Category: Links (Page 4 of 11)

Talk Radio – The Midnight Line

Under the cover culture lover was going to be the title to this post but I was worried about what kind of hits I might get from google.

I’m not sure quite how I came across Ian Perrys Midnight Line, I think a friend of mine was a listener, once I’d heard it I soon became hooked, an under the cover culture lover as Ian would say. Broadcast from Wolverhampton on Beacon radio and also on WABC via medium wave, I could only pick the show up when the winds were blowing in the right direction and when I really should have been getting some sleep for school the next day.

Weeknights from midnight until 2am the show would run with either topical national or local stories or else one of its regular feature formats. One of these was a roughly bi-monthly show featuring John Starkey [who sounded at the time to me to be a man in his sixties]. These we’re some of the most genuinely ‘spooky’ shows I’ve ever heard, while you could argue on some calls he was reading the persons responses on the other end of the line, more often than not he’d pluck something completely off the wall, but very specific, and be spot on. I think during just about every show there would be a hair standing up on the back of the neck moment. I see from his website that John is younger now than he sounded at the time, given this was nearly twenty years ago, and is still doing the odd radio show, I must try to catch one, a lots changed in the media since then and it would be interesting to hear how the show is received today.

The show was a true local programme, providing both a service for the local community to air gripes and complaints with local issues as well as opinion on wider national and international news and more importantly provided entertainment and a sense of community for the housebound, people working unsociable hours and for people like me, who should really have been asleep. Most of all, it was always great fun, Regular callers like Eric, the Captain, Wing Nut, Johnny Morris & Jammo the parrot would always give you something to laugh about. Ian was a very good host, managing to make hosting such a show seem effortless and being able to draw peoples opinions out of themselves in an era where people were far less ‘media savy’.

I don’t know when or why the show ended, I went away from the midlands for a few years and when I came back there was no mention of Ian Perry to be found anywhere. Since then I did read he was working for BBC Shropshire Though I’m yet to be up at 5am to listen and the show didn’t seem to be podcasted when last I checked.

Listening to a few shows again now, I used to start the tape recorder at midnight, which given the fact that most of my tapes we’re C90’s meant I always missed the last half hour, the shows are much as I remember them. One thing that stands out is just how much general opinion and society has changed in the past fifteen years, and how un self aware most of the callers we’re, it was very honest and open radio.
The other thing that struck me is how the callers who we’re ‘characters’ on the show, we’re genuine characters, they weren’t frustrated performers phoning up with made up personas(Well…), which unfortunately seems to have become the norm on most modern talk radio shows.

It was everything that can be good about radio, it was intimate, gimmick free and offered a genuine insight into other peoples lives. Listening to the Christmas Grotto show with a friend on a road trip a while back we still we’re reduced to tears of laughter.
Its a shame that there is so little ‘local’ radio today, let alone so little good talk based radio. Heres a couple of links to some archived shows;

‘Free For All’
‘Commision for Racial Equality’
‘John Starky’

Tony’s maitreya never did show up mind.

2015 update!

Okay, so megaupload is long dead, legal files or not. Someone on the Facebook Group mentioned YouTube so… Playlist

So there are three tomatoes walking down the street…

The Chapel at Butlins Minehead on a cold December day
surprisingly I have actually completed a couple of pieces of artwork in the past couple of weeks. Sadly the photos I took didn’t come out too well so I’ll have to take them again.

Until then I’ll just upload a couple of pics from the second fish-eye film I took, here, here and here. Came out okay, a little dark at times.

I also had a go at constructing my own matchbox pinhole camera from various items found around the home, and a couple of things from poundland, with the very excellent guide on Sadly though when I picked up the photos I only received a roll of developed film back and no printed images. Annoyingly, it was my own fault, I wasn’t winding on the film enough and most of the photos are overlapped. I remember when I was younger photo labs used to just process films like that, giving people ‘spooky’ photos to send in to the ghost section of ‘Take-a-Break’. But apparently its all done by computer now and the computer can’t cope with out gaps in the film. Hooray for progress.

So I’ll have another go at that. Meanwhile my Tomatos are growing well…
Week 1
Grow in the bag tomatos, week one.
Week 2
Grow in the bag tomatos, week two.
Week 3
Grow in the bag tomatos, week three.
Week 4
Grow in the bag tomatos, week four.
I’m starting to think that dispite how the packet reads I am going to have to re-pot them as this just isn’t going to work…

Comming up…

a couple of musical events I’m looking forward to…

This years Screamin’ Festival later in the month. Seems to be costing a fair bit more this year, mostly down to the Euro exchange rate I guess…

2009 Screamin Festival Poster

Followed by the Supersonic Festival from Capsule in July, 24th, 25th and 26th;

2009 Supersonic Festival Poster

Really must sort out some decent accomodation for that this year…

Read the signs…

I got quite excited last week* when I saw a poster on a lamppost. This wasn’t because I’ve been wanting to find out what the ‘thebestof…‘ is in my town, nor was I looking to Earn 20k a year working from home or even because its Adam Schrodenrocks birthday [He’s started to look a tad washed out. Mind, he’s been ’21 Today’ for over a week now, I guess that many 21st Birthdays would wear anyone out] anyway, Happy birthday Ad.

No, the reason was seeing this ‘fly-sign’ for the Band ‘High Voltage’ who we’re playing locally. Unfortunately when I got back to the office and did some googling I found out the band I was thinking of was Heavy Load.
Well, its all electrical to me…

I saw the Heavy Load film a couple of weeks ago as a part of the occasionally excellent BBC Storyville series of documentaries. I only mention it here as I notice its one of the films playing at the Borderlines Film Festival in the Hereford region. I’m pretty sure its on some kind of limited general release too.

