Would the last radio anorak please turn out the light

It probably was a very long time ago, but it doesn’t feel like a long time ago, that the people I now only know via the internet were people I knew in real life.  I’m talking of course only about the radio ‘anoraks’.  These are the folks who were involved in pirate radio broadcasting, either at the front end actually doing it or by being super-fans who would live, breath and die pirate radio as listeners.

Have they spotted the pirate radio transmitting aerial yet?

With Faceborg assimilating the internet and so all of them appearing on it, I get to see these ‘anoraks’ a lot more than I have done for many a decade.  I can spy on them and what they are up to.

Now, these are the people who were the early adopters, the people who would excitedly try out the new frontiers, whether that be in communicating to the masses via new ideas like satellite television, or new ways of presenting radio programming, or anything inbetween.

Gadgets were the thing.

‘Tech’ was something that was fast developing and ‘anoraks’ were there too.

When it came to radio, these same ‘anoraks’ also wanted the latest ideas, wanted to hear the new songs and the hits of tomorrow today.

Then suddenly they, one by one, very strangely got frozen in time.

First thing to go was their interest in anything new music-wise.  They wanted, demanded even, to hear the same songs over and over again.

Where once they excitedly revelled in pirate radio, now they would pass sneering judgements on the pirate radio stations and openly wail for the stations from the past to come back.

Indeed, those that still dared, would join the modern day pirate radio stations by providing their own.  However, far from being innovative, alive and sounding fresh and new as pirate radio usually does, they would replicate the sound of a station that used to broadcast when they were 11 years old.  Indeed, some would go to all the bother of setting up a transmitter in order to re-broadcast 30 year-old tapes of now long gone radio stations.  What a waste!

Eventually, they became far too scared or unable to do this, so the majority turned to internet only stations, streaming their radio stations to the 1 or 2 friends who would bother to tune in.  The lack of innovation meant they’d even use the names of long dead pirate stations as their call-sign, and even though they had absolutely no connection, would almost trade on being some bizarre form of reincarnation of the original.

On the tech side they stopped embracing new advancements and technologies.  Where once they’d been out there buying the latest this or that, or upgrading so they had a faster, clearer, better widget, they would again sneer at anything new and started collecting equipment from before they were born, pretending that nothing was changing and it was all a fad, a horrible dream, that would go away just as soon as they could wake up.  At this point it seems they become miserable and terminally grumpy.

Once they’d discovered discussions on the internet, and discovered that to a degree a person could be anonymous, and couldn’t be brought to account for whatever they said, they sought out other ‘anoraks’ and would sit there trolling, snarking and moaning at anybody who dared have a good word to say about the modern day.  From the comfort of their ‘anonymous’ armchairs they’d conduct cruel and vicious campaigns against other ‘anoraks’ who had dared to have different views to their own.

Slowly however, death or dementia silenced them and they started to drop off like flies.  Death seemed to visit the most trolly, snarky and moany ones first.  I can only speculate that they were always so angry and upset about everything that their hearts seized or the veins in their foreheads burst.  Or maybe they accidentally choked by swallowing their own bile.  Whatever the causes, the majority of them have now gone.

This mainly leaves only the very few radio ‘anoraks’ that were once fighting for the right to brighten the here and now with glimpses of the future.  Like the old worn-out murderers from the IRA that morphed into politicians, they mellowed slightly and stopped their ‘direct action’, preferring to become an insignificant part of the mainstream of the society they once stood out from, by joining radio stations that nobody really listens to and becoming an insignificant part of the wallpaper.

Generally speaking, the majority of the ‘anoraks’ haven’t got more than a decade or so left before death or dementia silences them too.  In so many ways, that’s quite sad, because in their day, ‘anoraks’ were exciting and interesting people brought together by a single passion for change and innovation.  Watching that passion die and get replaced by a devotion to the past is like watching an elderly relative slowly give up and die.