Thursday, 25 March 2021

Radio Songs #70: Side Door

This photo was taken long before I worked at the station, but that side door is very familiar to me. The little kiosk outside was run by a sweet but grumpy guy called Keith. You'd be grumpy if you sat in a tiny box all day long selling sweets and fags and the occasional top shelf magazine*, only locking up for a few minutes if you had to nip into the main building to use the lavvy.

(*A colleague once persuaded the office junior that "Razzle" was the name of a chocolate bar from the 70s, and sent them out to ask Keith if he still stocked them. "They're having you on, pal," was Keith's reply. You'd been sent to HR for that kind of thing these days.)

Through that door, you either went down some steps into the dingy old reception, the presentation offices, and right in the bowels, the studios... or up a flight to the sales office, where I spent many of my latter years writing radio ads.

The name of the station is visible in the photo, and that's the name it had when I first worked there, though they changed it after a couple of years to something trendy, focus-grouped and pointless.

I spent a lot of time going in and out of that door. If I was first in the building, or (more often) last out, I'd have to set the burglar alarm which was just down the steps on the left. I wasn't even out of my teens, but I often had that responsibility given to me.

The building has long since been gutted and turned into trendy flats, but if I could go back now...


  1. Love your radio memories as they kind of also reflect our own memories of a much simpler and cosier way of working.

    I’m finding myself listening to less and less radio nowadays as telly has kind of become king (in our house anyway). The lyrics to the song do sum up how it used to feel for us though.

    Glad you’ve returned to these stories.

  2. I was half expecting Ian Dury with Razzle in my Pocket to feature!

  3. I've had a love affair with radio all my life. Even now I listen to the wireless far more than I watch TV; for a number of years I ditched the telly altogether and didn't miss it once.
    John Peel (R1), Humphrey Lyttelton (R2), Digby Fairweather (R3), Brian Redhead (R4), John Shaw (R Trent) and many, many others have kept me company over the years and the tradition continues today: without James O'Brien on LBC, Ian McMillan on Radio 3's The Verb or The Archers or John Creedon on RTE1 or Pete Paphides on Soho Radio I'd be lost. I still take a radio wherver in the world I'm visiting and always tune in to whatever's local.
    Radio, it's a sound sensation. Radio, it's sweeping 'cross the nation.

    1. Unfortunately, John, the radio (particularly nowadays) is also in the hands of such a lot of fools, trying to anaesthetize the way that we feel.

    2. Maybe you're right; we definitely need more stations like the one in Comfort and Joy or the Michael Medwin led 'Radio West' in Shoestring!
      Internet radio has been a real boon for me, as you can imagine.
      Radio Garden is brilliant. So many stations so little time. And podcasts of course.
      I must let you hear the radio show Phill Jupitus did from our house in 2005 when he was on 6 Music. We got to pick the music all morning...


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