Monday, February 06, 2006

Previous Broadcasts : Radio Kick In The Head


The concept of Radio Kick In The Head was born, following a difficult labour, in a Public House on the outskirts of the sleepy, some would say totally unconscious town, of Loughborough, England. It was Autumn, 1986. At that time one Colin W. Mueslibar, and one James Barclay were, as they say in Radio circles 'between programmes' i.e. unemployed. They were sharing a drink (they could only afford one between them) in the Thrush and Piddle when the idea came to them. Both Colin and James had a passion for Radio and spoke of little else that evening. James had been 'in Radio' all his life, having been born in the back of the family Radiogram whilst his Mother was changing a valve. Colin too lived for Radio but found his previous employment, as the tuning dial on a communications receiver, restrictive and two dimensional. Despite their almost fanatical interest in their subject however, fate had not been kind to them. In fact, fate ignored them completely and so had everyone else as they sat on their respective bar stools supping their pint of Old Rat Mix through two straws they carried everywhere with them - just in case. As the evening drew to a close, Colin suddenly started. James, who had known Colin for many years, reached instinctively for Colin's tablets, but he was not to be silenced. 'You know Jim', he began, 'I'm sure there are people out there who would appreciate something a little different in Radio. Something better than the mundane, something a little more risky, something with some BALLS ...!'
His voice trailed off. Colin trailed after it, towards the Toilet, stopping briefly to wink at a young couple sitting in the corner near the dartboard, who were experimenting with each others bodies with their mouths, hands, and an interesting and rather impressive array of equipment found in the sixth form Chemistry labs. When he returned, Colin found James practising his 'appreciative nod'. This was a trick James used during situations where Colin might be about to launch into a tirade of the 'radio today is crap' variety. James had noticed in the past that, by practising the 'nodding technique', the movement of his head usually provided a sufficient distraction for Colin to forget what he was about to say. This normally saved both Colin and himself the inconvenience of having to find yet another Pub where they were not known. The list of places where they were invited to 'take their custom elsewhere' (straws included) had grown to such a degree that 'elsewhere' was now a rare commodity. But Colin was not to be halted. 'I've been thinking', he said, looking straight past James toward the couple he had seen on the way to the Toilet. 'We could start a Station ourselves'. He fiddled with the zip of his jeans as if trying to check by tactile methods alone, whether the zipper was occupying it's usual position at or near the respectable moral high ground, or whether it had slipped down to reveal the various graduations of depravity which were Colin's undergarments. And why ? Well, that couple were looking at him, furtively. 'You know', he continued, now satisfied that he had kept a stiff upper zip, 'we could just go on air and communicate with people'. The idea sprang full blown, and without a safety net, into James' mind. 'You mean', he asked Colin, 'you think we could just go ahead and do it?' 'Why not?', said Colin, now checking the outer perimeters of his nose for signs of god-knows-what.
'I've got the keys to the Campus Station at the University, no one will be around now. We could just go in, turn off the sustaining service, turn on the Studio and there we are...' I should mention, Dear Reader, that Colin was working for the Student Union at Loughborough at that time, and did indeed possess the keys which were later to open up the anarchy which was to become Radio Kick In The Head. Thus it was that, some 45 minutes later, following a two mile walk and a minor problem with a patch panel, Radio Kick In The Head made it?s first, almost memorable, but in reality totally forgettable - transmission. But - 'why the name? - I hear you ask'. 'Why not?' - I answer. Actually, it came about because Colin said that if the average bunch of listeners enjoyed the sort of stuff that was routinely fed to them, they deserved a kick in the head, - so this is exactly what they got. The exact timing of the start of the first Broadcast was important since it was necessary that no one from the University 'authorities' realised that the Studio had been invaded. Had they done so, this would immediately have resulted in a visit from a particular security man - well known to Colin - codenamed 'Captain Birds Eye' for reasons which we will keep secret for rear of retribution. 'The Captain' was a born sadist - either that or he had an exquisitely developed sense of humour so subtle that it was completely undetectable. On one occasion I was returning from an evening at a local Hostelry, suitably refreshed, and needed to 'pay a call' in one of the toilets on Campus. As I approached the Toilet block, The Captain appeared from behind some bushes brandishing a set of keys. 