Saturday, 11 January 2014

Saturdays are for Music

Saturdays are for my favourite music radio
I try to have a routine where I spend my Saturdays with great music - it takes me back to when i first got into music, aged about 10 and looked forward to spending Saturdays at the under age Disc Club, or whatever they called it, at the Locarno Ballroom in Hull.  Saturday was also the only day that I got to hear much daytime radio in the 60s, which is when it really happened !

Most Saturdays now I have a couple of radios going and listen to all kinds of stuff. My days starts with Louise Davies on Radio Seagull, a progressive rock station from a ship in Holland. Then maybe a bit of Radio 10, and Radio 192 - a tribute station in the style of Radio Veronica that is run by what it calls de oude medewerkers (old staff or colleagues).

Radio 192  runs old charts, jingles and have some of the best of the old DJs. Adje Bowman is the king, and there is even an hour of Joost de Draaijer, my dear old friend for many years now.  Most of their output on Saturday afternoons is a lengthy programme, called Zaterdag Middag Gebeurtenis - which translates as the Saturday Afternoon Happening. Right up my street! One of the shows majors on what I call NED-POP; it's crammed with the Dutch beat bands of the 1960s.
After a few hours of that I swap to the BBC local in Leeds, which has a guy called John Kane playing some excellent Northern Soul and a sprinkling of Motown. This is just the stuff I played in numerous clubs and similar venues in the 1960s (and in the noughts in the Triton Ballroom!). 
John spins some excellent stuff, that usually sends me running to the library to dig out tracks.  I believe the programme is also available on BBC Sheffield in the south of this illustrious county of Yorkshire, but not on BBC Radio Humberside, which is a bit more of the sort of station that John Reith wanted the BBC to remain forever: Lots of talk about religion and Rugby League, which quite a few in Hull think are one and the same thing! With a couple of notable exceptions, Radio Humberside is not what you would call 'hip'. 

If we are at home later in the evening (we do stop in sometimes!) the radio goes over to BBC Radio Sheffield where another good friend, Diana Luke enters her 'Diana Luke Loves the 60s'  mode for three hours. The strip invariably includes lots of RnB (the old style RnB - not 'lazy rap' crap)  as well as quite a bit of heavy rock too, so long as its from the 60s.

Diana has developed an interesting "instant feedback" relationship with a hard core of listeners, who even meet up and visit the studios. (I've not been on one of these jaunts yet, but I'm sure I shall one fine day!). The music is mainly chosen by the listeners, who first of all select a featured artist, and then after midnight every track is a listener 'free choice'. Diana's show has several features - a Beat the Intro, Cryptic Clue, with entries possible on text, email or a Facebook page, but the best are when she's joined by her partner Tim Hollingworth.  

Freelance photographer and film cameraman Tim selects three rare old tunes, including an instrumental, and astounds Diana and her listeners with some little known facets about, what are always cracking pieces of our music heritage.  There is also a rather surreal feature where Diana and Tim each hum a sixties hit and the listeners have to guess what it is. Well, Tim usually gorgets any melody at all, which makes it nigh on impossible. Most weeks Tim's tune is guessed by a solitary listener and you can almost hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth  all over Yorkshire as listeners cary out in unison "That was never any thing like . . ." 

Stylish music centre from Scandinavia

A music centre with style

In almost everyone's pocket these days is a smart phone - phone is a bit of a misnomer as it is far far more than just a phone, the limited conversation aid from which the device has grown.

Ive had mobile phones in my pocket since around 1987 (it was made by Excel, and replaced the huge 'brick',  a Motorola 8500 which cost us £1725 and is still in the garage somewhere, often brought out to amuse young children).  But about ten years before that I was pretty such in love with a huge Rigonda 'radiogram' which I had bought - when you pressed a pre-set button, two little motors inside whirred away, dragging the tuning ropes along the dial and (hopefully) to the station you were seeking. A magic eye to check it, and the most amazingly light and precise turntable - it was a work of art.

Or so I thought, until I saw this amazing Scandinavia style radio-gram with tape recorder AND TV on an American radio engineers chat site recently. Just look at those sleek lines, with dramatic plunging . . . . its just superb, and through I'd share it with you.
Now thats what I call a radiogram!

(If anyone has one they want rid of I would love to find room for it in my office!)

Friday, 10 January 2014

Calm Seas and tidal floods

Calm Seas ?

Radio Caroline on a calm sea. 

There has been a fair bit of excitement in the media the last few weeks about heavy seas, where these have been pounding the sea walls and coastline in general around the south and west of England.

Here in East Yorkshire we are no strangers to this sort of violence from Mother Nature - every year Yorkshire loses acres and acres of lamed to the North Sea between Flamborough and Spurn point as the mainly clay cliffs are undermined by buffeting waves, particularly in North Easterlies, and huge chunks of cliff end up in the sea. Often these cliffs have roads, homes, caravans etc on top, and unless these are taken away in time they too end up in the sea.

We also get our fair share of flooding too - a depression (area of low pressure) coming down the North Sea, if coinciding with a spring tide and even worse with the wind piling it up, can add a huge 'surge' onto the tide. As this travels down the North Sea, the area it has available to it gets ever narrower, and as it then travels up inlets like the River Humber, it can really pile up very high  There was 15 feet on top of some tides in December - at the height of this the main road through Hull was closed as it got covered, as did thousands of homes and businesses on both sides of the Humber.

NOTE  The BBC completely ignored this disastrous event and saturated its output with interviews with odd people who once met Nelson Mandela, who had died that evening. They even cancelled regular programmes on BBC 1 TV, and replace it with the output of BBC News, which was "wall to wall" Mandela stories.

The printed press are often no better and very prone to inaccuracy, using various descriptions of wind, waves and other weather items.   There is a well thought out and meaningful 'Beaufort Scale' for wind, where the sind force , numbered 1 to 12 describes accurately what the wind speed is.  The Met office describe this much better than I can HERE 
The BBC and newspapers often report Force 12 gales,  Storm force 6 - all utter nonsense - is it a gale (if so what force is it really?) or is it a storm. You just can't tell from our media weather folk,. many of whom seem to be not only unqualified but not having any understanding of what users might want to know it for!

It s a beautiful feeling sailing on very calm seas, when it is just like a mirror. I hope your next sailing is over such waters.