Radio Silence

illustration of broken radio by trudi murray

I love lyrics. I like music, but more than the rhythm or the melody, it’s always the words I’m really interested in. As a kid, in the back of the car at night, on the way home from Manchester, Dad’s cigarette on the steering wheel glowing orange at the tip, I knew every last word of the Cowboys and Truckers* tape, and Dolly Parton schooled me in how to behave in a committee meeting with her badass epic, Harper Valley PTA. (This is why I must not be on the PCC.)

The words – that’s always the thing. The story in the lyrics is so much more important to me than anything, so when I find a musician who also writes poetic words, I can play their songs on repeat for the rest of forever. What would my life be like without Paul Simon’s Graceland album? Or Ben Howard’s entire back catalogue of beautifully worded, often anguished folk. I LOVE it. If it’s faintly depressing, all the better. I’m very boring in this way, and I make the musicians in my family sigh (that’s the rest of them – they are all musical! I am a loner with a paintbrush). I don’t want the music to do anything new or interesting, I just want to listen to the story again (and again and again).

Maybe this is why I love the radio** too, especially Radio 4. It’s the voices I like, the words, and the accents. I have often stopped work, paintbrush poised above the paper in a sort of concentrating pause, for a whole hour, to listen to a gem of a play in the afternoon. I regularly shout at Woman’s Hour, though I love it too. The only programme I turn off is the consumer information slot, You and Yours, as I don’t need very much prompting to imagine that the modern world is quietly swindling me at every turn. It’s safer to live without that programme. My imagination is wild enough already.

The radio in our kitchen is broken – has been for years. Still, it sits there, a silent friend, with all the words trapped inside it. I keep it on the side to remind me to ask for a new one next Christmas. Several Christmasses have passed, and I haven’t asked. The need for it has been overtaken by newer technologies, I think. It doesn’t matter (though I would love a new one), as it’s such a nice looking object in itself***, broken or not. And these days I play the radio through my computer in the studio. I switch to music in the late afternoon, or if the news is so bad it’s making me fret.

After about 5pm, all I really want is radio silence. I like to turn everything off, wash the brushes, take off my painting apron, tidy my desk, be quiet, still my mind, and stop. Not easy when everyone is piling in through the door!

Perhaps the hum of family life is just another sort of music, which I will miss when it’s gone.

 

 

*That’s a big 10-4.
* **Don’t give me those radio shows with the presenters giggling like a pack of hyenas though. I think I am getting too old for that (and too grumpy)
***It could never be as splendid as my friend Joan’s old red Roberts radio. She’s 86. She’s had it for years! Roberts radios are clearly a good buy.

7 Comments on “Radio Silence

  1. Lovely, to read that. You don’t sound like a loner you sound gregarious x Fran

    On Mon, Mar 27, 2017 at 1:13 PM, Trudi Murray Art and Illustration wrote:

    > trudi posted: ” I love lyrics. I like music, but more than the rhythm or > the melody, it’s always the words I’m really interested in. As a kid, in > the back of the car at night, on the way home from Manchester, Dad’s > cigarette on the steering wheel glowing orange at the ” >

    • Thank you, Fran! I am gregarious, true. And also very quiet. And in my own little family, the only non musical one. They are all crazy about loud music. I am the only one who wants it to be quiet, so sometimes I feel a bit lonely 🙂

  2. Still LENT, So , sadly I can’t be looking at your latest Facebook, which comes to me somehow on email too, which is good in a way! I hope you are all well, and that you’ve given up something really meaningful Trudi, for Lent! Someone gave me a bottle of White wine the other day, at a lunch party I gave, and it was Berry Bros and Rudd! Well, it’s the Cotswolds, isn’t it?! What else should I expect?! Lots of love Roger I can’t wait for Easter to read all your Enters and see all your pictures! What fun!

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    • You will be reading for years! I am prolific, and Lent is long. I never give up anything for Lent. I have enough to beat myself up about already 🙂

  3. Pingback: Cake | Trudi Murray Art and Illustration

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