On The Radio


I love listening to the radio. I really do. The only thing I don’t like, is that it doesn’t scrobble to my last.fm profile, but that’s mostly because I’m a huge nerd.

When I was little, from about the age of 8 or 9, I used to listen to Capital FM. I don’t think it was a national station back then, just a London one, and I used to listen to it on a radio that was older than I was with a really big aerial. I listened to Dr Fox and Margherita Taylor and…I didn’t like listening to Steve Penk. He was kind of annoying. I do like pop music and maybe it’s nostalgia or the mists of time obscuring my memory, but I don’t remember the playlist being quite so small or the same songs getting played so often. Times have changed of course, so I don’t listen to Capital anymore unless I’m flicking away from a competition where someone could lose on whatever station I am listening to (yeah, I don’t like to hear people lose competitions, it’s a bit of a downer).

The best thing I remember about Capital was that they played Ben Folds Five and Ben Folds a total of 4 times that I heard over the time I was listening. I don’t know how I got into Ben Folds Five though. It might have been because I heard them played just the one time on Capital and thanks to my good memory for this sort of thing, I remembered liking the song several months later when it was played again. I probably managed to catch the band name and it spiralled from there. I know I was dead excited when “Army” got into the top 40 and they were then on Top of the Pops.

I suppose that Capital FM was responsible for me getting into indie, rock, punk and other alternative music. It’s kind of boggling to think about like that.  My Dad liked rock music, sure. He really liked The Doors – to the extent that I think it got overplayed in the car and I really can’t listen to them for any length of time without getting a headache 🙁 My Dad’s taste in music didn’t rub off on me then. My Mum likes…classical music and Abba and Tom Jones and Shirley Bassey and yeah, I like all of these things. I don’t often listen to them or deliberately search them out, but my liking for these things does come from her.

From Ben Folds Five, I found that I liked Silverchair (they were both on the Godzilla soundtrack) and then that I liked Placebo and Suede and the Manics and Feeder and…lots of not-strictly-pop bands that sometimes featured in Smash Hits.  When Smash Hits started to fail me on the music news front I switched to Melody Maker and my friends at secondary school let me know about XFM.  Then it was onto Q and Select and NME and Rocksound and so on.

It was Rocksound that got me into AFI thanks to one of their songs appearing on a free CD that was attached to the front. I still love AFI now and yeah, it’s probably AFI till I die. 🙂

Back to radio though. By this time, I had a new stereo in my room with the same sort of massive aerial and I listened to XFM. And occasionally the radio on the train that goes past my house would but that went away during my A-Levels. I think the DJ I miss most from back then was Natasha. I never knew what her surname was, but I remember that she thought Gavin Rossdale was hot. That and the music she played and her interesting/funny chatter made her probably my favourite DJ from back then.