Anthem for doomed youth

A doomed show for the 11th November, anyway. I left my box of essential CDs on the kitchen table when  I drove in to the studio. My Kid Creole signature tune, the Rachmnainov for the not-very-sad story about the uselessness of utilities in East Anglia, the Gotan Project I was once addicted to and was going to play In Memoriam.

The show before over-ran so I had to cut across it and go straight into the telephone interview. Where the problems started. The deck said the ph9ne was recording. It wasn’t. The listeners were treated, if that’s the word, to me talking to nobody, as if I’d gone nuts.

Then a total sound-out, dead air, when I slide the wrong thing on the mixing deck. I think. I was panicking by now, trying to play something off Soundcloud that just wouldn’t play, the same way it wouldn’t when I played it at home after the show.

Read out Anthem for Doomed Youth, the Wilfrid Owen poem as it was Rememberance Day and kept calling it Memorial Day as if I was American. I hate doing that. Remembered the story about the American artillery battery that kept firing after 11 o’clock on 11th November 1918, so they could bravely say they fired the last shots of the war. Got stuck on the pronunciation of ‘orisons.’ I know why he had to use the word (to rhyme with ‘guns’) but it’s a word nobody ever uses now; all it does is distract from the poem.

Anthem for doomed middle-aged men

Nothing else could go wrong, right? Wrong. Phone call from the studio guest, fifteen minutes into the show. They’re too busy to come and publicise the thing they were doing that depends on people coming to it. Oh ok, I understand how that could work. Second time they’ve done that.

“I don’t want to be on the radio” is a really handy phrase. Not for me, but guests. I had a request for a song, Robbie Williams’s Feel. Nice song. Sad, but you can hear how he got rich. Snag was I know the person who requested it. I know she hates people knowing anything about her. Read the name out like a normal request? Decided not to in the end.

It’s a juggling act, this show. I was trying not to slip off the wire any more than I had.


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