Friday, 12 January 2018

Radio Songs #24: It's A Shame About Rol

It's been so long since I did one of these, a little recap is probably needed...

"Previously on My Life In Radio..."

After working (unpaid) Saturday mornings at the radio station while I did my A Levels, rather than go off to university... which would have been the sensible thing to do... I left school to go and work at the radio station full time (still unpaid). Ah, the folly of youth...

What did the job involve?

What didn't it involve?

I'd help the jocks out. Answer the phones (still in another studio from the presenter!) Drive the odd "music mix". Sort and pile up the ad carts. (Maybe erase them every now and then. That was fun.) Venture up into the sales department and get the piss taken out of me by the "creatives" while the sales people talked utter shit. (Of all those, especially the latter, much more later.) But the bit of my new job I enjoyed the most was in the record library. OF COURSE!

At that time, the station's record library was run by a slightly dizzy blonde who knew nothing about music and used to interview the odd band that strayed into the station lost every now and then (or if their tour bus had broken down) for a weekly magazine show in which her first question was always: "So how did you get your name?"

"Londonbeat... how did you get your name?"

"Sonia... how did you get your name?"

"DNA... how did you get your name? And why isn't Suzanne Vega with you?"

Yes, this was 1990. The absolute nadir of popular music. I defy you to name a worse year for chart pop. (I don't count Suzanne Vega in that. She's always been brilliant.) This was the stuff they were playing on the radio. This was the stuff WE were playing on the radio. And anything half good... anything alternative... anything remotely edgy...

It went in The Chuck-Out Box.

Yes, you heard it right. The Chuck-Out Box. (Insert short excerpt from the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah here.)

So what if I wasn't getting paid for my new job in the record library? I now had direct, first-come, first-served access to all the records our "head librarian" had never heard of. I've often thought of running a feature here of artists I discovered through The Chuck Out Box: many of them would go on to become lifelong favourites.


Aimee Mann.

The Lemonheads.

That'll do for now. Here's one straight out of The Chuck Out Box...

#24: The Lemonheads - It's A Shame About Ray

I clearly remember the first time I listened to this album, thinking it was pretty edgy and alternative. Listen to much of it now and it has a laid-back country vibe I obviously responded to at the time...but just didn't recognise.

Oh, and Jellyfish too. Let's not forget Jellyfish.


  1. Looking forward to more gems from the chuck-out box

  2. We had a box like that at the newspaper I worked at in ‘90s, but it never had anything remotely good. Your finds look terrific. I would take anything by those artists.

  3. Good to see this story continuing - Sounds as if it was still exactly where you wanted to be (especially with the chuck-out box at hand) so will be interesting to read the next instalment when it comes along.

  4. ditto to all the sentiments expressed above.


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