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Ode to a small lump of a Radio that, much like Ric Ocasek's best friend's girl, used to be mine.


When I was little, (My father was the greatest samurai in the empire) I felt fortunate and lucky enough to have this. I didn't really play with other kids and I wasn't allowed outside very much because of the area in which we lived, so this was my love. It was my one true friend. It was my only joy. (It may well have been why I enjoy gadgets/music so very much still). Mostly, I used it to record skits and radio announcements of varying degrees of success. (I still have some of these lying around somewhere and I sound very very tiny.)

I lugged this about for years, until, at about age 6 or 7, I decided it was time to beg and beg for a "Big Boy Radio". I wasn't picky, just something that was not made out of molded plastic and had more than just a mono speaker in the back. My father has always been a stickler for research before he buys anything. I remember him poring over Consumer Reports in an effort to find just the right one that would give him bang for his buck (which is understandable as the latter was fairly limited). Finally, one Xmas, I got it.

It wasn't a big shoulder boombox circa Breakin 2: Electric Boogaloo. It was a thin silver box with 2 low-power speakers and, best of all, it had 2 little built-in microphones on either side that could be recorded to tape. It was a cheap thing even by standards of the time, but I loved it to pieces. There was also a radio.

The confounding thing about the two little mics in the corner was something I didn't figure out until I understood the concept of stereo. The mics were placed on the front face at the extreme upper corners and they looked like two little vertical slits (heh). When you spoke into the left one, the recorded sound only came out of the left speaker, and verse vica. The problem was that if you stood back and recorded your voice like you were supposed to, the sound wasn't very loud and getting it just right was a pain.

Actual, real microphones were things of power and glory to me. They were so far out of my reach that they were mythical. There was no difference between the black squat things and Thor's powerful hammer. So, I dealt with what I had. When I moved and found Friend Tim, we used to sit on opposite ends of the box to record out skits, and even now, on some of those old tapes you can still hear me out of one speaker and Friend Tim out of the other.

The thing I remember most, though, is the radio. I would lay there at night with the radio just above my bed slowly moving the knob back and forth to seek out a station. I would usually settle on one of two things. Either KMOX, our local "Old People" talk radio AM station. I did so because the resonant voices at night and the airy distant transmission made me feel nostalgic and cozy, like sitting around a hearth in winter. Like bundled blankets and hot cocoa. Like a mother's hug.

I don't know how it's possible for a 10 year old to feel nostalgic. Maybe it comes from hearing tales of other times and feeling vaguely like I was born at the wrong time. It's possible. Everything is jarring regardless.

The other, more consistent, night time ritual required more attention. I would sometimes lay there with my arm stretched above my head to where the tuning knob was as I drifted through the frequencies. I was searching the static. I was convinced there was a station of which no one else knew. It would be a faint signal, but it would have someone speaking just for me, and it would play things that I liked to hear. It would be my own personal secret.

I didn't really know what Pirate Radio was, but this was my general idea about it. It was exciting, the constant searching the waves and catching little bits of signal from far out.

Now, I'm older. I've lost something of that searching nature. The Internet provides instantaneous and (usually) correct answers to a lot of those niggling things. I no longer believe there's an underworld cache onto which I will someday, stumble. I suspect I will never get that feeling back.

What I am saying, little radio, is thank you. I miss you. I'm sorry.

-Q

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AudioDrome | 25 comments (25 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
video killed the internet radio star ? by sasquatchan (4.00 / 2) #1 Thu Oct 26, 2006 at 06:10:28 AM EST
you nostalgic boy..

I know by MisterQueue (4.00 / 2) #4 Thu Oct 26, 2006 at 06:34:02 AM EST
apparently I've lost the one thing, but not the other.

I used to want to work in radio, even thought about opening up an internet radio.. thing.. maybe some sort of casting from a pod. But who knows... who knows...

Nostalgia will kill me someday, I'm certain of this.

