I left 6 years as a boarder of Rockwell College in Tipperary
in 1978, I wanted to pursue a career in film, either as an
actor, scriptwriter, or in special effects. I was, by then,
heady with Lucas's Star Wars, and reading James Herbert, Stephen
King et al.
Music-wise, I was listening to the Human League's Travelogue,
bleaching my hair bi-weekly a prism of organic shades, had
a cassette tape collection of works touched by the electronic
wizardry of Vince Clarke, and was prancing about as a dancer
on an RTE set for a music show called Mega Mix aired live
each week from Christ Church. I had received an award from
the BBC after a short film I had made was featured on John
Craven's Screen Test. John Boorman, Seamus Smith, and other
prominent figures of the Irish film industry at Ardmore Studios
had written letters to me re. My films, which gave me the
encouragement to continue in filmmaking. And amidst all of
this, came radio, somehow, like the bug it is
deadly bite. I was studying for a B.A. in English at UCD and
for a BSc in Design at the National College of Art and Design
on Thomas Street in Dublin. The latter, I thought, would eventually
provide me with Industrial Design skills, a skill that would
put me in good stead as I dreamed of heading off to Hollywood
to work in special effects. Though already on-air, and three
years involved in it, a 'career' in radio hadn't figured in
my mind. Film was 'it' for me, not radio at all. With a road
to 'film' unfolding before me
you could say, radio found
radio bug bit me in the mid to late seventies, depositing
its infectious serum (poison?) unceremoniously into my veins
at a sixteenth birthday party on Monastery Drive in Clondalkin,
of all places. The village was then a lazy, quiet spot
a round tower, a local butcher, a wonderful old cinema, and
a semi-rural atmosphere. A school days pal of my sister, Liz,
was throwing herself a 16th bash. Her parents were away, and
she turned her mothers tidy front room into a disco for the
night. Everyone seemed to have been invited, but I.
got wind that a 'celebrated' disc jockey was to be hired for
the bash, for Liz was Liz, and no one short of some notoriety
would do. Everyone knew of him
. Steve Jones of Radio
City was broadcasting right on Capel Street. In those early
days, City was 'it'
popular and cool, edgy and fringy.
Radio Dublin, Radio City, and Big D were up and running, were
in their prime, and were competing for listenership. I was
not invited to the birthday party, but got in anyway, as you
might, through stealth's door. Decks, speakers, and an array
of flashing lights had been set up. And at the back wall,
a well-worn poster sellotaped to the wallpaper announcing
Radio City's Steve Jones. The place was jammed with people,
hived-in like hail stones in a pothole. When Jones arrived
in a white van, all hell broke loose, such was his celebrity.
He was one of Radio City's top jocks at the time, and I was
curiously taken in by the attention he was receiving at the
party. That was the very moment I wanted to get into radio.
Like all of us
. a performer was lurking inside of me.
Like all of us
I was craving the attention broadcasting
satisfies, to some degree.
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