'I'm locking that building' he said. 'I won?t be a moment' I said, 'but I have to make a call'. 'Fine by me', said the Captain, grinning. I was astounded ! He was actually being reasonable ! 'Thanks', I said. 'No problem', he added, 'you can do what you like - but I'm locking that building'. 'But I'll be locked in', I protested. He was just that sort of person, really. A complete Bastard. On one occasion he stopped Mueslibar driving the Minibus on Campus late at night, as a back light wasn't working. 'You can't drive it like that' said the Captain, so Mueslibar locked it up and walked away from it. 'You can't leave it there' said the Captain, to which Mueslibar replied, 'Well, I can't drive it you said, and I can't leave it there, so what do you suggest I do?' Touche ! Thing was, Mueslibar was carrying a Radio Microphone at the time, so the whole scenario was being recorded back at the Radio Station. In the end, Mueslibar drove the van. So you see, whilst often amusing, an encounter with the Captain could prove troublesome. For this reason the staff at RKITH (just myself and Colin at that time) were keen to avoid confrontations, especially as Colin was already on his second 'formal warning' due to sense of humour failures beyond his control.We elected to go 'Live' exactly after the News, since this would make things as seamless as possible. Whilst Colin prepared the Studio, I busied myself in the Record Library, selecting tracks for this new 'golden age' of Radio. The News went out as usual, followed by the shock announcement from Colin : 'Hi, this is Radio Kick In The Head, your overnight alternative'. RKITH was born. I forget what the first record was, although I remember Colin playing a certain Ian Dury track littered with interesting language, which he back-announced as 'Fog In Aiden', this being a very loose translation of course. As I recall, we did about 3 hours on that very first night, the Shows being very much a mixture of the sort of music you now hear on the Album Zone, which of course was never played on the Station during what they called the 'normal' Programming. There was of course inpromptu send-ups of other Presenters, and completely made-up problems tackled by the Agony Uncle for RKITH, one Mr. Churchill. It was just a laugh as far as we were concerned, nothing more, nothing less. It was not until some time later that the Programme Controller of the Campus Station told us he had 'heard a tape of the Show'. Of course, we expected instant dismissal. Instead he asked us if we would consider making this a regular feature. About 20 Programmes were produced in total, one of which was sent - without our knowledge I might add - to a National competition organised by Radio 1. We won first prize. And I'm not joking. This probably says more about the other entries than it does about our own efforts.
The Shows gradually evolved to contain many interesting features, such as 'The Astroline', a series of Horoscopes for signs such as 'Giblet', 'Trout', and 'Herpes'. There were Vox-pop interviews, off the cuff, with people from Citizens Band Radio - at that time something of an unknown quantity here in the UK, and a series of random phone calls to public Telephone boxes around the town - Yes - people did answer the ringing tones as they walked past, and when they did, we would ask them their advice and opinions on a wide range of topics such as Sex, the purchase of 'the ideal Car', or what the weather was like where they were. Anything, really. One day, we decided to do an outside Broadcast, and thought the roof of the Radio Station would be an ideal location for this major event, and interviewed passers by below before throwing a bucket of cold water on them - 'Live' on air of course. Spoof adverts were prepared, although the best were, unfortunately, never aired. However, the product was awesome. In fact, we at the Album Zone are proud to offer it to you now. It shows you the secret to making all the money you could ever dream of ! All you need to do to receive the secret is to send us £1000. Now, we know the formula works and to prove it, if you take up our offer we will provide personal financial statements guaranteed by somebody-or-other to support our outrageous claims.Well, that's all the time I have to tell you of this infamous beginning for me in this rather strange world of alleged Radio. No doubt if you contact us via Russ Feld - our PR Man here at AZ - he can arrange to send you copies of highlights (?) From the Radio kick In The Head Programmes, either on Cassette, Minidisc, or Compact Disc - for a small fee of course - we're not bloody made of money you know. Remember, our Broadcasts rely on your support, and our support relies on you supporting us, blah blah blah.Until next time this is James Barclay saying, 'Christ ! - I'm glad that's over, and keep in touch, because together you know we can all make it happen. Whatever 'IT' is, of course....'