-Q
--------------
It shone, pale as bone,
As I stood there alone.

[ Parent ]
Strange radio programs by Breaker (4.00 / 2) #2 Thu Oct 26, 2006 at 06:11:22 AM EST
45,142,6539,9827436,32777,1263...


When I was a lad, by blixco (4.00 / 3) #6 Thu Oct 26, 2006 at 06:35:44 AM EST
I had use of my father's Sears Brand "all band" radio that could tune in everything from SW1 to air traffic, including cops and ambulances.

I spent most of my time digging around in the shortwave bands.

The first time I heard a numbers station, I had nightmares.  It freaked me out that bad.  Still freaks me out.
---------------------------------
Taken out of context I must seem so strange - Ani DiFranco

[ Parent ]
Seventy two by Breaker (4.00 / 1) #18 Thu Oct 26, 2006 at 02:08:13 PM EST
Fifty six, ninety three, one thousand four hundred and sixty five...


[ Parent ]
Sorry for that. by Breaker (4.00 / 1) #20 Thu Oct 26, 2006 at 02:13:29 PM EST
Cheap humour


[ Parent ]
It's OK by blixco (4.00 / 2) #21 Thu Oct 26, 2006 at 02:20:38 PM EST
as long as you don't start doing it in a mechanical female voice with a slight spanish accent....
---------------------------------
Taken out of context I must seem so strange - Ani DiFranco
[ Parent ]
Breaker Break 1-9 by MisterQueue (2.00 / 0) #7 Thu Oct 26, 2006 at 06:36:03 AM EST
2X2L calling CQ

In the pipe 5x5.

-Q
--------------
It shone, pale as bone,
As I stood there alone.

[ Parent ]
Breaker, Breaker One Niner. by Breaker (4.00 / 2) #19 Thu Oct 26, 2006 at 02:11:08 PM EST
ONE NINER!

ONE NINER!

Readme?

README?

OK, this is a seven-400, hear me?

OK, this is a seven-401, hear me?

OK, this is a seven-402, hear me?

HEAR ME???

I hear the 15-45's banging my door, and there's 45-15's on their way.

OH NO: THE 4155's!


[ Parent ]
That's an awesome story, dude by theantix (4.00 / 2) #3 Thu Oct 26, 2006 at 06:16:36 AM EST
Strangely coherent, too.  I even voted this to the front page, even though you've stopped looking for the radio signal I've been broadcasting to you for decades.
____________________________________
I'm sorry, but your facts disagree with my opinion.
Yeah.. by MisterQueue (4.00 / 1) #5 Thu Oct 26, 2006 at 06:35:12 AM EST
I should've put in the intro "Even Tix can understand this one!"

Thanks for the V2FP and whatnot.. I've never had anything there.. if something of mine does go there, I suspect this means that HuSi really IS broing.

-Q
--------------
It shone, pale as bone,
As I stood there alone.

[ Parent ]
you are boring by moonvine (4.00 / 1) #14 Thu Oct 26, 2006 at 10:10:02 AM EST
only when you are so self deprecating. but even then, not boring ; )

[ Parent ]
Awww man.. then I'm always boring. by MisterQueue (2.00 / 0) #16 Thu Oct 26, 2006 at 10:28:05 AM EST

-Q
--------------
It shone, pale as bone,
As I stood there alone.

[ Parent ]
You have the gift... by superdiva (4.00 / 3) #8 Thu Oct 26, 2006 at 06:51:13 AM EST
I still have the little hodgepodge of vocal recordings you made some years ago mixed with Asian Dub Foundation and some other music you kindly provided for me, and it is just like "Q-Radio" whenever I listen to the recordings in my car once in a blue moom.  Maybe you were meant to be the signal, not the receiver. 

Shit, I sound like Morpheus.

_________________________________________________
Psych-E.org

Yeah.. by MisterQueue (4.00 / 1) #10 Thu Oct 26, 2006 at 07:56:37 AM EST
that was supposed to be the plan. It never worked out that way though.

