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A Wireless Love Affair

By Personal and Wellington

Howard Hesseman is Johnny Fever in WKRP in CincinattiWhen I was six­teen or so, I was called in to the Careers’ Teacher’s office (next door to the wood­work room) for my one and only “careers” meet­ing. Mr Farquhar remin­isced briefly about a couple of former pupils who were good enough to rep­res­ent Essex at crick­et and Arsenal at foot­ball, as if he had any­thing to do with either achievement.

He asked me what I wanted to do. “I want to be a disc jockey on the radio, sir,” I said. “You want what?” he replied. “I want to be a disc jockey on the radio. I already volun­teer at the Newham General hos­pit­al radio sta­tion. And that was how Mike Read star­ted. Lots of people who are on the radio star­ted that way, sir.”

Slightly bemused, he said “Wouldn’t you be bet­ter off try­ing some­thing a little more … real­ist­ic?” I told him I’d pretty well thought it all out and I knew how I could go about it. At the time I was devour­ing books on radio and even read­ing Billboard to try and find out more about the busi­ness I wanted to be in. “WKRP in Cincinatti” didn’t screen in England but if it did I would have been video-ing it every week and play­ing it back frame by frame.

Look, you seem like quite a bright young lad,” said Mr Farquhar. “Take these pamph­lets away with you and have a look at them. They’re for a Management Trainee Scheme at London Transport and it obvi­ously won’t suit every­one here but you could do a lot worse.” I said “thank you” and walked out and that was the extent of my voca­tion­al guid­ance at school.

Two years later I was in New Zealand, broad­cast­ing sev­er­al times a week from the Kelburn stu­di­os of Radio Active. Three years after that I was work­ing for ZMFM on Victoria Street, pulling the mid­night till dawn shift five nights a week. I was a pro­fes­sion­al DJ on the radio, just as I said I would be. But after that, radio and I par­ted com­pany (com­mer­cial radio, repet­it­ive pro­mo­tions and mind­less playl­ists will do that to you) and I was spend­ing more of my time hanging out with act­ors, writers and dir­ect­ors rather than alone in a room with a pile of records.

I’ve always wanted to go back to it, and I’ve always believed that it was the one thing I could safely say I was really good at. But I wanted to do it on my terms, for fun. I got the chance tonight thanks to VBC who have offered a weekly Monday night slot to the Wellingtonista and my name popped up on the roster. If you were listen­ing, I apo­lo­gise for my only passing acquaint­ance with the English lan­guage (there was a lot going on) but I hope you enjoyed the music.

My attempt at record­ing the stream failed, which is a bless­ing in dis­guise, but I have added the playl­ist here so you know what you missed.

I’m hooked on radio again. I want to build a stu­dio here in the home office and make radio for people and thanks to the Internet and pod­casts (and inspired by the likes of Jesse Thorn at The Sound of Young America) it may actu­ally be pos­sible. In the mean­time, I’ll crop up on the Wellingtonista show every now and then, slowly get­ting used to the slightly eccent­ric VBC tech­no­logy, get­ting my fix.

Playlist after the jump.

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By Cinema and Personal

I made my first radio appear­ance in sev­er­al years this morn­ing, filling in for Graeme Tuckett on Nine to Noon for National Radio. Kathryn Ryan is away at the moment so Lynn Freeman from Arts on Sunday was filling in as host – two subs together.

In the seg­ment I stumbled through brief reviews of Half Nelson and The Kingdom and then spoke about the cur­rent con­tro­versy over DVD screen­ings at Rialto in Auckland.

The hard­est part of doing the slot that was estim­at­ing how long I could actu­ally talk for coher­ently. The last thing I wanted was to run out of mater­i­al with the clock still some way off mid­day and then find myself say­ing some­thing like “and how about those All Blacks?” just to fill the silence. So, I told them 10 minutes would be fine and, of course, ran out of time and failed to fit everything in. If there’s a next time I’ll have a bit more con­fid­ence in my abil­ity to come up with mater­i­al but they seemed happy enough and did­n’t have to cut me off or drag me out of the studio.

It’s very cool hav­ing one’s name on the RNZ web site, and even cool­er see­ing it show up in iTunes as a pod­cast. Masochists and fans can down­load my seg­ment here (at least for the next few days).

ecto Test

By Family and meta

It’s safe to ignore this post, reg­u­lar read­er, as I’m just test­ing the latest ver­sion of ecto (Mac blog­ging soft­ware). It has a Windows ver­sion which would make post­ing from work (ahem) a little easier.

The web fron­tend to WordPress is fine but I find it hard to actu­ally com­pose in it – for some reas­on it does­n’t feel like writing.
Barbara and Aroha Dec 2006
Not sure about ecto on this first look, but there you go.

I’m going to try and drag a photo from iPhoto and see what that looks like. And just to be dif­fi­cult I’m going to drag it to the middle of the post.

And make it a thumb­nail linked to a lar­ger (but not full-size ver­sion) of the image. That’s my moth­er and my niece at Wellington Zoo between Xmas and New Year.

2 Quickies

By Food & Drink and Personal

One of the chees­iest ads of all time – for cof­fee! (via Coudal)

Suggested by Kottke (via Rivers Are Damp):

Go here and look through ran­dom quotes until you find five that you think reflect who you are or what you believe.”

Here are my five:

Our greatest pre­tenses are built up not to hide the evil and the ugly in us, but our empti­ness. The hard­est thing to hide is some­thing that is not there.
Eric Hoffer (1902 – 1983)

I can­not say wheth­er things will get bet­ter if we change; what I can say is they must change if they are to get better.
Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742 – 1799)

No one is use­less in this world who light­ens the bur­dens of another.
Charles Dickens (1812 – 1870)

People are people, messy and mut­able, com­bin­ing dif­fer­ently with one anoth­er from day to day – even hour to hour.
Elizabeth Moon, The Speed of Dark, 2003

I’m bet­ter than dirt. Well, most kinds of dirt, not that fancy store-bought dirt… I can­’t com­pete with that stuff.
Matt Groening (1954 – ), The Simpsons