Wednesday, August 16, 2006
When I was about 16, my dad acquired a CB radio to play about with. He was an electronic engineer, but it was more than a job, it was a hobby. He rigged up a voice operated microphone on his crash helmet and got me to try and speak to him on his drive off somewhere in the suburbs of SW London, to see if it worked.
We had picked a channel that was quiet, but what we didn't know is that it was a channel that got kicking late in the afternoon with a network of people from Richmond Hill into the far reaches of Surrey. The first to switch his rig on called himself 'Desperate Dan' and he lived on Richmond Hill.
Within 20 minutes of first trying to speak to my dad, there were at least a dozen people trying to speak to the guy on Richmond Hill, as he had a good rig and a large aerial. Me, with my cheap little rig and small loft aerial, could not hear most of them, and I was a weak signal or 'no copy' to them. Of course, the channel got well chaotic and I couldn't even speak to my dad.
Eventually, my dad got to his location, but I stayed on and talked to all that I could. I met 'Black Swan', 'Redstripe', 'Amber Gambler', 'Spirit', 'Wildmouse', 'Crazy Camel' among others. So began my relationship with this 'night light' which lasted about 2 years. I eventually adopted a 'handle' for myself - I was 'French Connection' of Strawberry Hill. (No, I do not drive cars like a maniac and I don't do hard drugs. Somehow though, like the nic 'honestfi' it seems to suit me somehow - you had to be there) The relationship with the 40 red channels was rocky at best, and I think the main reason why I stopped using it was because of a couple of nasty incidents of verbal abuse and there came a time I was regretting the day that I first picked up the mic.
CB was waning in popularity then, and now there are only 20,000 odd license holders (though probably just as many unlicensed), and we now have the internet and chat rooms and it is nothing to speak to someone in Florida whereas this would have been an achievement on CB. However, you can pretend to be somone you are not on the internet, e.g. a 7 year old girl when in fact you're a 40 year old man...dashed difficult on CB. And although you can just about keep your exact location a secret on the internet, (though the determined can find out) as your 'copy' on the CB was doubtless less than 10 miles away, he could leap into his car, track you by looking at the signal when you spoke, until eventually he would 'key up' right outside your door, blasting your speaker and causing the meter needle to click loudly to 'n stop.
Reading the article at the BBC, and the positive comments underneath it, brought back a flood of memories, and I am able to forget the heartache and reflect on the happier times.
- 'Wildmouse' and his mate Jamie finding out where I lived and driving their cars down our road shouting "Chrrrrroooome!" (quiet location, and I think the neighbours must have had apoplexy!)
- Developing my first, serious crush on another 'breaker' and the long long long long walk we had on our 'eyeball' (I think it was about 10 miles!). Sadly, the love I thought I felt was not reciprocated. I wonder where he is now?
- The thrill late at night of copying someone in Canary Wharf!
- The sweet offers of friendship, maybe more, from various guys, rather desperate for a girl methinks, but an important part of life when you're turning seventeen
- In fact I think there was one who held a candle for me, but never asked. Seems that boys have the same trouble as girls in expressing their feelings sometimes. If he had asked....well....I think given the circumstances at the time, I would probably have said yes
- The conversations with the 'old boy' network, who, despite the difference in age, welcomed me into their talks and never left me out.
I realise all this, and more, contributed into me turning from an adolescent into an adult and certainly boosted my confidence - I was a 'mouse' that barely spoke but I started to become a little more forthright and less introverted. So. Happy Birthday, CB Radio, and may you have many more, even if you are isolated to Age Concern - and such a brilliant way to earn your keep.
There is one more, precious reason that CB Radio will always have a special place in my heart and memories.
A few years after their first meeting, 'French Connection' married 'Desperate Dan'.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
I'm not your only friend but I'm a little glowing friend
but really I'm not actually your friend
but I am
Blue canary in the outlet by the light switch
who watches over you
make a little birdhouse in your soul
Not to put too fine a point on it:say I'm the only bee in your bonnet
make a little birdhouse in your soul
Friday, August 11, 2006
Sunday, August 06, 2006
I spent a rather melancholy Friday afternoon, busy as usual, but fuming that my 'beloved' company has yet again said one thing and done another. Oh...I so want out of there.
I had a glimmer, just the beginnings of thoughts in my head Saturday night that there may be a way out. I quite probably need devine intervention to get me out of the gutter of my own making, but I just know I'm better than this and need to clean up my life rather than just....functioning.
I posted a song on Song Meanings over the weekend. It was Nik Kershaw's Human Racing.
Look behind you, there's the man you're chasing
Look behind you - Let's go Human Racing
It wasn't until today that I realised that this is exactly what I'm doing. Chasing a dream that is of this world, only to find I have plenty of competitors, some of which I believe better than me chasing the same dream and believing that I have the best chance - they either bide their time, or just wait to stab me in the back.
Here's the killer lion though - it's only me that can make the change. It's wrong to say that I've ever swum against the tide. I don't exactly go with the flow either, I just drift idly along in the current, rather than swimming to the shore, and look at the poor mugs fighting it out whilst I have a cup of tea and a marmite sandwich. This is, of course, what I want. Do I want promotion? Hmmm...maybe. Do I want to advance my career? Maybe. Do I still more want to make a difference in someone's life so that, even if I sit back with perhaps the odd pang of jealousy, I have at least stored that one special gem that is not of this world, but of another? You betcha. But I have to change first.
Perhaps I'm scared of change, but whilst the world is moving towards self destruction, and the people in it are dismantling themselves along with it, it is me who has to say - STOP. There must be something better than this. I have plenty of ideas, and plenty of intelligence. It may be stupid to say I will start tomorrow - tomorrow brings another week of work in a company I've lost faith in and I'll just be too darn busy to worry about my future, I'll be busy concerned with making sure that as few people phone up on pay day as possible.
OK - here's my one, important, resolution that is far above the others that I may have made. Set myself 5 minutes a day to think about/do something else other than work or pleasure. Maybe it will extend to an hour before the end of the year, but I have a feeling that something big is going to happen if I just start to make the changes.
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
I don't knock it - I have picked up a few blogs this way, including VeryBored's and Fainthearted. After a session of 'Next Blog' during a quiet lunch hour (extremely rare) I've picked up a few that may well end up in my rather sad looking blog list (I'm fussy, OK....OK...lazy...) But clicking next blog can be quite an amusing/frustrating/educating/annoying (delete as applicable) experience.
Now...I know this blog will never win awards. It is quite simple (trendy people would say 'boring'), I have not tried to promote it in any big fashion and I'm not presenting a concept that is original in any way. I do this mainly for my own benefit, though it is great that Ian, Oli and VVB occasionally give a bit of encouragement or amusement just to let me know I am not just talking to myself.
But oh boy, the people that try out there. There should be awards for them, the Soldiers of Blog. They are so trying to be original, but do they know they are clamouring for the mere 18% of the net that actually gets read. How about my own set of awards...all found by clicking Next Blog for a few minutes.
The Snazzy but incomprehensible Blog Award - crazyy-loner
The This Is The Beginning Of Something Big But You Know Its Not Going To Last More Than A Couple Of Posts Award - thetrueself - sounds somewhat intriguing and I'm almost routing for them to keep going actually
The Doom Laden But No-One Knows What They're On About And Probably Don't Care Award - panopticon
The OK It's Foreign But We All Know What She's On About - The Teenage Story Award - macavity123 - Note that the titles are in English...
This is just a few. Go on...try it. It must be better than writing about what you're having for lunch.