Kitchen Radio

Listening back to some of the old recordings it's clear a major contributor to our sound was the old kitchen radio.

It wasn't that old, actually, just a little transistor radio that had, for the first time in our house, FM reception. I'd done another of my joyously successful experiments in opening it up and connecting a lead onto the input side of the volume control so that the volume could be turned down and a signal extracted to go into the record player and then into my headphones. Mainly used for listening to John Peel programmes on headphones in the family living room without annoying anyone else too much.

But once I got the Akai reel-to-reel I started to record lots of stuff off the radio including a great deal of Radio 4 spoken word stuff which, once chopped up randomly, seemed to encapsulate something of the acquiescent and doomed society in which we lived.

I also used to listen to a lot of Radio Luxembourg and Radio Caroline, as well as those mad sounds found on the short wave bands, particularly in the period prior to the formation of the Instant Automatons when I was just soaking up influences for a few years.

In those days it was much harder to get the BBC World Service, which seemed to switch frequencies on short wave according to the time of day. I remember once hearing the late Scott Piering talking on the World Service about the imminent explosion of the cassette scene (which never quite happened, obviously, but it was good to hear about it anyhow).

Radio Moscow was always a good laugh too. There's hardly a rock/pop biography or memoire that doesn't refer at some point to the subject listening to late night music stations with a transistor radio under the bedclothes and I am your standard issue old geezer in this respect. Though, obviously, the kitchen radio was back in the kitchen at bedtime. I had other equipment for late nights…

Back to Table Of Contents