I don’t actually know if its the same film as the Storyville doc or a new one entirely, it has a running time of about half hour longer than I remember, but then we were watching post pub, so my judgment of time and space may have been corrupted a little. The documentary I saw was very enjoyable and uplifting, its a hard film to sum up, for me clearly as I’ve been meaning to for two weeks, its basically a ‘typical’ band documentary about a very untypical band who encounter all the typical stages of a band[?]. Very enjoyable, hearwarming and funny. I’d highly recommend it. Nice to see Wreckless Eric in there too.
I may edit this later as that doesn’t really cover everything but at least it gets those links out there…

More details on the band and film can be found at the Heavy Load website.

*actually about three weeks ago which is the time its taken me to get around to finishing this post.

Donald E. Westlake RIP

i was very sad to read about the passing of Donald E Westlake over the Christmas period. I only came across the news today on a blog whilst looking for a link to the Secret Agent X-9 radio show I was listening to.

I’m not sure what was the first book I read by Donald Westlake, it was maybe Kahawa, a comedic tale of mercenaries, coffee smuggling and Idi Amin or possibly it was The Mercenaries a gangster tale set in 1970’s New York. Which ever it was, it got me started at the local libraries reading whatever other books they had [this was before the Internet and such things]. I guess then I stumbled on to the Richard Stark alias and started reading the Parker books. I still remember excitedly finding a copy of The Split In Toxteth library and wondering if my card was okay for it. It was, and the book was great. Even when I was tracking them down and reading them in the early 90’s they still were streets ahead of anything else in the crime genre some 30 years after publication.

The later novels from the original 16 Parker stories we’re pretty scarce, still are in fact. Various publishers have started to reprint the series but all seem to have stopped short of the last couple of books. I only found a copy of the 15th book myself a couple of years back in a local second hand book shop. It was priced so low compared to what I’ve seen copies sell for on the Internet that I bought it and about four other books just to alleviate any guilt.
Parker came back in the late nineties after a twenty year absence, It was a little odd as he would have to be about 65 by now and perhaps a little old for throwing people down stairs and kicking windshields out of crashed cars. But in much the same style as Robert B. Parkers Spenser, Parkers aging was glossed over. It was certainly good to have him back and whilst some of the ‘poetry’ of the original era was gone the stories were enjoyable all the same.

Theres a site online that lists the first lines of all the Parker novels, First Lines to Richard Stark’s Parker Books, these probably give the most accurate idea of what they and the character are all about. I think these are my favorite three…

From The Hunter (1962)

When a fresh-faced guy in a Chevy offered him a lift, Parker told him to go to hell.

The Rare Coin Score (1967)

Parker spent two weeks on the white sand beach at Biloxi, and on a white sandy bitch named Belle, but he was restless, and one day without thinking about it he checked out and sent a forwarding address to Handy McKay and moved on to New Orleans.

Butcher’s Moon (1974)

Running toward the light, Parker fired twice over his left shoulder, not caring whether he hit anything or not.

Oh, AND one more for good luck

Firebreak (2001)

When the phone rang, Parker was in the garage, killing a man.

Parker is usually described as ruthless, brutal and unflinching. One thing the synopses often leave out is the humor thats often found in the books, often arising from Parkers simple frustration at things that get in the way of what he wants to do, or the people he as to work with. Hes disgusted at the map supplied to him by ‘The Outfit’ as it has features wavy lines in the sea and illustrations of mountain with snow on the top… “He’d asked for a map and they’d given him a souvenir.”

Westlake wrote many many other novels, under quite a few different names. The ‘Sam Holt’ series about a successful TV actor who has become so well known as the TV detective he once played that he cant get any other work, Published as Sam Holt writing about Sam Holt, luckily the occasional murder turns up to keep him busy. There was also the Tucker Coe stories, a short series about a man driven to the edge of his own sanity and trying to hold on in whatever way he can, much bleaker than anything in any of the Parker books. He also wrote the very funny Dortmunder books, under his own name, about pessimistic New York Burglar John Archibald Dortmunder, apparently he was spawned from a Parker novel that became too comedic.

Along with these there are probably a hundred or so other novels, and of all the ones I’ve read I can’t say I’ve read a bad one.

I ordered the latest Parker novel, Dirty Money, last friday, with a Christmas book token. I didn’t realise at the time that I was buying what was likely to be the last Parker Novel. I’m sorry I wont get to read too many more new Donald westlake novels but I’m sure I’ll be reading the ones I’ve read again in the future.

Visit the Donald E Westlake website, a surprisingly good site for someone who ‘resisted’ computers and wrote all his books on a typewriter, also there is the New York Times obituary, and some more detail on the Parker books and films here.

i was reading a blog today about Swiss Toni’s Shuffleathon. I must make an effort to get involved next year, and if I write this here it will probably remind me.

Any excuse to force my obscure musical collection on new ears. My only concern would be having to be polite should I be the recipient of a mix featuring Manic Street Preachers and Oasis, or more likely worrying that I might be offending someone who’d gone to the effort to send me a CD. I’m sure it would be a character building experience and exercises in diplomacy can be no bad thing… Bring it on.

Page 4 of 11

All images and artwork copyright ©1998 - 2018 chris hathway, illustrator& Hathway/Creative