Hello from Mike

Hello everybody… and welcome to Mike’s Music Sh….oh, hang on a minute. This is the blog isn’t it. Sorry, force of habit. 

So how did I get here? Well, that’s a very good question and probably includes alcohol, some measure of post-war freedom and a great lack of foresight on the part of my parents. But that’s another story, for another time perhaps. For now, I will just say that one fine day more recently our illustrious leader Roy said, “Hey Mike, Why don’t you write something for the Blog?” I replied in a grovelling tone, “Yes, of course Sir”. Basically, because I knew we were both getting on a bit and I was hoping one (or both) of us would probably forget the conversation. Unfortunately, he didn’t, so here we are. Don’t worry, I will not bore you with my life history. None of us want that. I will instead confine my first blog entry to OTBR matters. 

In essence, my OTBR experience started (as far as I can recall) in the summer of 2019 when I was standing in a local ale house watching my nephew’s band play. As their set continued a nice man called Mick politely offered me a seat next to him and his good lady wife. As I had been on my feet for a while, I accepted his kind offer and over a few pints in the next hour or two we listened to ‘The Crows’, a fine band if ever there was one (OK, a shameless plug but the drummer is my nephew, so “Ner, ner, ner, ner, ner”) and discovered we both had a great interest in music. Mick had worked with Roy for eons and they had now set up OTBR – and I had loved all types of music since I was a toddler back in the dark ages. At some point, I casually mentioned I was looking for something sensible to fill my spare time and, at another point, Mick casually mentioned they were looking for some new DJ’s. At a third point, through the alcoholic haze it dawned on both of us there might be some common ground here. This was, I think, the prompt for Mick to suggest we meet again, together with Roy. I was happy at this suggestion as I indeed had some spare time on my hands having recently moved back to this beautiful part of the world. Plus, I had gained a little experience of such things having once been a pub/club/Wine Bar DJ at various times way back in the annuls of UK history. Suffice it to say music is something that is close to both our hearts. 

Before I knew what was happening I was meeting with Mick and Roy and we were, once more, sitting in the local ale house talking music. The upshot of all this talking (and alcohol) was my arrival at OTBR and the birth of ‘Mike’s Music Show’. Well, to be truthful, I think Mick’s Pink Floyd T-Shirt also had an influence on the matter. I’m afraid Roy’s T-Shirt is now but a haze somewhere in my brain that I can no longer access. But it may return one day. My brain (like other’s of my age) sometimes works like that. I’m sure it was something really classy anyway (he said quickly trying to redeem himself). 

Briefly, I have to say it has been an enjoyable journey thus far. Having chosen such an eventful time to commence my radio life has been a challenge in many ways. And yet, the perceived indomitable sense of “We will keep going come what may” from the OTBR family rubs off on you very quickly. And I have to say it has been an enjoyable journey so far. Having chosen such an eventful year to commence my radio life has been a challenge in many ways… what? I’ve already said that. Ah, sorry. Did I tell you about my brain? It’s the first sign of madness you know. Well, actually, that’s not true. The first sign of Madness is Suggs walking up your drive! Boom, Boom.

Mike's Music Show - Thursday at 9pm

OK, for those of you that may be new to OTBR, Mike’s Music Show is broadcast on a Thursday evening at 9.00PM and repeated on Fridays and Sundays. Just check the weekly schedule for timings of all shows. And, like the other OTBR shows, Mike’s Music Show is purely dedicated to playing good music. Full stop. I care not about age or specific genre. So if you tune in, you may well hear anything from 50’s Rock n Roll, to last week’s latest single by whoever. Anything from Luther Vandross to Yes, from Tony Bennett to Iron Maiden. If it’s good music, and I have it, I’ll play it. All of which (I hope) gives fair consideration to the subjective nature of the business. I’ve long since realised that where music is concerned, the wonderful thing is…. it doesn’t matter whether you are old or young; whether the artist is current or not; whether the song was created in 1960 or 2021… It’s the quality of the music and how it makes you feel that counts!

