Saturday, December 04, 2004


I live in the past a lot lately. The death of John Peel has me thinking about my radio life. Little did I know that my first radio station started its modern existence with a guest appearance by John Peel. Here's a bit of what I wrote the alumni site for URY re: some of the characters I met during my time there:

I was trained by Richard "Dickie Bird" Dodd who has had quite a successful radio career on regional BBC and other commercial ventures.

During my time there the station parodied the BBC's pay your tube tax ads with one of its own as a promo. I'm pretty sure it was Stephen Palmer who faked my "exaggerated American drawl." That is the moment when I knew I belonged at URY.

Palmer has gone onto much success with The Guardian (business side) and of course Emap, where he's director of Pop and maybe a VP, He also introduced me to the Princess Louise on High Holborn before it was completely tarted up. He lived in one of those semi-detached off the Bishopthorpe road with Steven Humphreys, Simon Aldous (not Aldons as your list has him) and Clare Kellet. Humphreys liked Marillion far too much, In spring '86, he ran unsuccessfully for Student Government position (president?) with a campaign using as tag lines Smiths' song titles. My favorite was an ad featuring a picture of the leading candidate with one line-"That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore." High Concept/Low effect, but a good time down the Wellington on Alma Terrace thinking up images to go with song titles. Simon Aldous was in the/was the band(s) Flock of Umbrellas/Umbrella Heaven, and he helped Hefner produce early albums. From Brighton I think, because he introduced me to 14 Iced Bears a long time ago. Clare starred in a student pomo production called MacHamleth (it was famous for the requisite 15 mintues).

Jo-Anne Nadler was a pain in the ass back in the day (but then I grew up suffering around Reagan Jugend so I was not favorably disposed to the Youth for Tory crowd). Did anybody really buy the faux slumming in the full leather gear? She now is chief Hague-iographer (or so I hear) and has written a fine and funny memoir replete with a Leslie Gore pun in the title.

Head of Music Tom Stevenson lost a bet but never paid up (well cuz I was long gone and out of country). I begged him to put the first or second Housemartins single in the chart show, He thought Go! discs were too indie. I bet him The Housemartins would be Top of he Pops one day. Thank god for Christmas singles (I must have seen something in that Norman Cook guitar playah fellow. . . ). Lucy Mumford was a fetching tall Scottish lass who I once accidentally ran into at the West End Waterstone's in Edinburgh if memory serves. Rachael Johnston is involved in an alternative oncology therapies company on the borders called the lavender touch, I think. I know I have something to say about Jeremy Ball and Jem Stone but it escapes me. Didn't the former head up the 20th anniversary committee and emcee the Pop Quiz starring BBC 1's Mark Page. I have a tape of the entire thing that someday I'll transfer to CD and eventually to some downloadable format.

Big Musical memories of that year: The Housemartins, London 0 Hull 4, The Pogues, Rum, Sodomy and The Lash and the Poguetry in Motion e.p., discovering the Peel Show, hearing "Once More" by the Wedding Present, seeing them live at the Winning Post on Bishopthorpe, working "security" at the Redskins show on campus, and The Queen is Dead.

Enough wallowing in nostalgia for an age yet to come. Time for a Terry's chocolate orange, some Wensleydale on Bath Olivers, and a lukewarm pint of soapy Tetley's!

UPDATE 1/14/04
Now Jim Wickham tells us that Rollo Armstrong is the brother of Dido! Anyway I'm hyperlinked to the URY website's alumni page. So old friends or whatever, please drop me a line or just leave a comment.

UPDATE 5/26/06
I just found an A4 document from this era with a bunch of names of my old comrades in radio mayhem. It's discussed here. I'm working with a friend on getting the Pop Quiz transferred into some kind of Podcast so I can link it to URY Alumni page.

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