Current Essays

Memoir On:2006-08-31 04:08:35

Would you credit it? After I've been doing stuff for these buggers over the last twenty-one years they are still too cheap to spring for a five minute phone call down to Plano. There I was all ready at a moments notice to hurl myself onto the telephone, but my self-sacrificial offer went unheeded and the poor sod celebrated his ninetieth year on the Radio effectively alone in his mean little oubliette, possibly sobbing to boot.

In the event Spontin (as we who get email from him like to refer to him) rather grudgingly said that if I recorded some WXXine memoirs he would air them.

Of course he said that knowing full well that the chances are good that most of what has passed between us, being of a terrifying and traumatic nature, will have sunk into a blessed oblivion: though, hang on a mo ... a very few things ARE resurfacing from my repressed memory syndrome (or perhaps are merely joining my false memory syndrome--your guess is as good as mine at this stage of the game) ...

I started doing these things for Spontin following Rochester’s Sesquicentenary (which they, in their charming inability to recognise the parts of speech, invariably called a SesquicentennIAL). They had a competition for a Rochester song, and several of us got together and adapted a mediaeval song praising Winchester (count the syllables); we, completely missing the point of the exercise, damped down the praise element to such an extent that we came in last. However to go with our economic encomium I wrote a clear and scholarly proof that Rochester was actually not 150 years old, but should instead be celebrating its Millennium (which they would no doubt, in their charming way, have called a MillenniAL) and Ann (who had met him through the Hochstein) submitted it to Spontin plus some other writings. It says something about the man that he immediately put it on the air, and it says even more about him that he found this erudite and carefully crafted work of serious science funny and that he has broadcast my essays ever since, and all in this mistaken belief that I was a humourist trying to be amusing, rather than seeing the reality that I was a serious philosopher, philologist, physicist and moralist striving for the betterment of mankind.
And now my remembrance having stirred, the horror awakens... you see I used to write, record and air my whatsits all in one day for the immediacy (coupled uneasily with the procrastination) of the thing. Thus I never had a backup in the event of, say, a rare illness (I mean occasional illness). So when this rare event (in the event a bad cold) first happened Spont here announced, on air, that I couldn’t appear that day because I had been mugged ! And I was in hospital!! A friend actually called to see where he should send flowers.

Then there was the begathon (OK pledge drive) when a friend (I think it might have been the same one with the muggless flowers) proposed me as an addition to the list of pet animals that listeners could vote for with their pledges--I think I came in second to dogs!

Then in another promotion, this one done as an OB from the downtown mall, with Spontin’s prompting I achieved the possibly unique distinction of juggling three bean bags live on air! They didn’t, however, make much noise, so that was perhaps more of a waste of time than one might have hoped.

Oh! And here’s a memory that actually might be pleasant: I used to be on of a Wednesday back in the eighties and in 1987 April the First fell on that day and someone (I have no memory who) switched the feeds of the FM and the AM stations. Oh how we laughed as we answered the many phone calls of people waking up to the news instead of Simon (or cried as we consoled those who woke to Simon instead of the news). Mostly we could hear the penny drop in their voices as they remembered the date, but it was interesting to note how much more hurt and distraught and, indeed, threatening the news-expecting listeners were.

Ahh! But now it’s all gone, and my mind is blessedly empty.

Perhaps for his hundredth anniversary show (which they’ll surely, in their charming way, call an anniversiAL) they’ll come up with the bloody money for a phone call

Cheerio for now
Richard Howland-Bolton


Disclaimer (I claim dis)

The whole premise of this essay is a downright lie (or as I prefer to think of it 'a contrafactum'). I really was on Simon's 30th anniversary show (though that one wasn't actually on the 30th anniversary, but that's a different matter and you need to take up the thorny subject of time keeping with him directly). However I was brought up in Britain just after the War when we had to live by the principle 'waste not want not'. I wrote this as a backup just in case we couldn't do anything more interactive and since I spent absolute minutes writing it, minutes that I'll never see again, it seemed such a pity to waste it, so I lied so we wouldn't want it.

Well either that or I was too lazy to write another one for this week.

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