Saturday, 26 September 2015

I Dress For Radio

Once a month, I set my alarm on a Saturday morning.  This would be a hardship but I set it in order to get up in time for a radio appearance. Being a part-time optimist, I never set my alarm quite early enough and this morning I left the house with a list of poetry events happening in Shropshire in October, a poem by Keith Chandler, wet hair and dressed from neck to shoe-top in maroon.

I love listening to the radio. It's a cliche that I think I first heard in Educating Rita that "the pictures are better on the radio". I grew up in a television-free house and I craved stimulation and information.  It came via Test Match Special, Capital Radio's Saturday morning Hit Parade, Woman's Hour, PM at 5PM, The Men from the Ministry and Hancock's Half  Hour.  When I graduated, I wanted to work in radio, but I didn't have the confidence to apply.

In common with many of the good things in my life, I am on Ryan Kennedy's show because of poetry.  A couple of years ago, I gave a reading as part of a fundraiser and Sam from Radio Shropshire, who was covering the event, liked my stuff.  He said he'd find me a regular slot if I wanted one.  Of course I said yes please.

There's a fashion blunder I've come to know about courtesy of my sons called 'double denim'.  This is shorthand for the mistake of wearing denim jeans with a denim jacket.  This morning's double maroon outfit is not a good look, and my hair dried to a frizz as I was chatting to Ryan about October's poetry events.  None of this mattered.  The pictures conjured by Keith's poem Next Week to School were in no way impeded by my lack of style.  The last lines are a gasps of longing and loss:

They're going to burn the stubble, Look!
Edges of the field turned back.
A bat shape frantics down the lane
as if to pick up something lost.

In my bones a sense of frost
and to the west pink in the air
as if tomorrow were on fire.

Keith Chandler - The Grandpa Years.  Available from Fair Acre Press

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