Sunday, 11 June 2017

My Top ∞ Radio Songs #10: Halycon Days

I miss radio. I was lucky enough to work in local radio when there were still opportunities. For creativity. For individuality. For fun. I don't know, maybe there still are some ILR stations out there that allow such things, but from where I'm sitting they all seem a pretty homogenised mass.

I was asked this weekend to record a message for one of my former colleagues, someone who worked at the station where I worked long before I got there (in 1988) and is only getting around to retiring now. 40 years in the same workplace is quite a record for anyone, and I know I was getting pretty instutionalised when I left... but I guess she must have enjoyed it. Looking back now, I only remember the good times. Those are the ones that come to the surface, anyway. If I think about it a little harder... well, I can smile about it now, but at the time it was terrible.

I realise I'm kind of dancing around talking about my time in radio. Working my way up to it. I'm not really sure why that is. Maybe I'm scared of scratching the scab off a few wounds...

Through rose-tinted glasses, I miss that job so very, very much. The friendships I made there were stronger than any others I've made in my life. The laughs were louder. We had fun... although we whinged a hell of a lot while we were having it, as in most workplaces. It was a thousand times easier than being a teacher. I'd go back in a heartbeat... if I thought it could be like it was.

This week's radio song, from the brand new British Sea Power album, seems particularly apt...

10. British Sea Power - Electrical Kittens

Kitten, this universe is electric now
You still dream about the things you've seen
You feel like you've been away
But you don't know where you've been
And we'll all hold hands as the radio plays
Say a little prayer for halcyon days
Silently submit to the radio waves
And hope that we'll be safe


  1. "I'd go back in a heartbeat... if I thought it could be like it was."

    This post literally brought a few tears to my eyes, Rol. You were speaking for me too, as I feel exactly the same about the a job that I had in the '80s. I still miss it very much and nothing afterwards could even come close.

    1. It seems to be a common feeling, Marie. The workplace was generally a much better place 30 years ago, by all accounts.

  2. I really look forward to reading more... whenever you're ready... working your way up to it is fine by me.
    I think all the jobs I've ever had have been such a mixture of good and not-so-good that there's actually none I'd want to go back to now. Somehow they all just fitted their time and place in their life, and I'm very happy working for myself now, so I'm pretty lucky at the moment. That said, I really do miss the camaraderie of working with other people (face-to-face, rather than just across email as I do now) and I don't think it's too healthy, to be honest.

    Always good to hear some BSP - was surprised to catch them at the end of 'Sunday Brunch' on TV yesterday!

    1. Yes, my significant other works at home now after years in an office and she would agree with you. I, on the other hand, being an antisocial git, would consider that my dream job. If only we could swap jobs!

      It's bizarre where bands turn up on TV in the post-TOTP days.

  3. It's not just the world of radio Rol, I too would go back to the job I had in the '80s in a heartbeat, but it just doesn't exist any more. You were lucky to have worked in such a wonderful industry at such a great time but as you say, all homogenised now.

    1. Yeah, I guess we all should count our blessings. (Best of luck!)

  4. "Through rose-tinted glasses, I miss that job so very, very much. The friendships I made there were stronger than any others I've made in my life. The laughs were louder. We had fun... although we whinged a hell of a lot while we were having it, as in most workplaces."

    I'm sort of still in the same field of activity as I was back in the 80s, albeit I've moved around a bit and am further up the greasy pole somewhat. I don't think so much that work/jobs were better back then....i think it was more to do with the fact we were all younger and more carefree, much more able to have fun in the workplace as we had few, if any, responsibilities.

    Great song from an album that is growing on me as I wasn't too impressed on the first few listens

  5. Just saw JC's comment and although I would love to agree that work/jobs weren't better back in the day and that it was just that we were younger and carefree, I just can't. Someone I know pointed out that when Personnel Departments became Human Resources Depts that's when it all started to change - Also the median age of worker in the public sector has increased by about a generation over the length of my tenure and yes, partly my fault, as women stopped leaving after having children. Problem is as people leave/retire posts are deleted and the very few youngsters we do have look totally miserable. As for the paperless, hot-desking office, we might as well have a chip fitted and become a full blown robot - At least I wouldn't remember how we used to get the work done but also seemed to have great relationships with our colleagues and a modicum of fun as well. Sorry Rol - had a bit of a rant there but I promise to listen to more of BSP as it's all been a bit of an education for me visiting your fine blog.

    1. I think there's something in what JC says in that being younger does make a difference. I look at my younger work colleagues now and their office camaraderie and attitude to the job reminds me of how we were way back then.

      The difference is, the job they're doing is ten times harder, for worse pay, and with less chance of betterment. But they don't know any different. They don't know a world where companies (even colleges) are selfless, soulless entities with no regard for their employees, with everything coming down to the bottom line: profit.

      I think you put your finger on the turning point though, Alyson: when Personnel became H.R. I despise the term "human resources". It's like something out of a terrible dystopian sci fi movie. But it explains everything you need to know about the modern day workplace... and the modern world in general.


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