“He just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich.”
Late Sunday afternoons at the turn of the ‘80s. 5 to 7pm. Fingers poised over the Play and Record buttons of my tape recorder. Which is pressed up against the single speaker of my AM radio. (We’re still a few years away from built-in stereo systems in my house.) All set for ‘the nation’s favourite countdown’ with Tony Blackburn on Radio One.
There I would be week in, week out. Systematically killing music by home taping all my favourite Top 40 songs. In mono. Over a distorted speaker. With Tony Blackburn speaking over all the intros and outros. And my Mum calling me down for dinner half-way through whatever was number one that week.
By my side would be my trusty Star Wars A4 notebook. Where I would jot down each chart act, song and position. Highlighting new entries. And indicating what was going up and what was going down. And by how many places. In different inks. All ready to be cross-referenced across weeks and months and years. An invaluable activity, I think you’d agree - and not at all related to my OCD.
As my musical tastes transformed in my teens (see every other post on this blog), I outgrew this weekly chart show ritual. And I went from the constant childhood excitement you get from liking almost every song in the chart, to the rare gothic thrill you’d get from hearing any of your bands getting played on the radio at all. And then I discovered the John Peel Show. But that’s for another post on another day. (Ooh, it’s like a cliffhanger. Except not quite.)