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Sunday, June 04, 2006

old radio dreams

There are two films I've seen which have wanted to make me do Radio. One was Good Morning Vietnam where Robin Williams plays a DJ stationed in Vietnam who makes the soldiers' lives more meaningful through his radio show. The other one is an old Christian Slater starrer called Pump Up the Volume about an angsty, rebellious teenager who starts a private radio station to vent his angsty, rebellious feelings. Both were different movies, in theme, in treatment, and in their overall feel, but one thing that both movies did remarkably, was to demonstrate the power of radio. How a disembodied voice and somebody else's music can mean so much to so many people.

The beauty of Radio is that, it's much more intimate and personal than television. Somehow when the VJ is speaks to the camera, it never seems like he's talking to you, but when the DJ's voice comes out of the speakers, she's always talking exclusively to you. Then there's the unpredictability factor, the fact that you don't know what song is playing next, and the possibility that it could be a song that you love. When the song that you love comes on, it's a steering-wheel thumping, head-nodding high that can give rise to concerned looks from fellow motorists. There's also the fact that on Radio, your threshold of happiness is much lower, even a song that you'd stopped listening to years ago, or a song that you like, but not enough to buy the CD, can sound magical when it's coming out of the Radio.

Last week the CD player in my car started acting up, so i've been forced to listen to Radio, and I've found an unlikely saviour in All India Radio FM (102.6 Mhz, Delhi). When I drive to work, there's a show called the 'Matchless Music Hour', which plays classic rock and pop as well as old Hindi songs, so a sample playlist would be Peter Frampton - Lata Mangeshkar - Hot Chocolate - Deep Purple - Elton John - Kishore Kumar...works for me! In the evenings, while on somedays it is contemporary crap, I've encountered world-music, salsa, meringue, Reggaet├│n, some Youssou N'Dour and so on. They have jazz nights every Friday, and I've even heard some modern rock a-la incubus, offspring etc., Just listening to AIR, an unusual industry where the public sector institution wallops the private sector competition (i guess the lack of profit-motive helps), I can't help but feel my old radio dreams coming back to life.

Updates:

Sunday - Queen, The Police, Duran Duran, Abba
Monday - Queen, Lata Mangeshkar, Neil Diamond
Tuesday - Vital Tech Tones (Victor Wooten, Steve Smith, Scott Henderson), SD Burman, Thin Lizzy

I think Delhi is beginning to rock!

6 comments:

sunsister said...

talking abt radio movies.. there's this other great one with brendan fraser. he and his rock- and roll band and girlfriend (all in obligatory torn leather, chains and big hair) land up at a radio station, take hostages and demand that they play their single. much mayhem follows with a suitably senti ending.

i forget the name, do you know which movie that was?

Smith said...

@orange egg - it's 'airheads' , and it's one of my all time favourite movies (my tastes are 'base'). I was considering mentioning this one also, but left it out because it doesn't really bring out the power of radio, although it's a brilliant film otherwise.

Tashmetu said...

Enjoyed this post. C'est vrai. My fav station whn I'm on the road is Go. Mumbai radio is all hindi film and pop, but I still enjoy it. And it's so true that radio jocks are more personal, they are almost in your head. Don't suppose you've heard of Ameen Sayani and his Binaca Geet Mala, My Pa's always telling us stories about how it was the hottest topic of conv when they were kids

Smith said...

@tashmetu - i've heard of Ameen Sayani and his Binaca Geetmala as well. I read an article in the Hindu on these three stalwarts of 'Radio Ceylon', Ameen Sayani, Jimmy Barucha, and Mayilvaganam...waitaminit...i've found the piece it's here

http://www.thehindu.com/thehindu/mag/2006/01/01/stories/2006010100150400.htm

Tashmetu said...

Thanks! The Hindu ? :D Nice

simmi said...

sound a bit like the soundtrack of my life... if one add'd revolutionary folk songs, old school hiphop, hardcore, reggae and last but not least some latino beats it would pretty much sum it up