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Late Night Radio

My adolescent bedroom lacked much in decor, not different from my present day bedroom.  Piles of laundry covered the floor, the predominate furniture was shelving, which did not stop mountains of books and records from spiliing out and taking over.  The walls were sparsely adorned in UNC paparphernalia and Bill Murray movie posters.  Today, the laundry still drifts like lake effect snow and precarious stacks of CDs have replaced records, while the posters are Audubon prints and a framed photo of Emma Peel of the Avengers TV show, in skintight leather, tied to ubiquitous railroad tracks.  I have always envied people with a knack for interior design and the skill to make spaces livable, for it is a skill which I clearly lack.  They say that a cluttered room leads to a cluttered mind.  I may just as easily say that a cluttered mind lends itself to a cluttered room.  This is no chicken and egg question however, as one can unclutter a room in a few hours; to unclutter a mind could take years. 

My favorite feature of the adolescent room was my clock radio.  It was from the early days of digital clock technology; as the time changed, the numbers would melt into the next sequence.  Fives would drip into sixes, eights magically mutated into nines.  You could literally watch the hours melt away.  The radio contained a "sleep" feature which allowed you to set the radio to go off after a certain time.  After say 50 minutes, the radio would shut off and you would have to roll over and reset it for another 50 minutes.  I used this feature on Sunday nights when listening to a syndicated FM radio show called, I think, East Coast Live.  I would lay in my bed and listen to concerts by the likes of Blue Oyster Cult and Cheap Trick.  There was also a call-in/interview session, I believe.  Honestly, I don't remember much about this show, but I would lay there in the dark, with the volume turned low so my parents wouldn't hear, my room colored by the faint blue light of the melting numbers, listening to the sounds of some far off place, probably New York. 

When I was a kid, late night radio was your strongest connection to the sense of something foreign going on outside of the cocoon in which circumstance had wrapped you.  My upbringing was on the rural side and my parents were particularly provincial, so these dim feeds in the night were gateways to other lives and other places.  Via AM, sometimes you could pick up transmissions from as far away as Cincinnati or Buffalo.  I would lay there, mere feet from my discarded stuffed animals, baseball card collection and Star Wars action figures, insomniac with suspense, just waiting for a station ID or a local advertisement to tell me where in the world I was being held in secret privy, contemplating the world I would soon enter, while surrounded by artifacts of a world from which I had already one foot out the door. 




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post #521
bio: blaine
perma-link
3/5/2008
14:19

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