For the record, (get it?) my show has been likened to Ken Bruce meets The Old Grey Whistle Test meets Top Of The Pops hosted by a mad professor. To be honest, that’s probably a fairly accurate assessment. Well, the mad professor bit anyway. I dream of walking in the other exulted circles. On the plus side, I do like to throw in plenty of info and musical stats and the odd guest has been known to arrive unannounced. Odd being the operative word. Oh, and I do tell the occasional silly joke (snigger). What more can you ask for? Yet, as with all things in life, you won’t know if you like it unless you try it! So, please tune in to Mike’s Music Show if and when you have the time. Or indeed any of the other splendid weekly OTBR shows for that matter. I sincerely hope you won’t be disappointed either way. 

Until the next time, remember…… The reason U2 have not found what they are looking for is… the streets have no names!   🙂

Be nice to each other.

Mike

How It All Began

Our latest blog from Jenny Milne

It has been almost a year since I joined Over the Bridge, when Roy very kindly, or misguidedly, gave me the opportunity to start my own radio show. I had wanted to do radio since living in Edinburgh. I nearly got the chance to join Radio Leith just by walking into their studio and asking if they had any positions. I thought I would just be observing DJs, having had no experience before, but little did I know they had had a mass walkout that morning and needed as many presenters to fill the posts as possible. Alas, nothing came of it as the radio station went into liquidation. Anyway, 5 years later I started working in the office space next to Roy, who is known now as Roy Radio in my phone, and I asked if there were any slots available. Last year I got a little more time on my hands as well as I had been furloughed for a short while, and the rest, as they say, is geography! 

I was able to get reacquainted with music, something I had not been able to do for 10 years. Having lived abroad, I have not really engaged with music since 2005. My wardrobe is to be desired too, mainly Eastern European circa 1982. I can tell you all there is to know about German Disco Fox, Italian San Remo, or J-Pop, but British music for the last 15 years…no idea. I travelled with my mp3 player playing the same music for all that time, but I never tired of it. Listening with fresh ears and catching up with the ‘Yoof of today’ has been a huge benefit. Never did I think I would love EDM, classical and death metal. Ok, I am still unsure about the last genre, but I am loving every minute of it! 

I started out with a headset to record my show. I looked like Challenge Anneka and sounded like Frank Sidebottom. A few weeks later I got a Blue Snowball mic and it helped with the recording effect and stopped me sounding like I was in a chopper. Since I have large cheeks, I still sound like I am chewing everlasting gobstoppers, but that will never change. In my crew I have Steve the Producer, who comes on every now and then to discuss politics and current affairs. I have R’Kid, which is my sister who provides gossip and chat. We even have our own money expert, Martine Lewis, played by my good friend, Sarah. 

What gave me the impetus to start this radio show in the first place was seeing many aspiring musician friends being unable to tour and perform due to COVID restrictions. I wanted to provide a platform where people could hear their music and a way for them to get their talent noticed. Selecting the music became more difficult because each week I could have had a huge plethora of music – much too vast to choose from. That is why I decided to do a themed show each week, to focus principally on that week’s topic and deepen my own knowledge of different styles/genres of music. So, that is the story so far. What I have discovered is indeed I do have a face for local radio and a voice for silent movies, but that has never stopped me. What is stopping you?

Jenny

Listen live every Thursday from 7pm and repeated Sunday at 8pm or catch up on Listen Again

Howling Jake’s Caught The Bug (No, Not That One)

So this is my second blog in a matter of just days. I assume it is the novelty that will in time wear off. And thinking about it, really a blog is nothing more than just today’s fancy dan term for collecting and documenting your thoughts and opinions, not unlike writing a diary of yesteryear.

