Music Saves Us From Talk RadioBy Sam Taylor
As a freelance illustrator I spend a lot of my time listening to the radio while I scribble in my cave. It stops you from feeling lonely, provides entertainment and you get to discover new music. Sadly these positives are coupled with an evil, negative side that no one tells you about. Most of you probably don’t even know what I’m talking about. Well, strap yourself in.
The most harrowing show on the radio, without doubt, is Jeremy Vine's afternoon phone-in discussion on BBC Radio 2. The seemingly constant stream of child murder stories, eye gouging incidents and real life Paedogeddon are enough to make a Billy-goat puke. These horror shows are often contrasted with ridiculously boring discussions about increasing VAT, bin-men and (at least once a week) Vine’s cycle to BBC HQ that morning. Was it raining? Was he in high-vis? Did a taxi pull out on him? Yes, yes to all of those. These mundane stories are obviously designed to allow you to come to terms with the horrors of reality.
Sadly, I have since abandoned Vine; even though I like him and his bike stories. My heart couldn’t take the pain and suffering that fills the majority of his show. Now I listen to 6 Music every day, I thought I was safe. Think again. The news now acts as my main harrow-machine, at least once a week there’s a story about guys getting ass-raped, babies being thrown down stairs and some kids crucifying their teacher on a field in Stoke-on-Trent. It’s fucked.
In a desperate attempt to redevelop a connection with humanity I have interviewed a few great illustrators who have shared the same harrowing experiences courtesy of the bastard that is; daytime radio:
(Oh, and the drawings are all by me; we don't all share one style.)
Kyle Platts is currently spending a lot of time locked-up next to a radio where he is producing a fifty-page comic for No Brow. He can basically draw anything and used to do these insanely detailed WW2 tanks and M2 Browning heavy machine guns.
Noisey: What’s the most fucked up story you’ve heard on the radio?
Kyle: Well I think the male rape discussion on Jeremy Vine's afternoon show affected me deeply, not that I am a victim of male rape (yet). The thing is I have quite a hyperactive imagination, and when Vine dishes out content like that on a Monday afternoon it can really send me into an introspective vortex of terror.
That’s what Vine is all about - inspiring terror. How long did you last?
I turned that off almost straight away, but it was too late, the thought seeds had been planted.
What came on afterwards?
I can’t remember what the come down story was on that day, but my all time favourite was when they were talking about whether the English have a right to the Welsh water supply. It got incredibly heated.
I bet. What music do you put on in order to recover from this?
I am soothed by Simon and Garfunkel.
Jack Teagle is an illustrator who is obsessed with superheroes, horror movies and (as far as I can tell) Harrington jackets. He once gave me a Posca and I wasted the whole thing on the walls of a pub bathroom, sorry dude.
What’s the most harrowing story you’ve heard on the radio?
It was quite recently, it was about the Brazilian cannibals that got caught this year. They wanted to reduce the world of its population. I remember there was a rumour that they may have fed their neighbours the people they killed too.
Wow, that sounds fucked up. How long did you last before you turned it off?
I listened to it all the way through, I was really curious about the whole thing. The details about population kept me engaged, usually those kind of stories only go into detail about how they had fantasies about killing and eating people, but this was like a double whammy of weird.
Did they try and contrast that with any mundane stories about bins or the economy?
I can't remember now...
Were you in shock?
...I think they just went straight to another news story.
What song did you put on to bring your mood back up?
I don't think I did, I turned the radio off, because something really annoying came on afterwards. I guess silence cheered me up.
What’s the worst thing you’ve heard on the radio?
About three years ago there used to be an on-going sitcom type radio play on Radio 4 called "Julie" or "Dawn” or something. It wasn’t straight-up harrowing; rather a slow and painful descent in to subconscious depression.
Deep. What kind of stuff happened?
Everything bad that can happen to someone happened to Dawn/Julie. Her grandma died, her cat got run over, she missed the bus, she contracted paranoid schizophrenia...and this was all in some horrible dullburb in middle England somewhere. Over time, I got pretty harrowed listening to it every day. It built up.
It’s probably your own fault for choosing to listen to it. Why did you listen to the show?
I like to hear voices when I'm drawing and Radio 4 is the only option for that sort of thing. You just have to get harrowed.
Did they try and contrast that with any boring stories about the euro?
Those are the most harrowing stories of all in my opinion, eurgh.
Could any music bring your mood up?
Jonathan Richman - "I Was Dancing In A Lesbian Bar".
Sam will be back with some stuff that's ACTUALLY about music, soon!