It’s been a while since I wrote the first part of this and even longer since I went to Bolton. I just haven’t got around to writing the second part yet. My memory of it is fading a little now so I best tell the story whilst I can. If you want to read up on part one you can just click the little link that’s floating around below and it will take you to that page.
My time spent on the radio has really faded into one big memory now. I can’t quite recall exactly what happened when but I can tell you that it was all fun. It was really fun. Yeah, there were a few problems with the poor computer software but I surfed them in the only way I know how, keep calm and pretend that everything is fine. I’m sure it sounded OK. I’d rock up to the studio by catching the bus and getting off at the only roundabout in the town. I’d then pilfer a cup of tea from the kitchens before getting on air and doing my thing. I’d drawn up some rough plans but, as is usually the case when I go on air, they went out of the window.
I’d start off and everything would be fine. I’d get going and things would be great. About twenty minutes in the local schoolkids would turn up and invade the studio. That was usually the point where somebody would plonk one or more of them at a microphone and ask me to interview them. You can’t really disappoint children so I did what I did. I tried to be nice and I hope I didn’t scare them too much. Inevitably, they always wanted a request which were from the likes of JLS and Justin Friggin Bieber… They didn’t quite fit in with my show stylistically but I played them anyway. Thankfully there was no output system in the studio except for through headphones so I didn’t have to listen to them. The worst interview was a Christmas themed one where a couple of kids asked if they could sing a song. I really had no choice so I let them… To be fair, I myself did sing live on air once but that was for charity. It didn’t sound very good and I couldn’t understand a word they were singing but it was still better than some of the rubbish that Simon Cowell has produced throughout his career.
In between all this I managed to get in an awful lot of the music I like and a whole lot of new stuff I had discovered since leaving Bangor back in May, which is more than I would have got to play on any playlist orientated major station. I had a ‘Record Of the Week’ but that was just an excuse to play geeky music. I played two songs from the most excellent Blue Skies. I also got in some Iwan Rheon (Simon from Misfits… Or Ramsay from Game of Thrones) and that most excellent of songs from the Killing Bono Soundtrack, Where We Want to Be. I got in a bit of Cliff as well, because of his then recent banning from the airwaves. The playlists were far too lengthy to go into here but you get the gist. It was the kind of stuff I always used to play, stuff I liked and wanted to share with people, what I thought was good music.
The rest of my days were spent wandering the streets of Bolton looking for cool things to discover and do. I’ve already described my first day on the previous post and the second was really more of the same. This time though i actually bought a couple of new T-shirts that were going cheap and a book with which to garner various recipes from. I also came across Bolton Museum. It’s not the biggest or most elaborate of museums in the world. It’s all packed onto one floor but it did for half an hour. Being an industrial town, they had a nice big industrial section with machinery and interactive bits about the history of the town. It was good, although the bust of Fred Dibnah was a bit creepy, especially as someone once compared me to him a review.
Now Bolton museum is famous, if only for being duped and as an example to heritage students everywhere. That’s because of this: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-12987951 They have a large Egyptology room which is well worth a look. But there was something else… Something so shocking that it almost puts ‘the case of Brian Stitch’ to shame… (If you don’t know about ‘the case of Brian Stitch’ it involves Lindow Man and an exhibition that was so dire you had to see it to believe it.) This was another preserved body, only this time it was a Peruvian mummy. Oh dear… It was just dumped in an almost dark and empty case, facing a wall on a bit of thin sheeting. There was some piece of rag above it but it wasn’t displayed well at all. (Check it out if you’re doing a piece on the ethics of displaying human remains) There was a party of school kids in there… I resisted the urge to say something stupid this time.
The thing about spending three days in Bolton is that there soon becomes less and less to do. It’s not the most exciting towns, to be honest. So, my final day there I reserved for a walk around Bolton Market. I always like to walk around markets and see what’s on offer, mainly coz I’ve never had a particularly good one nearby where I’m living. I think it may also be some ingrained childhood thing of always being dragged round them on holiday. Of all the ones I’ve seen, Bolton has to be one of the best. Lancaster didn’t have a good one, Chester’s is limited and I wasn’t aware Bristol had one (I was busy that week… But I’ll be going back someday!) Whilst Bolton has a somewhat limited outdoor space, the indoor market is incredible. It was full of food and vegetables and meats and fish and piles and piles of big massive potatoes with dirt on them. Seriously… Make sure your potatoes have dirt on them. If they don’t then chances are they’ve been washed in chemicals and they aren’t fresh, which is never good. And make sure they don’t have roots either as that is really bad. And if you want to make sure you’re fish is fresh check if it smells fishy. If it smells fishy it isn’t very fresh. (Weird but true.) Anyway… Where was I? Oh yeah… Bolton Market is brilliant. If you’re in the neighbourhood then check it out.
Well there isn’t much else to tell really, other than after my third day on air it was time to leave. I caught the bus by the roundabout for the last time and got on the train back into Hell. I was certain then that it wouldn’t be long before I was back on the air but things have changed now. Getting into radio is a tricky business and you need more than experience and talent. I don’t know what they want, but it seems I don’t have it. Hard to believe now, but those three days in Bolton turned out to be the swansong to the best days of my life…