Monday 23 May 2011


I was 14 and I'd lay on my bed with my eyes and ears as close to the speakers as I could get. And I'd have the cassette ready on 'record' and 'pause', all I had to do was click pause to begin recording.

Back then it was no career path, I wasn't a blogger ranting about art or a filmmaker desperate to capture life in a jar: I was just a kid by the radio.

And within a split second of a song starting I knew if I should be recording or not. I wanted to record everything that was great. I probably taped hundreds of hours of radio.

It wasn't crystal clear digital then, the music sounded like it was from somewhere far away (literally, I had interference that sounded like aliens). But at the same time it was right there in my room.

When you lay there in the dark, at fourteen, hearing Sam Cooke for the first time, and remembering the names of every Beatles track they play; you can't help but have it shape who you are.

The music was so authentic.

I didn't know what I was doing. There was no set task, no job to win. I just recorded anything I loved. And I loved so much of it. And this was in the days when DJ's who actually decided what to play were dying out, the last few remained.

Without doubt, a good DJ is an artist. Even deciding what track follows "What's Going On", that's an art. Not many get it right.

Night after night, I was a kid who loved to hear the voices of the world. I loved music that described how I felt. And that was enough, just to be there, engaged in the night and the music beamed across invisible radio waves.

A few nights back I listened to "Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay" at 2am. And tonight it's "Vincent (Starry Starry Night)" and wow, they don't make them like this any more, they don't even try.

Music in headphones whilst heading to work is just a distraction, or an energy boost, but there's something deeper on offer. The history of music is filled with tracks that will change how you see the world. They'll make you understand yourself and the people you love better.

Radio is something else now. It doesn't mean anything. But the music lives on. Find it, listen to it, and get those cassettes ready.

Care to share?


  1. I used to do that too. Didn't we all? But, there is still some good radio out there. Radio still means heaps to me, I rarely have it on as background noise. I never listen to commercial radio, except at work where I'm forced too, so I still hear a lot of great new stuff every week. It's still shaping my life, well into my 40's.

  2. Yep..also taped stuff. Rarely listen to music radio now....and don't even own an ipod...but have tons of vinyl in the garage that is just getting dusty. I love how a song can transport you back to the past for just a few minutes...and make you smile or sad.

  3. I think its safe to say we all did this when we were younger. I used to do it when listening to pirate radio stations. I do feel that DJ's are losing there opinions on what music to play, especially on the big commercial stations and that's a shame :o(

  4. For me, the best bit of listening to the radio was about listening late at night; coming in from an evening out and not wanting to end it too soon, tuning in to radio Luxemburg. And yes, I don't know anyone who didn't tape their favourite songs - or at least half of the chart show on a sunday.