Thursday, 28 February 2019

Radio Songs #56: Barnacles

I mentioned a few weeks back how I wouldn't want to park my car on the streets outside our old radio station when I was working nights, and was always glad of the internal courtyard car park, even though it was a bit laborious getting your car in and out of there. This reminded me of another story...

On the Saturday morning show that I co-hosted in the early 90s, I worked with a couple of colleagues making short comedy sketches and skits. They spent long Friday nights voicing and mixing my silly scripts or coming up with ideas of their own, and most of the time, they weren't getting paid.

One Friday night there was a particularly bad snowfall, but we all still made it into work because we enjoyed this particular creative outlet... and also, I guess none of us had proper Friday night lives back then. Because of the snow, one of my colleagues couldn't be bothered putting his car in the courtyard - he basically drove it into a snowdrift on the street outside and left it.

A couple of hours later we glanced out of the window of the first floor sales office only to see someone sitting inside his Mini. A complete stranger. We wondered what to do: call the police? What chance they'd come out on a night like this? In the end, we decided to go confront this would-be car thief. After all, there were three of us and only one of him.

"What the hell are you doing in my car?" shouted the owner of the Mini.

"I was cold," said the guy in the car.

"So you broke into my car!?"

"I was cold," he repeated.

"I don't care how cold you are - get out of my car!" (Expletives may have been added to this sentence. But more in desperation than aggression.)

"Oh, it's all right for you guys, isn't it," the cold-handed SIWOC-er cried.

(Sitting In Without Owner's Consent?)

"Oh, it's all right for you guys... working in your fancy radio station - cushy job with a big fat salary. I'm a manual labourer, I am! I can't even afford a car to sit in on a Friday night! Look - feel my hands - they've got calluses on them. They've got barnacles!"

Eventually he got out of the car and went on his way. But only after one us had gone inside to "call the police", leaving the other two out there to "keep him talking".

The irony of all this is that to people in the outside world, a "media" job might seem cushy and well-paid. That certainly wasn't the truth back then. None of us were getting paid that night, and when we did get paid, it was on a variable hours contract with no benefits or job security.

Still, he was right about one thing: our hands were completely barnacle-free.

Here's the first song that came to mind today... worth watching the video and playing "spot the special guests". Jarvis! Jason Donovan!


  1. Since I read this, I keep hearing The Beatles' "Bungalow Bill" in my head only the song's now called "Barnacle Bill" and it's driving me daft!

  2. I got confused here as I thought it was another radio station ghost story, but no, a real life Barnacle Bill. Yes, in our town especially, the labourers have earned good money compared to us office wallahs, but on a cold driech day, a tough gig.

    And there he is - It took 2 and a half years of teasing but Jason Donovan has popped up here, courtesy of Mr Cave!

    1. No, the ghost is done with.

      I have a lot of time for Jason Donovan, actually.


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