Regardless I doubt the demand for such a thing is very large anyway. No one wants to hear ranting interspersed with Ratatat for example...

-Q
--------------
It shone, pale as bone,
As I stood there alone.

[ Parent ]
I do. by mrgoat (4.00 / 1) #12 Thu Oct 26, 2006 at 09:35:16 AM EST
raises hand

--top hat--
[ Parent ]
You don't count by MisterQueue (4.00 / 3) #13 Thu Oct 26, 2006 at 09:39:36 AM EST
You're me after all...

-Q
--------------
It shone, pale as bone,
As I stood there alone.

[ Parent ]
Less talking. by mrgoat (4.00 / 1) #22 Fri Oct 27, 2006 at 05:31:24 AM EST
More ratatat ranting.

Wait, that is a form of talking. Carry on!

--top hat--

[ Parent ]
sigh.. fine by MisterQueue (4.00 / 2) #23 Fri Oct 27, 2006 at 05:45:44 AM EST
working on it... link later this weekend maybe.

-Q
--------------
It shone, pale as bone,
As I stood there alone.

[ Parent ]
Right On my brother! by Bob Abooey (4.00 / 2) #9 Thu Oct 26, 2006 at 07:01:22 AM EST
I had one of those radio shack 39 in one electronic kits (my Dad was never around so he used to try to compensate by giving my cool toys), and one of the things you could make with it was this SOLAR powered AM radio. No shit. By plugging the right wires into the right holes and thereby connecting up the right cathodes with the proper diodes you could end up with a fully1 functional AM radio. Sadly, it would only pickup one station, the local Smallville 1490 station, which was the worst station on the planet as they pretty much gave the local farm report 24/7.

Still, it was the shit and I used to take solace in the fact that if the Reds dropped the bomb on us (which they were always just on the verge of doing) I would be self-sufficient with regards to listening to AM radio, provided I was about 15 miles away from a station anyways.

[1] - Relatively speaking

Warmest regards,
--Your best pal Bob

Well solace is a good thing by MisterQueue (4.00 / 2) #11 Thu Oct 26, 2006 at 07:59:12 AM EST
and you'd always know the price of corn, just when you needed it.

-Q
--------------
It shone, pale as bone,
As I stood there alone.

[ Parent ]
We could have been friends. by moonvine (4.00 / 2) #15 Thu Oct 26, 2006 at 10:15:10 AM EST
I brought a friend to visit with my fam yesterday. Each visit brings on juicy tales of my childhood antics from my mother. But yesterday's tale was one she had not recanted. She said out of the blue that when I was little I had lots of different boyfriends that would carry their radios and play songs for me. The universe is a strange one, for you to be writing so coherently about your radio when you were a little boy. So sweet. There is no random.

Heh.. by MisterQueue (4.00 / 2) #17 Thu Oct 26, 2006 at 10:29:41 AM EST
I picture this jumbled line of boys all tailing you snakestyle slither through the streets. The mix of their melodies chirping and grinding into one general dissonance and oration, of which, the undercurrent is the true single song of desire.

A lovely image to be sure.

-Q
--------------
It shone, pale as bone,
As I stood there alone.

[ Parent ]
That's a little scary. Geek DNA or summat. by Phage (4.00 / 1) #24 Mon Oct 30, 2006 at 10:58:28 PM EST
I still have my big boys radio somewhere. A Panasonic that was extra special because it had 4 bands. I have such strong memories of listening to morse tapping away in the dark corners of night or the strange noises fading in and out of long wave.


You know what's really scary? by MisterQueue (2.00 / 0) #25 Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 12:21:30 AM EST
The idea of Geek DNA... now that is some scary stuff.

-Q
--------------
It shone, pale as bone,
As I stood there alone.

[ Parent ]
AudioDrome | 25 comments (25 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback