“Radio ties a million ears to one mouth.” I read that in the novel All the Light We Cannot See. Yeah, I’m reading a novel and it is hard. After being awash in New Yorkers I can’t read fiction anymore. I had no idea this was a skill set. Reading non-fiction is easy. Not that the New Yorker makes sense to me all the time. It’s hard. Those smarty-pants use big words.
My mother gave me All the Light We Cannot See and it is really good but holy you gotta be able to focus. And when I’m in my jim-jams and I’ve brushed and flossed and I’m ready for bed and I sit in the living room in front of the fire it is difficult. I find myself reading one page over and over. Anyway, back to the million ears and the one mouth…
When I was a child my mother returned from a hiking trip in Ladahk and via Hong Kong she brought back my younger brother and I transistor radios. I listened to that radio incessantly. I favoured LG73s early eighties mix of pop music and Jurassic rock. This was back when AM radio was still playing music. Then late one night when I was trolling up and down the dial from my bedroom in the basement I heard this voice. It was like gravel be tumbled in rye whisky. “Burns on line.” “Hi, Pat…”, “Go ahead Doll, …” It was Pat Burns’s call-in show on CJOR 600. He was gruff and antiquated and like no old guy I had ever heard before. He sounded like he smoked and drank for vegetables. I loved listening. Why an old curmudgeon and his insomniac call-in audience was a draw to an 8 year old I can’t tell you. But if you don’t count the Mother Corp’s the Early Edition morning serenade this was my first foray into talk radio. And it had something to do with listening to it at night that made it special.
Fast-forward to my teen years and my best friend Greg Sturdy and I were listening to the radio in my bedroom when we happened upon a station that was broadcasting something called underground radio. The signal was weak and therefore exciting and what is this? Have we stumbled on something hidden, distant and illicit? No, it was a music show from CITR broadcasting from across Burrard Inlet out of the University of British Columbia.
A few years later I was listening to Sports Talk with another late-night curmudgeon, Dan Russell. I can still remember the phone number. 604 280-0491. And a pleasant good evening to you he would say. I would call-in and ask “Why is Gino on the point when the Canucks are on a power-play. When the puck invariably gets pushed into their zone Gino isn’t the fastest skater to get back and it can result in shorthanded goals.” It was thrilling to hear myself on the radio.
If you are listening to this your ears are linked to one big mouth. Your few ears. My big mouth. You’ve got in on the ground floor. For some reason I have this overwhelming and arrogant feeling that In the Dark is going to get bigger and better. What evidence do I have? None. Absolutely none. And yet it’s the same feeling I have anytime I audition. And I’m a failure as far as being an actor goes. I’m not that great. But inexplicably and against all reason I always walk in that room thinking I’m the best. Do you have this? Do others act this way? Or is it just me and the Donald? I was talking to my friend Jenny over the text not recently and she was telling me about her psychology degree she’s after out at UBC and she mentioned that anti-social personality disorders like sociopathy and psychopathy never reveal themselves as a problem to the individual. They don’t think they have a problem so they never seek treatment. I almost asked her to diagnose me.
I’m sure I’m not a sociopath. And I’ve toned-down my solipsism and my ultracrepidarianism although I see it alive and well in my spawn. Personal growth and self-awareness (as Doctor handsome Frank noted in Episode three) must go part way in getting me off the hook. Okay, enough of my yakking (Hey another Spinal Tap quote. God I’m old).
Today on the audio show a man of radio… It’s G Mac P! AKA Guy MacPherson (not to be confused with Grant MacPherson that bakes bread and then talked about it on Episode thirteen). One of the oldest living podcasters and host of What’s So Funny on CFRO in Vancouver. GMacP. has interviewed Louis CK, Patton Oswalt, Jerry Seinfeld and me. It is one of my finest performances talking on someone else’s show.
I’m grateful you exist. You are enough.
Can you tell I’m still meditating?
JB in Toronto