At several moments during the last month and always when listening to either radio 4, local radio or even the boats own VHF i have felt a bit like this kid.
Lets begin with ‘Doris’ and radio 4 : i thought that ‘doris’ was jackspeak for a Royal Navy nurse and discovered recently that her male counterpart would be ‘boris’ so in RN-speak i am inadvertently ‘boris’ , anyway….doris. Doris in the blog context was one of 2 named storms that had me sheltering at Dandy hole during my first attempt to get the voyage started and with 8’s and 9’s blowing overhead of course it didn’t happen as i spent 48 hours doing very little except some odd jobs aboard the boat and listening out for the shipping forecast as i couldn’t get any signal from the MSI transmitter on Rame head. My first fail was in anticipating the 4 shipping forecasts as they used to be and at the times they were always sent out at so of course i missed them because R4 have thoroughly messed the times around so that they are now completely illogical and then i failed again because even when i did find radio 4 i completely misread that most of them aren’t even on FM most of the time and only on long wave and no i don’t have a LW receiver on the boat.
So i spent far too much time listening to the drivel on radio 4 and waiting pointlessly for shipping forecasts that were never going to be announced either at the times i was there or not a channel that i could monitor. What i did accidentally listen to was the most pointless garbage that i have ever heard on a radio channel since the awful days of the early morning radio disk-jockeys and their inane non-humour. What ever happened to the serious ballast that R4 used to produce : serious current affairs and world news, the full version of the shipping forecast and even the weirdly compelling ‘sailing-by’…last heard by me half asleep inside the spinnaker turtle bag when roll-broaching our way back from the Fastnet rock. Instead of serious news and proper radio journalism what i heard was an un-challenged left-leaning bias and feminist cant…so far in that direction that it hadn’t just fallen over in embarassment but disappeared up its own flabby a**e. The so-called humour and comedy was anything but funny, the so-called ‘drama’ nothing like….well let me give an example : there was this one ‘drama’ i listenned to right through, there were 4 main characters, 3 of course were nauseatingly middle class wannabees trying to act as working class lasses running a cafe and the 4th was allgedly an eastern european male chef and jeezus what a sham he played. Bad accent like ‘Manuel’ from fawlty towers days but with a pseudo east european accent but it was the arguments that got to me : you see when i hear real people having set-to’s there are a lot of words that end in ‘off’ several that finish with ‘ard’ , ‘unt’ or even ‘uck’. Ok so we hear a lot of that and its not radio 4 nice but noone that i know of have earnest polite arguments where everyone of course has to express their ‘feelings’ in a touchy-feely and totally 3rd wave feminist way !.
Out at sea and once within the range of the Fowey MSI transmitter and i felt that normality had been resumed : it wasn’t the calm and crisp tones of the lovely shipping forecast presenter/ess but instead a rather sweet and mumsy lady giving out the local forecast from i assume the coastguard station just down the coast at Falmouth. It was a joy to hear ” all stations, all stations, all stations this is Falmouth coastguard, Falmouth coastguard in clear and steady diction. Ok so there were gale warnings in Biscay and Fastnet and that means just next door and upwind from the Plymouth area but just listening to her (i named her maureen in my mind and imagined her sitting in the coastie station with a nice cup of tea and worrying about her mariners out there)…i felt that sanity and clarity had returned. Sadly not so a few days later when clearly maureen was off duty and we got Nigel : Nigel was clearly the spotty saturday stand-in and what a drip. He didn’t even start with “all stations” not even once, nor even a “this is etc” but went straight into a mumbled and badly enunciated forecast. I can imagine him too : spotty and lanky, needs to pull his trousers up properly and stop txting julie (his equally spotty girlfriend). His ‘uts-ire’ (should be pronounced UTSIRA) and his hebrides….heb-brides would you believe had me shouting very bad words at the VHF. If that had been my watch i would have been telling the lanky runt to sit up properly and enunciate clearly and yes give a clear “all stations” first.
Finally we come to Falmouth and local radio : i have no idea what station this actually was but it was weird eve by Cornish standards. First i was in the shower at the yacht haven trying to persuade the shower to give me slightly more than a dribble of lukewarm water for 5 seconds a push…..when you have been at sea you need your showers like your women ie fast and hot ! . Their was clearly a local radio station piped into the shower block and weirdness of weirdness but the track that played throughout that near entire time was from the Peter Gabriel Genesis time and most definitely from the album “lamb lies down on broadway”…..seriously people ! 70s pretentious art-rock and the full album version too. I don’t know whether the radio host was being deeply ironic , was maybe deeply stoned or was trying to grunt out a big one….lots of dope in Cornwall. It only got stranger the next morning when we went out to get breakfast in the town : you see we found this great cafe on the high street that was doing a cooked breakfast. Inside i immediately noticed the posters, one was a black and white of a younger Elvis squaring up to a bemused Ali, another was a Batman and Robin, the one i chose to sit under was Page and Plant sometime in the 70’s when Led Zeppelin were at their peak….Jimmy Page clearly in his emaciated stage and Plant just being a big-haired rock-cock god. The breakfast was quick and good, no complaints there but it was the music again : same radio station i assume and i could recognise the track (unchained melody) but couldn’t pin down which version….definitely not the portly Elvis version and not the Righteous brothers. At the end the radio host announced that it was Barry Manilow of all people !. What !, i mean are you serious moment as in full ‘Mcenroe moment ensued. Local radio….deeply ironic or deeply stoned, not just a few years behind but several eras, looking at some of the post hippy drop-out locals i even wonder if punk got down this far and didn’t petre out in a muddy field somewhere east of Exeter.
Now here’s the thing : radio 4 has completely gone down the shitter, it used to be good if you wanted serious radio journalism (maybe the wrong expression) and i completely get the idea of a womens hour, but now the whole thing end to end is s continuous womens hour : womens ‘comedy’ with caricature males, womens politics and so left leaning we can call it Karla Marx meets Mrs Lenin. What if….just what if….radio 4 now hosted an alternative ‘mens hour’ ? we could have a proper shipping forecast, moan about our dodgy prostates , talk about mens stuff and generally goof-off a bit. But of course that whole idea would be sexist wouldn’t it and we can’t have that on a deeply politically correct radio4. Radio 4….you are a total waste of radio time.
If you aren’t totally bored here is some Genesis and of course the Samaritans help-line number.