Howard Aggregate’s Late Preview #10

Tonight I bring you notice of what is surely the most momentous development in radio history since TalkSport was beamed across the galaxy to deter brain-harvesting aliens from colonising Earth. From this moment on, Resonance is changing the whole concept of TIME. Henceforth, the only clock that 104.4FM observes is a defunct 1970’s Texas Instruments radio alarm retrieved earlier today from a skip on Borough High Street (along with much of the forthcoming week’s programming).

The clock is a pre-digital model whose numbers flipped over, making the sound of an endlessly blinking electronic eyelid so guaranteeing nights of paranoid insomnia. There’s no flipping now. For whatever reason – power surges, spilt coffee, the death-throes of a trapped mosquito – the display has no relevance to the accepted 12- or 24- hour time scheme. Unlike a broken clock that tells the right time twice a day, ours is only correct when it’s 88 minutes past 88.

And that’s the right time right now. And it’s going to stay that way.

To celebrate the rebranding of Time – the greatest innovation in British broadcasting history since minutes were introduced in the late Thatcher period – we will be premiering a new show by Tripweed MacIndoe.

Since he was a small boy in the Cotes du Rhone region of Knightsbridge, Tripweed collected digital watches, confident that one day the world would tell the time from an LED or LCD display and he would be the King of All Time.

When the counter-revolutionary return of clock faces with hands held up that particular march of Progress, Tripweed became an embittered man –in several time zones, thanks to his early 80’s Pulsar Pilot ChronoCrunch. (This watch also features a memory, so it can tell you what time it was half an hour ago). To celebrate the new ResoTime he has recorded 88.88, an 88 hour, 88 minute long recitation of the displays on each of his hundreds of thousands of watches. While some show the correct time, others display nothing or superseded times, such as 3.56 – hah! remember that one! – and the despised 21.25. It’s an astonishingly varied piece of work and you can hear it from next Monday. Easy to remember what time to tune in!

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Howard Aggregate’s Late Preview #8

Let the shadow play continue. Because what is radio but a play of sonic shadows, a phantasm, all in the mind? How do we know radio is real? Is it a shared illusion, a form of mass audio hypnosis?

That’s the question posed and in all likelihood answered by the Resonance philosophical round table, Radio God, later tonight. In a new departure for the show (and the station) presenter Andrey Bendwick-Hogspawm will be testing his theory of radio’s illusoriness by not broadcasting the show. Instead Andrey will think it into existence, free of the constraints of equipment, engineers, electricity. He will in fact not be turning up at the studio, and has told regular panel guests Hank and Loretta Schnorbitz that the show is being broadcasted live from the Derek Jarman Memorial Home from Home Mobile Home Home just outside Dungeness. They should be arriving about now.

You, the listener, are invited to contact Andrey during and after the show to tell him what you think of his great thought experiment. Has it worked? Are radio waves fiction or fact? Are episodes of early Resonance programming now drifting past Proxima Centauri? Is that where they came from in the first place? And if radio was a grand aural sham after all, then is telepathy a reality? And if it is, am I going to have to stop thinking about – well, am I going to have to stop thinking?

There is a drawback to contacting the show. Andrey’s doesn’t  believe the internet is real. So even if you want to, there’s not much point sending an email to bendhog@bendhog.moc. As for texting him, well, he never liked mobile phones and don’t even think about sending a letter because he won’t reveal his address in case it’s raided by the thought-bailiffs. Find out if Radio God is just dead air or not later tonight.

Truth and reality collide yet again – with reality coming off worse and lying bleeding on the road for hours before an ambulance is called – on Saturday. That’s the day when all usual Resonance programming is cast aside to make way for Phantom Raspberry Blower Day. This is a unique celebration of the character created by Spike Milligan and made mildly famous by the Two Ronnies in the mid-seventies. For those of you who don’t know, the Blower terrorised Victorian London by repeatedly raising his cape in polite society and making a rude noise. There are programmes looking at the social implications of public raspberrying in nineteenth century Britain plus a special hour long feature on capes of the V+A, particularly the blackest, swishiest and those with the shot-silk purple lining villains preferred.

There’s also Aoki Ampersand’s stunning two-hour long slow-motion recording of a raspeberry blown in 1978 by a Stockport centenarian, believed to be Britain’s oldest raspberry blower. Some might say that he was the Phantom Raspberry Blower, he certainly was old enough!

If you think along those lines be sure to catch the late night round table discussion Who Was the Phantom Raspberry Blower of Olde London Towne? This is where a collection of historical crime writers and assorted Victoriana malfeasance mongers tackle the Blower with the wild and frankly unsettling passion usually reserved for discussions of Jack the Ripper.  There’ll be contributions from Frank Fetid, bespoke blade-maker at whitechapelhistoricalcutters.com (forward slash, forward slash, forward slash) and noted crime novelist Tabitha Tapped, author of Was Jack the Ripper Gandhi?

That discussion will probably overrun by hours, but persevere because it will be followed by Marcus Hoopla’s updating of the Blower legend to the 1950’s. Instead of foggy London, Hoopla transposes the arena of lip-flubbering, sputum-hurling dastardliness to the bloody end of French colonial rule in Algeria. He takes the 1966 Giulio Pontecorvo film, Battle of Algiers and subjects it’s soundscape of French paratroopers loud-hailering their holed-up rebel adversaries and stirring Ennio Morricone score to regular interruptions of what the OED defines as ‘a sound made with the tongue and lips expressing derision and contempt’. If you think that sounds bad, you should hear his Death in Venice.

If you think gLASSsHRIMP is bad, then all we can say to you is BLEEEUURRRGHHH!

Howard Aggregate’s Late Preview #7

It was all going so well. Last week representatives of BBC Radio and Resonance agreed to exchange schedules. It was a broadcasting coup described by the Guardian as ‘like the British Museum handing the keys of its collection to the local charity shop and getting a wonky CD rack in return’. (The future of the museum space in the 21st Century? Send your views to director@bm.ac.uk or donate your Assyrian breastplate to Oxfam, Bloomsbury Street.)

To the venerable Beeb, Resonance offered up programmes such as Laun-drama, a late-night soap-opera of tall stories and nylon knickers recorded from the drum of a Hotpoint set to wash’n’go. Desperate to keep the bohemians from the World Service, the Beeb handed Resonance the keys to the Radio Four audio jewel box. Do what you like with it, they said; funk it up if you think that’s cool, daddio. And those jewels were promptly flushed down the toilet.

Was this the effrontery you would expect from a radio station described by Radio Times as ‘a shipwrecked Radio Caroline, a rogue radio landing craft on the Normandy beachhead of audio extremity, cower in your bunker, listener, and be afraid’? No, it was because we couldn’t spell. The schedule had been put through the Resonance computer equivalent of spellcheck: slopchick, aka intern-from-hell Polly Schedule-Filler. So you can start the day with the To Do programme, listen to Melvyn Barg’s In Our Crime, and then puzzle over Disturbed Island Discs and round off the day with Book at Bogtime.

Somehow, the title of The Archers survived intact. But an everyday story of simple folk didn’t mean much at Resonance, so the programme was revamped as a radiophonic celebration of bow and arrows. In the beginning is the slow yearning draw of the bow, followed by the exquisitely agonising prevarication as the archer takes aim. Then, with a fusion of bow and bicep and two fingers sticking it to you, the arrow is at last hurled into the yielding currents of summer air, its whistling arc inevitably recalling Agincourt (to get you in a patriotic mood, Vaughan Williams is played in the background), ending in the deep bass thud of the cleave’d bulls-eye.

But it doesn’t quite sound like that. Had it been put together by the BBC, the recording equipment would have been miniaturised, feather-light pinhole technology borrowed from the Oxbridge chums of the programme makers who now work for MI6, and would barely affect the aerodynamic performance of the arra’. As this is Resonance, all that was available was a post-war reel-to-reel withdrawn in the early sixties because each unit contained more lead than all of Cornwall. You do get Vaughan Williams, but it’s played backwards. So what you hear is someone falling over while listening to what sounds like someone with chronic constipation trying to say the Lord’s Prayer backwards.

Back to normal next week. Phew!

Howard Aggregate’s Late Preview #5

This week, due to new economic realities, notably Kev’s pension pot (trough is a more accurate word), you may notice some unobtrusive sponsorship on Late Preview. Should there be any contravention of the broadcasting regulations, I’ve tasked our new volunteer, Polly Schedule-Filler, to get the lowdown from OFCOM. 

Does A Black Sedan, a Cheap Motel, a Gun and a Tired Brunette sound like the essence of fifties American film noir to you? If so, brace yourself, because that’s the title of tomorrow morning’s urban orienteering feature broadcast live from south London. Listen to the intrepid adventurers as they forget to top up their Oyster cards, ask tourists for maps and wind up in the tastier gambling dens of Balham staring into the wrong end of a Glock. (The term ‘gun’ has now been modified so that it includes one of those DIY affairs that spews roofing mastic over your carpet.) If you’re listening in the car, and you’ve been dumped, and maybe you’ve been thrown out of the house, don’t kip in the Peugeot, check into the Tulse Hill Mope Motel. ‘If you’re feeling lonely, and you’ve got no place to dwell, weekend rates start at £40 and there’s porn on ca-ble.’ (Supplements apply.) 

On Thursday our very own avant garde estate agent Les Beesley hosts a show tailored exclusively to the housing needs of the 104.4FM listenership. This week Des Res Les comes down our way, trawling Borough High Street where a key property portfolio is – literally – at his feet. Thanks to the magic of radio and 80% proof Nigerian vodka, discarded boxes are transformed into funky and affordable pieds-a-terre with – literally – stunning views across the London tarmac. Les Beesley’s Avant Garde Estate Agency: for all your conveyancing needs. (Provided all you’re conveying is empty boxes from one side of the road to the other.)

Thanks to Polly, there’s nothing on at all this Friday. If that’s enough to drive you out of the Mope Motel and into something more permanent, make sure that before you do, you check out the funerary sensation that is Concrete Underground dot com. Concrete Underground: bringing the good news of reclaimed concrete coffins, mausolea and subterranean pillbox burial chambers to west London and beyond. Just mention my name for an 8% discount!

The Last Editing Suite on the Left is Saturday’s radio industry-set live interactive horror. Described as not so much a whodunnit, more a whogetsit, Editing Suite is snuff-audio where you, the listener, vote for which cast member is killed for real by the feral engineer who lurks in the basement listening to Slayer. Like Polly, he thought that working for nothing at Resonance was a sure springboard to the BBC. Unlike Polly, he could assemble a schedule as well as a torture chamber and wouldn’t put a show like this on at five in the morning. Graduating with a 2:1:2 in Graphic Equalization, Polly Schedule-Filler is passionate about radio showjumping and believes public school accents should always read the news; otherwise, she asks, how will we know the news is true? Experimented into existence at the Porton Down Grindcore Festival in 1989 , Grunt the Psycho Troll-Engineer would like to do unmentionable things to Kirsty Young on a desert island. Unmentionable not because of OFCOM or my own squeamishness, but because he didn’t pay premium rates.

To anyone wanting to know if they can advertise on Resonance 104.4 FM despite our charitable status (please donate via Paypal on our website resonancefm.com) I say to you: would you like a chicken tikka double mayo bap? Because that’s what Polly’s come back to me with, plus a message that the corner shop was out of Gatorade. But it doesn’t matter, because according to this text from Polly’s fiancee Tristram at Coopers and Lybrand, we’re going to be nationalised. That’s right, even charities aren’t immune from the current financial meltdown. British Resonance will start broadcasting on Monday, probably from a disused steel plant outside Corby. Expect a lot more Calling All Pensioners.

Howard Aggregate’s Late Preview #4

Every day hundreds of thousands of CD’s from budding acts all over the world are thrust through the Resonance letter box. The senders hope that their songs, shanties, dirges, operas, poems, recordings of supposedly secret telephone conversations between the Vatican and the talking monkeys of Hunan Province – plus the usual death threats – will be given an airing. They will be, but not necessarily in the way they hope, thanks to self-styled mega-mobilists the Haboob Brothers. Tonight they will be broadcasting the sound of their latest mega-mobile, made of these millions of plastic roundels, as it hangs twenty-five miles above the Libyan Sahara denying sunlight to a broad swathe of humanity from Cairo to Kohlkatta. Transmission will end at around 4am GMT when the mobile is scheduled to be destroyed by the first demonstration of the US military’s Star Wars programme. Check out the webcam at disco_inferno/pentagon. gov

Unlike other programmes recalling the death of the dramatist ten years ago, Wednesday morning’s I Knew Sarah Kane has no relevance to the short life of the writer of Blasted and Psychosis 4:48. Instead it interviews other people called Sarah Kane, almost all of whom have no connection with the theatre. This week presenter Charles Foster meets a former Supasnaps manager who talks of spending her redundancy on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday in Corfu. In another intriguing twist, Sarah reveals that she changed her mind at the last minute and stayed at home eating 240 tins of short-dated bacon and mushroom toast toppers.

Continuing its run on Wednesday is Minou Elastoplast’s Make Your Own Damn Heart Bypass. This week, listen to part 4 of Minou’s live on-air auto-op performed entirely with chopsticks and a brillo pad. See radiographs of her post-op aorta at minousmediporn/nhs.org. There’ll also be an interview with Randy, the first racoon to graduate from Guy’s Teaching Hospital.

Ground Floor Telephones, Gents Ready Made Suits, Shirts, Socks, Ties, Hats, Underwear and Shoes, Going Up, bills itself as ‘eBay for the airwaves’ (or would do if the title didn’t take up so much space on the web listings). Broadcast live from Petticoat Lane, it’s presented by former department store employees, all of whom have been sacked for pilfering and then ridiculed by appeals tribunals for the crapness of their pilfered items. Forget iPods, Duchamp ties and Lulu Guinness bags. Tune in on Friday for a chance to purchase: Moldovan cologne in 25 litre jerry cans, mis-spelled Valentine’s Day stationary in various shades of brown, and non-matching nylon socks (three for the price of two).

The Resonance On-air Dictionary Of Pretentious Art Events (RODOPAE) has reached the letter F. And as we all know F is for Fake, but this Monday’s featured show was – as public health records attest – all too genuine. In July 1998, following a multi-million pound conversion from a sugar refinery into an art gallery, Tate East Anglia opened with the controversial, ‘The Flowers are Farting: Power Spreads like Diahrroea.’ Soon after this notorious display of mechanically retrieved pig’s intestines, animated with vacuum cleaners and dressed in suede tabards to resemble bankers of 15th Century Ipswich, TEA closed for good. RODOPAE talks to the curator, the artist, and the ratcatchers.

Howard Aggregate’s Late Preview #3

Why is Resonance So Weird? is our self-critical round table discussion chaired each week by a different bewildered parent, mystified partner, or downright scared flatmate. On tonight’s programme the question is posed by Mrs. Ann Harley of Stevenage, mother of Resonance DJ Renal Failure – whom you may remember as the presenter of 2005’s late night atonalist round-up Uhhhhhhh. Trying to formulate an answer will be Mimi McDarmstadt, host of Friday afternoon’s deconstructionist Stylophone extravaganza De Stijl, and Ken Bruce from BBC Radio 2.

Wednesday’s drive-time easy listening slot Tunguska Topographies is now in its tenth year. It’s aim is to recreate in the mind of the listener the experience of being present at the meteorite explosion over Siberia in 1908. As this is the event’s centenary the programme promises a ‘cerebral-cortex splitting grinding noise’ on continuous loop from approximately 5.15 to 7.30. Among other featured sound effects will be old favourites such as screeching falling timber, birds on fire, and boiling mud. All recreated live on the factory alert settings of a 1992 Mac. Incredible.

Following the success of last summer’s Free University of the Airwaves, the Broadcastable Kindergarten pitter-patters its tiny feet onto the schedule this Thursday morning. Presenters Max Herod and Myra X will be introducing their own music and movement classes for 2-4+1/2 year olds using a variety of Krautrock and Extreme Metal. There’ll be storytelling from The Gargoyle Brethren with help from Fang the Pit Bull. There’s also a special one-off twenty minute feature, Electric Circuit Assembly Toddler Bathtime Apocalypse. This is presented by a man who likes to dress up as a Portuguese Man’O War and sing the theme music from The Banana Splits in reverse.

Sadly, Resonance’s Saturday morning breakfast cookery programme Fry Up Your Ears has had to be taken out of the scheduling for 2009 due to complications at the ENT clinic. This will be replaced on Friday nights with The Sausage Roll Museum. Aimed at late night microwave devotees, the programme will include instructions on how to assemble your own microwave from debris scattered at traffic accidents, and how to similarly assemble your own sausage roll. Yum.

Sunday morning has long held a special place in the Resonance week, but this Sunday is a glaring exception because the slot’s been given over to a rambling, self-promoting, Chas and Dave playing, narcissistic farrago of on-air tedium presented by my very own inner idiot, Howard Kryptonite. If you’re awake, and take it from me you soon won’t be, you might prefer listening to BBC Radio 3’s Live Hymns from Kettering. Register your disapproval of my inner idiot by signing the online petition at aggregatebeatskryptonite.org, and don’t forget to tune into those hymns.

Next week Resonance makes another dive into the world of the visual arts, a variety of programming previously represented by shows such as 2004’s radical-feminist Slash that Venus. Cutting in a different sense is Monday’s Scarfe-Face. Presenter and Private Eye drinks party gatecrasher Raymond Gill recites captions from his favourite political cartoons, all taken from obscure and short-lived Eighteenth Century journals. If you would like to access an on-line gallery so you can see the cartoon to which the caption fits, forget it. Quoting a caption from 1793 edition of Brown Dwarf, a Dumfries-shire Jacobin publication, he says: ‘What are ye looking at, ye stinkin’ mushroom o’ the clergy and foot-licker o’ the high-born numptie princes born from oot the bowels o’ Satan himsel’, eh, Lady McPherson?’

After the success of our email alerts (sign up on whyonearthwouldanyonelistentothat.com) this week sees an expansion of the Resonance service base. From Monday London’s finest radio station will be providing a very special early morning wake up call. Developed in the secret underground Reso Lab, it’s aimed at people who feel the need to explode from relaxing slumbers to the sound of something so mind-shakingly awful that nothing they face in the remainder of the day could possibly seem half as bad. Choose from a menu featuring Maribou Stork Techno nightmare-hell-on-Earth, Hammond Organ meets Hadron Collider, and Manhattan Transfer tribute band Croydon Tramway Day Pass singing Chanson d’Amour. Then before you hit the sack make sure your bedside trannie – better still a surround sound quadrophonic speaker system – is tuned to 104.4FM and the next thing you know you’ll be trying to bite off your own ears. Free with every Paypal donation of more than £7000.

Howard Aggregate’s Late Preview #2

Going head-to-head with Radio 4’s Today programme is Resonance’s new current affairs and Ouija board breakfast time flagship, Sir Ted Heath, is that You? Given the preference of living politicians for appearing on the BBC, Resonance has decided to push the envelope of political debate into the afterlife. Sir Ted Heath, is that You? seeks a spiritualistic confab with the movers and shakers of yesteryear in the hope they can offer insight into our credit-crunched world. No self-respecting minister you’ve ever heard of would appear on Resonance alive or dead, so tomorrow morning you’ll hear an interview with former Under-Secretary for the Prevention of Anatolian Soil Erosion, Urgit Burusalan, 1876-1935. Asked for his views on fluctuations in Chinese asset liquidity, he instead warns a woman called Sarap about a box under her kitchen floor.

On Thursday evening, Location, Location, Oh My God The House is Being Attacked by Zombies, is now in its fourth series. Presented by an incredibly strange creature whose name I forget, the show tells you how to modify your house so that you and your family can stay safe whilst under siege from the post-human cannibal horde. This week’s edition road tests zombie-resistant double-glazing as well as a revolutionary basement whose designers claim it’s as safe from the reanimated brain-eaters as any attic.

Radio palmistry enjoyed something of a vogue when wireless sets first became affordable in the 1920’s, and it’s making a comeback with a new Friday afternoon series, Cross My Tweeter with Silver. Presenter Venus Mound wants you to put your hand to the speaker (or the computer screen if you’re listening via the internet on resonancefm.com) and hear how long you have to wait before you meet a mysterious stranger, get rich, and die in old age.

On Saturday, don’t forget to tune into Resonance’s Valentine’s day vampire special, broadcast live from Highgate Cemetery. Presented by Glass Shrimp’s own Kev the Dead, the programme explores such diverse vampire-related topics as the pros and cons of DIY laser fang sharpening, asks whether breaking into an NHS or private bloodbank is a class or plasma issue, and looks forward to this year’s Crypt Open Day. There’ll also be a feature on the new Wi-Fi enabled Swedish flat pack coffins. And as it’s a romantic occasion, there’ll be a live virgin throat tearing. (To confound the Health and Safety, law and order, Good over Evil types, this will be phoned-in from a mystery cemetery somewhere in eastern Hungary.)

Astrological fascism is the theme of this week’s Sunday Morning Lecture. North Sea Oil rig ‘copter repairman and British Astrological Association member Pete Crumley advances his controversial view of Virgo supremacy. Describing himself as ‘an extreme August twenty-eight-er’, Pete believes that non-Virgans such as Pisces and Cancerians should live under the sea where they belong, while Aquarians should be confined to giant rigs in the middle of nowhere. Librans, Capricorns and Sagittarians he wants to put in special helicopters that fly to the Moon and don’t come back. All other star signs will be immersed in tanks of oil and made to swim the butterfly. (Non-swimmers, more than likely Scorpios, will be given proper training.) Following this purge of the zodiac undesirables, Pete prophesies a radiant future for the Virgan overlords and ladies, who will find that they relate to each other in unexpected ways while events from the recent past reveal themselves in a new light.

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