Sick Tunes Journal

Brooklyn N.Y.

I think the coolest part of having Apple TV is the ability to conveniently stream radio stations from around the world. Forgive me if I sound like a rube, but it blows my mind.

I’ve long been a dues paying devotee of Minnesota Public Radio’s The Current, and I usually start the day with with their morning show and sometimes leave it on until 11 a.m., when I switch to BBC Radio 6, to listen to the influential British DJ Steve Lamacq.

Today Lammo played old cuts from  Longpigs and Lionrock, amid newer stuff.

I first heard Lamacq during the ‘96-97 academic year I spent studying in the UK. I had radio in my  room and would spend many evenings listening to Lamacq and Jo Wiley, who hosted a Britpop-centric show on BBC Radio 1 called the Evening Session. Then at 10 p.m. my hero John Peel would come on. It was heaven, really.

Having Lamacq on in the crib  today also jostled loose a memory and a lament.

Of  all the stuff I’ve lost down the years, the one I wish I could conjure would be my radio journal from that year in Britain.

Now, “journal,” is, yeah, a little grand a for what it was — a spiral 8.5 x 11 (A4, if you’re listening in Blighty) notebook where  I scribbled down the names of songs and bands that I heard on Radio 1.

That task is now unnecessary, as radio stations post their playlists; it’s super convenient.

Back then, it was essential, as my short-term memory was (and is) wretched, and I could never quite remember the names of the latest tracks when I went a-hunting at the record shops.

I remember the first time Radio 1 played Teenage Fanclub’s jangle-rific “Ain’t That Enough.” I cranked the radio and I wrote it down  in my crap penmanship. It’s now one of my favorite songs, but if I had my radio journal, I could see the record of that first blast of love.

While packing to come back to the States it went missing, probably got trashed and has now degraded into nothing.

Writing down the names of songs on you hear on the radio is a dorky kind of fun. I imagine some of you keep track of how many tomatoes or cucumbers you harvest from the back garden.

I think the need to document songs comes from that same need to keep track of things  that inspires people to buy Fitbits and the like.

So, today, I found a blank notebook, a medium-sized one with a green cover. I took out a black Sharpie and wrote “SICK TUNES” on the cover. I’m going to start again. And gee, if that ain’t that a Teenage Fanclub song.




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