Back in 2005–6, i co-presented a radio show on Glasgow Uni's Sub City station with Lachlann Rattray (aka half of Gay Against You1, aka art wizard Cliff Lipp). Our show was called Fisting for Compliments, except for the first week we were on air while the radio station was still debating whether to let us use the name Fisting for Compliments, when we temporarily used the name 2 Guys from Kabul.
freeform ethos. Between songs we would mostly deploy non-sequiturs, wordplay and eyebrow-raising in-jokes, rave enthusiastically about the music we were playing, mock the limitations of the radio station's equipment, mock the people who emailed into our show to complain, mock the foibles of university current affairs, mock people in the news, and read out stuff we'd found interesting on the internet. Along the way, we also got to interview Andy Falkous from McLusky, and Tim Smith and Kavus Torabi from our all-time heroes Cardiacs, who were immensely nice.
The first series shows were an hour long and went out incongruously on a Thursday morning. The second series expanded to a full two hours and went out on Saturday night (since i'd moved away from Glasgow by that point, and had to drive 250 miles up there each week). Generally we would pick half the show's music each, and play alternate selections by each of us, or occasionally blocks of two records each. We had a variety of special features: "The Iron Fist" (fairly frequent), a two-record block of the week's most offensively harsh or noisy records, "The Pleasing Sandwich" (less frequent), a series of very short tracks played in quick succession and themed around popular sandwich fillings, and the very sporadic "Black Sabbath Songs Sound Better When Played By Somebody Else". Anyway, we started off pretty amateurishly and got better at it as we went along.
We were still pretty surprised when station management told us we'd been nominated for a national Student Radio Award. Who, us? Surely we took the piss and alienated people too much, and played way too unfriendly music? Apparently not. We were nominated in the category of "Best Entertainment Programme", which we thought was pretty strange, since we'd always considered ourselves a specialist music show. The radio station said no, our eclecticism meant we couldn't be considered specialist in any type of music. We argued that the eclecticism was the speciality. i still think that (a) we were completely right about this point; and (b) we would probably have had a better chance of actually getting an award if we'd been in the "Best Specialist Programming" category. Needless to say, we didn't win, of course. Then again, i recently rediscovered the following sound file, a short showreel we had to submit to the Student Radio Award judging panel to give a flavour of our show, and listening to it again, you can maybe kind of see their point.2
Nonetheless, these shows were one of the most fun things i've ever done in my life. Along with this showreel, i also found six complete Fisting for Compliments shows, which i'll be posting up here in the coming weeks. i've also got a lot of MiniDiscs3 from the period (onto which every show was recorded live), so with any luck, i'll be able to get hold of an MD player and some kind of digital nutcracker device which i can use to extract even more shows from those.
mp3: Fisting for Compliments – "The Best of... Chat"
1 The other half of the same group, Joe, would sit in from time to time, too.
2 Not sure what my Chris Morris bite at the end is all about – whether it was conscious or unconscious, or indeed, what purpose it was meant to serve. Doesn't really work at all in any way i can see. Weird. Oh well.
3 The nineties Betamax.
John Peel - 30th March 1996
12 hours ago