So yesterday I turned 60 years old. A bit of a milestone which puts me in reflective mood. An odd time really because you never actually think of yourself turning, in my case, 60. Forty years ago – where has the time gone – I was a young gun in my twenties doing what 20 year-olds do. Dispatch riding in London, attending music concerts (think the Stray Cats for which I dyed my hair blonde), carefree, few real responsibilities. That’s right, kids, us old guys were young guys once. Back then, I could not imagine myself at 60 just as today, should I get there, I can’t actually think of myself at 70 or 80 years-old for that matter. Try it yourself. Try to imagine an older you – I’ll bet that you can’t.

I think back on the stand out or flash back episodes in my life – seeing the actual Faberge eggs in the Kremlin museum; getting ruined on tequila in a Paris Novotel with work colleagues; getting ruined on grappa in Ravenna with those same work colleagues; an amazing all you can eat steakhouse buffet in Sao Paolo (given back in the day I could eat for England, they didn’t make any profit that night); eating just the biggest burger ever in a greasy spoon café, the Flying Pig, with my work wife Caroline Burden (I took her to all the best places); driving way too fast over the speed bumps into the head office car park of B&Q with good friend Richard Towers; catching the Ferry, sharing a cabin and driving across Holland and into Germany and then back again to Hellaby for a trade show in Frankfurt with kindred spirit Phil Glenister; accompanying Emma Ryde in a mobile product display to customers’ premises; attending Soulla’s wedding to Jim in London on route to America; busting a gut to return from a business trip in America to attend a supplier’s Christmas party because Roy Wood’s Wizzard were booked to play; attending my own wedding to Sandra with best man John Osman; attending Hans Juergen’s 60th birthday party in Germany; pre- and post match beers with Mick Malloy, beardy Phil and Festa  in an Estonian working men’s club near Valley Parade; meeting and marrying soul-mate and wife of 35 years Sandra, having son Howling bambino Samuel and welcoming his girlfriend Howling Ashlee. And the list goes on with so many more memories – 60 years’ worth – that each of us will have.

Am I proud of some of my achievements? Of course. Like getting my MBA to finally prove more to my father – long since passed away by then – than myself that I wasn’t an intellectual failure. Am I ashamed and do I regret some episodes in my life and some of  my behaviour? Hell, yes. Sadly, not all in the past. Still extremely short of patience and language that would surely make a miner blush.

But overall, not unlike the headmaster’s comments on too many of my school reports, “lacks concentration, inclined to be the class clown but on balance not bad maybe but could do better next term”. I am hoping that I have indeed a few more years left in the tank to “do better”. 

And on that pensive note, I will end today’s sermon. If you get chance and have the appetite, why not tune in to my radio show – the First Resort – most Tuesdays from 7-9pm. I am the Most Reverend Howling Jake Ryan. Don’t cry because it’s over, but smile because it happened. And until we meet again, peace be the journey.

Guest blog from Howling Jake Ryan

Don’t worry, we’ll get him the relevant pills when matron comes back. Here’s a guest blog from Howling Jake.

“So, where’s the blog that you promised us on a regular basis?” I asked station manager Roy.

“Point taken,” he replied. “But there is always room for a guest blog, if you feel so inclined,” he politely invited. Walked into that, didn’t I? Tucked up like a kipper, good and proper, as the saying goes. But not one to shirk a challenge, here goes with my first blog for OTB radio – or anywhere for that matter.

No introduction needed? Probably, actually yes as most won’t know me from Adam. But if I say, I am the most Reverend Howling Jake Ryan from the pulpit of love with my mixed and varied bag of musical treats, and on air most Tuesday evenings from 7-9pm that may clarify things – a bit.

So as I approach my 60th birthday – albeit during Lockdown 2 when I had instead planned to celebrate this milestone in Graceland, the home of the King in Memphis – I am in reflective and somewhat irked mood. 

