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Video killed the radio star

  • 14th May, 2005 at 6:14 PM

Alarum clock radio
Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

Home life has been rather bizarre as of late. I have no television, no computer, and all of my books are still packed in their boxes. So for entertainment, I've been turning to radio.

Yes radio. I taped the antenna of my alarum clock to the window frame and turn on the radio. At first, I scanned the channel to see if I could find something interesting. There was talk radio, popular mass-produced music, and other dreck filling the sound waves. I quickly skipped over those and found myself listening to the McGill campus radio station.

CKUT (90.5 FM) is an ecclectic mix of hour-long student-run shows. This is usually pretty obvious by the rough and unpolished sound of their voices, and the eccentric lists of music that they play. Sometimes I'll tune in and if I like what I hear, then I'll stick to it. Other times, the programming will be offensive. Still, it's student-run so the next show might be completely different.

Another mainstay of my radio listening is CBC Radio One (88.5 FM). Since it is one of the last bastions of true radio programming, listening to CBC is actually useful. Not only is there current national and local news, but there are also in-depth reports, interviews, music recorded cross-country, book readings and radio dramas. I expect ringzero to scoff here and claim that the CBC is a pale imitation of the BBC, but we know he's just an imperialist.

The radio dramas make me think back to summer weekends in cottage country. Dad really likes to go fishing, so we'd commute to Rice Lake every weekend in the summer of my youth. Fishing, to me at the time, was phenominally boring. You'd sit around casting and reeling, over and over again, until your wrists hurt and you back ached. The sweltering sun would be too much, and I'd lie down in the middle of the boat under some makeshift shade. We had a radio onboard, so I'd flip through the channels one by one until I found something interesting. That's when I discovered that CBC played radio dramas. They were like television shows, only without the pictures. How novel!

Golden Age
Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

Which leads me to talk about last night's outing. I had heard on the radio that there was a show called "Golden Age", playing at the newly opened Théatre Ste-Catherine (264 Ste-Catherine E., Montréal, QC. 514-284-3939). I mentioned this to dcoombs at work and soon Dave, France and I had a date to see this show.

I arrived slightly late, due to an inability to read my watch, but I did catch what appeared to be the trappings of a variety show. I sat down to a young man, a poet, who was reading some very tight verse. Then came a rugged youth with his guitar, who played it quite well. And a timid redhead who sang softly as she strummed along. This part of the production seemed charmingly amateur, with the performers rearranging the microphones themselves. Then came a brief intermission.

An intermission where I found Dave and France; apologised profusely; and paid for the incredibly horrible boxed wine that Dave ordered. Why he wanted to drink it, I cannot fathom. We returned to our seats to the second half. Golden Age was set as a radio drama, a one-man show where the performer plays all the parts himself. Honestly, I was very impressed by the guy on stage, with his fantastic characterisation, and the colourful sixties flair he gave to his act. His crushed velvet jacket fit the bill and he talked into an old-school microphone which sat on an old wooden desk. If you closed your eyes, you could really hear the different people. He received an amazing amount of applause for a very small audience.

We only paid $7 each and I think I got my money's worth for entertainment. Isn't that the kind of thing that happens in this city? It's all dull and boring in the winter with nothing on, but come the warm weather and there's so much to do every night that it pains one to choose.



( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
14th May, 2005 22:47 (UTC)
Well CKUT is awesome, some of the time... so keep it up... I can't get a radio station cause of my location, but working on getting that fixed... :).. on the other hand, I have gotten back to having a good old quiet time reading a book or doing some pastels or practicing the belly dancing.... weeeeeeeeeha.

14th May, 2005 23:15 (UTC)
I'd like to point out that if you do have Internet access, then listening to the radio is easy.

Both CKUT and CBC Radio have streaming Internet radio.
14th May, 2005 23:17 (UTC)
True enough...but I"m lazy that way lol.

15th May, 2005 02:38 (UTC)
FM Radio presets in my car:

-CBC Radio One (Toronto)
-CBC Radio One (KW)
-CBC Radio Two (Toronto)
-CBC Radio Two (KW)
-Classical 96 (Toronto)
-The radio feed for Global TV that plays on 87.7 (Toronto)

On long trips, i.e. up north, it's funny how with CBC, as the station fades, you can just hit search until a few minutes later you find another clearer CBC station playing the same program. (...Repeat as needed.)
15th May, 2005 09:51 (UTC)
I used to listen to CBC radio all the time when I lived in a log cabin in La Macaza.
15th May, 2005 13:51 (UTC)
Well, it had been a really long time since I had boxed wine, so I thought I would give it a try. Oops.

I rather enjoyed the show too, and am quite curious what else will be playing at that little theatre in the future.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )