Tuesday, 20 April 2010

The Wireless - Post 151

Source: Wiki Commons

The word wireless means something totally different today to what it meant to me when I was growing up. It's an adjective today, when I was little it was a noun. The wireless was what's called radio today. Well most people call it radio. I don't, mostly I still call it the wireless.

I started wondering why it was called a wireless when it still had wires. So I looked it up and found some interesting stuff about it.

Apparently there's confusion over who invented radio, which at the time was apparently called wireless telegraphy, so understandably they shortened it to "wireless".

"Radio is the wireless transmission of signals, by modulation of electromagnetic waves with frequencies below those of light."
However, it still needed to be plugged in!

When I was little we used to listen to the wireless all the time, well we didn't have a telly until after the Coronation in 1953. Even after that we still listened to the wireless a lot as the telly programmes were only on in the evening.

My memories of listening to the wireless are mainly of Sundays after we'd been to church. Mam would be preparing the Sunday dinner, (we didn't call it lunch) and the wireless was always tuned to the BBC Light programme, (now Radio 2). The sounds and the smells of those Sundays are some of my strongest and happiest memories of my youth.

First was Two Way Family Favourites which had started life as Forces Favourites. It was a great request programme with Jean Metcalfe and Cliff Mitchelmore. There were other presenters but those two are the ones that stay in my mind. It must have had the most famous introduction to a British radio programme ever:

"The time in Britain is twelve noon, in Germany it's one o'clock, but home and away it's time for Two-Way Family Favourites".

Take a trip down memory lane with that famous theme music "With a Song in My Heart".

Don't know why they don't resurrect it again for the forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Would go down a treat. Crumbs, I nearly said bomb!

There were other programmes such as The Billy Cotton Band Show and The Clitheroe Kid. However my favourite out of all of them was Round The Horne. I laughed 'til I cried listening to this.

It was absolutely wild and brilliant comedy, written by Marty Feldman and Barry Took. I'm sure the Python Team must have been influenced by it.

Rambling Syd Rumpold was one of my favourites. Here's a video clip of Kenneth Williams on the Michael Parkinson Show. He's one of the funniest people I've ever seen or heard. However I still think it was funnier on the wireless where you had to imagine all the visuals.



I think we laughed because we couldn't understand half of it. The double entendres went right over our heads. I wonder if that's how it got past the powers that be in the BBC. My Mam would have turned it off if she had understood what they were saying. We were obviously very naive back then. I grew up pretty clueless as she always switched off the telly if anything even slightly risque came on.

Here's an example of what now seems very rude. It's Julian and Sandy ( Kenneth Williams and Hugh Paddick) with Keep Britain Bona. Very topical with the General Election coming up!


It could never be broadcast now, too politically incorrect, although you can buy the CDs. Not all of the stuff is so rude. There's a brilliant skit on the BBC where they recruit Kenneth Williams for a BBC job. Great to listen to when you're bored. Maybe sitting in an airport? Really makes me laugh 'til I cry, partly through nostalgia no doubt.

I really miss those Sundays and the two Kenneths, bless them. Thank goodness for the wireless, it takes me back to a really happy time. I often wish I could go back there, just for the day.

Post 151

Still Knitting!

I'm beginning to think I'm being a bit addicted to knitting. Normally I can just stop to do a bit of housework but at the moment ...