Friday, 20 April 2018

Radio Songs #34: What Are You Going To Do With Your Life? Part II

By the end of my first year as a full time (rather than weekends only) employee at the radio station - latterly a paid one! - I reached something of a turning point in my "career". For one thing, I think I was starting to realise that a full-time jocking role might well be out of my reach... or might not be as desirable as it had first seemed... much as I still enjoyed co-presenting the Saturday morning show.

That show was going pretty well, actually - there was talk of paying me for that too! I was also picking up a fair bit of weekend work as a T.O. / tech-op / technical operator. Sometimes even working on the Saturday afternoon Sport show... even though I had no interest in football. There was even talk of me claiming a few hours wages for my work in the record library... although I'd happily have carried on doing that for the free CDs. All in all, I was earning a fairly decent income for a 19 year old. But like all 19 year olds, I wanted more. Not necessarily more money though... just more future.

Added to this, there was still the dream. Working in radio was a dream job... but not THE dream job. That had always been to become a writer. To tell stories for a living. And I probably wasn't going to get to do that if I stayed in radio all my life. No, it was becoming increasingly clear that if I wanted to make a serious go of it as a writer, I had to take my education a bit further. Writers were smart and erudite types. For a start, they knew what erudite meant... and I didn't have a clue. I'd gradually come round to the idea that maybe I had to go to uni after all.

But... how could I do that and keep working in radio at the same time?

Did I have to go back to working only weekends?

And what would that mean for my glorious new expendable income?

This was a good few years before the nonsense that is tuition fees, when it was still perfectly possible to join a full-time university course for FREE, as long as you had the necessary grades... and if you did so in your home town, you could keep living at home and not rack up any student debt at all.

But still... could I live (and buy more records, comics, books, videos, cinema tickets: all those youthful necessities) just from a few hours of radio work at the weekend? Could I really go back to being skint most of the time and sponging off my parents?

And then...

And then an opportunity came up which saved me... and doomed me... all at the same time.

34. Marvin Gaye & Mary Wells - The Late Show

The internet says the album Marvin recorded with Mary in 1964 wasn't promoted well at the time. Mary was the bigger star (following her Number One with My Guy), but she left Motown soon afterwards (bad advice from her husband!), leaving Marvin to hook up with Kim Weston for his next, more successful collaboration. Marvin's star continued to rise, Mary slipped into obscurity.

They sound pretty good damned together though...


  1. Midnight Caller! America's answer to Shoestring

  2. Used to quite like Midnight Caller.

  3. You are really getting good mileage out of this tale as you always leave us wanting more - I'm gripped.

    Midnight Caller coincided with the years I lived on my own and I watched it if I was in on a Saturday Night, feeling a bit sorry for myself - Needed a real life late night talk show, but it was just telly.


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