’s best enjoyed far from the studio, the miles of outside broadcast cable and bizarre radio one road show pantomimes with ‘Bits and pieces,’ Smiley Miley and all the other radio land magic that has very happily filled my empty head, idle hours, late night shifts and early morning, sweat ridden moments of chest clutching panic with music, inane and sometimes inspiring words, silliness and songs to live by. What a shame you didn’t tune in and catch those shows on wonderful FM, stereo and medium wave, 275 and 285 on the radio. You’ll have to take my word for it, imagine it – or tune into Radio 2!