I really like doing radio, as evidenced by the fact that for the last four months I have been willing to drag my carcass out of my burrow between the hours of 3am and 6am to do it.
There are a lot of things that are addictive and magical and wonderful about the radio, and I've done a lot of thinking about them recently. Here are two:
- It's immediate: Everything that you do and say and play goes out as soon as you do and say and play it. That makes it nervewracking at times, but also vital and personal in a way that few other things I know are.
- You're never alone, but it's easy to believe you are: In a basement, in the middle of the night, surrounded by thousands of songs you've never heard, faced with a panel of slide-y things and buttons, it feels just about as alone as it gets. Oh here I am, just listening to some cool tunes, eating some peanut M&Ms, pushing some buttons that light up red.
You put on headphones when you talk so you can hear how your own voice sounds, so you are surrounded by the sound of yourself. It's crrrrrazy.
You never know how many people are listening to you or where they are or why. If they fell asleep with the radio on. If they're up miserably late with a migraine or a crying baby. If they're driving out of town for the last time and the song you are playing is giving them a nostalgic Moment.
(Until they call you to tell you about the Moment they had and you can hear the music from the other end of the phone at the same pace it is playing where you are and it's crrrrrrazy.)
Sometimes when people mention my blog to me in person I'll say diffidently that the only way I can continue writing it is if I pretend no one ever reads it. Same with radio. The only way I can put on those headphones and stare into the mike and talk -- knowing that what I say goes immediately to cars and computers and the radios that sit beside sleeping people -- is to pretend I am talking to myself.
And that's one thing I can DO.
This is all because I'm very young, and increasingly aware that I don't know anything. If I let myself think about a word I said publicly before I actually said it, I'd never say anything at all and end up spending most of my days in the fetal position wishing Trader Joe's would deliver me some snacks.
That's also because I still care what people think of me, although I find it very freeing in the moments when I can stop with that (usually, to be perfectly honest, when I am hungover).
This is the music I listen to when I want to not care what people think of me, because these guys are old and they don't give a fuck and they've earned it.
(through years of hangovers? well, it obviously worked.)
The song: Dean Martin, "The Tracks Of My Tears"; 1970
I featured this when I did a Version v. Version of "The Tracks of My Tears", and it was ACTUALLY MY FAVORITE. It's just so swingin' and has such a, as I said then, "what the fuck, why not??" coolness to it.
The song: Tom Jones feat. Jack White, "Evil"; 2012
Let's talk about Tom Jones some other time, because I love that guy, but for now enjoy his most recent effort featuring Jack White of the White Stripes. Best interplay of bass guitar and horns ever? You gotta admit, it's a contender.
The song: Bobby Womack, "Please Forgive My Heart" (produced by Damon Albarn); 2012
Since I discovered this song two weeks ago I have listened to it probably one hundred times at least. The blend of Womack's voice, and the production, and the subject matter -- I find it perfect.
It's apologizing for your faults without apologizing for your existence or theirs. Please, forgive my heart.