I’ve got a thousand guitars.  I want to hear them drums.  A million different voices speaking in tongues. 

RADIO NOWHERE   Is there anybody alive out there?

RADIO NOWHERE   Is there anybody alive out there?

I just want to hear some rhythm.  I just want to hear some rhythm.

Everybody! After me…

Our bus don’t have no radio

Our bus don’t have no radio

I assume you know the song?  No?  Thought so….

When we bought the Custard Mustard all the things that needed to work worked.  Some of the quite important things worked, but not all of them.  And those things that didn’t work, well how important could they be?  Some things looked like they shouldn’t work but did.  And then there were other things that simply didn’t work and one of those was the radio.

Now I don’t know about you, but it’s good to have music going on, albeit my taste is often challenged.  So in my world a broken radio is right up there on the ‘make things work’ list.  Probably higher up the list than ‘make the brakes work’.  Let’s face it, how can you begin to make broken brakes work if you can’t mend them to some music?  So, making the radio work was right up there on my ‘to do’ list. 

We have two ‘to do’ lists.  Mine and Sarah’s.  I think I mentioned this before.  Our lists are both important and critical and are on the jointly owned ‘must do at some point’ list.  We’re agreed on that, but the problem is prioritisation.  What is the most critical?  It’s clear that my priorities are skewed.  For instance, who cares if the brakes don’t work so long as you can listen to Sam Brown singing ‘and I want you to Stop’.  On the other hand, Sarah’s priorities are more related to personal comfort and expected levels of hygiene when we’re camping – and camping is, after all, one of the primary reasons why we bought the campervan in the first place. 

I think on most counts the things on my list don’t register as a priority because they’re on my list and by association they don’t seem important.  And to be fair they aren’t.  My list is bloke orientated so isn’t always practical, whereas Sarah’s list is full of pretty things but also, when you think about it retrospectively, things that fall into the ‘I’m glad we did that’ category. 

From my perspective, and putting this theory to the test, how can you appreciate or prioritise tasks such as degrease, clean and repack the wheel bearings when it’s up against choose colour and pattern for curtains?  They’re both important, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve never heard of wheels falling off because you got the curtains wrong.  Then again, if your curtains don’t colour coordinate, or even worse, you’ve not chosen your curtains[1] then pity you my friend.  Pity you. 

Whatever, a radio is top of my list and given Sarah was away for the weekend I had the freedom to do as I wish.[2]  

We already had a fitted radio in the sense that it fitted into the roughly sawn hole in the dashboard.  But it wasn’t plugged into anything.  Not even into any of the five speakers that were also ‘fitted’ in the bus.  Of the five speakers and one radio none were either wired in to each other or to any electrickery that might make them work. 

The radio looked about a hundred years old and the tape deck, being of Australian origin, had probably not been used since the days of John Farnham’s ‘You’re the Voice[3], Midnight Oil’s back catalogue, and Kevin ‘Bloody’ Wilson[4].  Poor little radio.  But then again, it probably predated Kylie & Jason – where there’s a cloud and all that. 

I only owned one actual tape, REM’s Automatic, so not much point in keeping the radio/tape deck even if it did work.  Ages ago we had a clear out of old tapes but REM survived because it lived permanently in the tape deck that lived in the shed.  I remember Sarah had zillions of old tapes and it took some persuading to get her to throw the lot away.  In the end I compromised and let her keep maybe about four of them – for old times’ sake.  I came across them the other day and amongst the four keepsakes was Now That’s What I Call Music Vol.23.  An absolute all time classic if ever there was one! FFS

We’d already bought the new radio – one of those fancy dan new ones that you can plug your i-pod thing into.  I-pods – We got one of those recently too.  Aren’t they amazing!  What with all the watcha-ma-call-em ‘apps’.  The new radio came with fitting instructions.  Very helpful, including a colour coding chart for the 11 differently coloured wires hanging out the back of it.  Eleven! 

Following my painstaking internet research on car electrics I felt I had the know-how to put it into practice.  Actually I’d already had some practice wiring up the cigarette lighter.[5]  But that just had a wire from the fuse box to the lighter and a second wire from the lighter to the bodywork.  Still took me about an hour of faffing though. 

I’d bought a crimping set for the job.  No, not to go with my crimping suit.  A crimping tool[6] is a bit like a pair of pliers and you use them to squeeze shut little purpose made connectors that help you join up one wire to another.  After making all the connections it was just a case of turning the thing on.  That meant unleashing all those energised electrons onto my newly assembled electric assault course.  With a mixture of apprehension and excitement I turned the juice on and lo and behold – we had music coming out of the speakers!  And there’s another thing.  The inside bits of speakers that make the noise are more often than not just made of cardboard.  How the heck does that work?

With everything working well, and first time I might add, it was only fitting that Bruce Springsteen should have first play[7].  Out of nowhere we had radio.  Very fitting indeed.

[1]    Curtain colour/pattern choosing day was a day to dread.  It would come one day.  I just knew it.  No matter how much I thought about it nothing could really prepare me for curtain colour and pattern choosing day.  The chances of me saying that’s nice or oh I don’t know about that one at the right point were going to be slimmer than slim.  If I get this wrong it’s going to be curtains for me. 

[2]    Freedom only being earned once I’d made sure I’d done all the things on the list Sarah kindly left for me before I started on my list.

[3]    You’re the voice try and understand it.  Make a noise and make it clear.  Whoa-a-whoa-a-whoa-ooh-whoa-ah.  One of music’s Fruit Pastel songs that is virtually impossible to not sing along to when listening to it on the radio.

[4]    Kevin ‘Bloody’ Wilson.  Nostalgia wants me to repeat the lyrics, but decency prohibits me.  Other than to say that Santa Claus ought to read the letters sent to him, listen to all visiting child’s wishes and perhaps pack a spare bike when he sets out.

[5]    I had to decommission the cigarette lighter to make way for the radio.  One day I’ll find a way to fit both onto the fuse box.

[6]    A Crimping Tool, other than sounding like someone who’s a bit camp and a bit of a tool, reminds me of a late-night-several-beers-in-conversation where we agreed on setting up a new website called

[7] And second play, third play and so on.  Seems like a reasonable request to me.


One comment on “BLOG 13 – RADIO NOWHERE

  1. Tom D'Roza says:

    Now 23? That had “damn, I wish I was your lover” by Sophie B. Hawkins. That was a pretty decent song. It also had a song by Richard Marx, but it wasn’t even Hazard it was Take This Heart – who knew he had more than one hit?

    (and no, I didn’t have Now 23, I looked it up on Amazon… I had Now 28 though, but that was on CD)

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