Question. Is it an age thing or a gender thing that makes me go from 0 to “boiling lava” incensed in .4 of a second? I appreciate, of course, that there are far loftier topics to be concerned with (Covid/Brexit/climate change/world peace) and also that we may be getting into “Grumpy Old Man” territory and again that this may also be a bit contentious and inflammatory – but am I being overly judgemental? Is it just me? …

Adult men (mostly) (overweight – often) and (some) women – who frankly should know better – wearing replica football shirts when they are neither playing football nor at a football match. What’s that all about? You go abroad and it’s like spot the Brit. Not hard as he is wearing a Newcastle/Liverpool/Chelsea/Leeds/Celtic/Man U shirt. You stay in the UK, maybe go to a shopping centre, possibly White Rose or further afield for this “shandy-pants southerner and adopted son of Bradford” (I married a West Yorkshire lass) to Meadow Hell in Sheffield (rarely by the way) and guess what, there he is again in his club colours. What is the matter with you, man? Put on a proper shirt. PS – got to love the irony of tubby lads in sporting attire.

And whilst I’m on a roll and pet peeves: Not knowing what you want to order at KFC/Burger King/McDonalds when it’s your turn.  I mean, you’re stood waiting in the line for an age so plenty of time to study the menu – which incidentally hasn’t radically changed since you were 12 (I mean it’s still basically a burger, chips (correction fries) and a coke) – but no, the fellow in front of you only starts to look at the pictures above the server’s head when he’s asked “what can I get you?” And why, when Mr. Uncertain turns round, smiles and apologises for his indecision, do I just politely say: “Don’t worry, take your time, it’s not easy there’s a lot to choose from.”  When really I want to pull his head off and drop kick it over the goal posts and shout “Get out of the queue.” – or again is that just me and maybe a bit extreme. Oh! and then we get into the whole “do you want that super-sized” debate which is when I lose the will to live, rush out of the store, shouting “Kill me now!”

And genuinely, and I really am not a man prone to bursts of extreme violence, but when the “Team Member” (what’s that all about? Corporate speak gone mad) behind the counter at McDonalds corrects you when you order a burger.

Me – nice and polite: I’ll have a burger, regular fries and a regular diet coke to take out, please.

Team Member – with a slightly officious tone but compensated for with a smile like we’re having a joke and both in the know: It’s a Macburger and fries.

Me – count to 10. Eye starting to twitch. Slight hint of menace: I’m sorry. 

Tem Member – slightly less confident now: It’s a Macburger.

Me – with other customers shuffling away from the unbalanced guy in the proper not Bradford City shirt and yet somehow at the same time transfixed, and glued to the episode unfolding in front of them: Oh! Really. It’s a (pause) Macburger and fries. My mistake. And how would you like a Mac finger in the Mac eye?

In truth, as you can probably guess, a.) I’ve watched too many Dirty Harry movies and b.) I have to come clean that I haven’t actually been in a fast food joint in getting on for 10 years but it still stands as a “light the blue touch paper” moment.

And on that angry note, I will end today’s sermon. I am the Most Reverend Howling Jake Ryan. Don’t cry because it’s over, but smile because it happened. And until we meet again, peace be the journey.

Catch up with previous First Resorts on Mixcloud.

This was meant to be a regular thing…

So, let’s do a regular blog we said. Keep listeners up to date with what’s happening at Over The Bridge Radio we said. Keep it brief but entertaining we said. Mmm. It’s been a while, although I suppose, even once a year is keeping it regular so not all bad!

What can I say. We’ve been busy. When we set out to create a radio station we had no idea what the challenges were going to be. I suppose we now know about a few of them. We are just short of 18 months on air now and, so far, we’ve overcome what we in the business call ‘loads of stuff what went wrong’.

One that didn't work
One that didn’t work

The initial challenge was assembling all of the bits of stuff into a working studio. After weeks of head-scratching and trying different combinations we fixed it by getting a man in who knew what he was doing. Thanks Paul.

There has been the on-going battle with temperamental air-conditioning which likes to pretend it is an oven. It certainly keeps us toasty warm in the winter. We also had the PC which decided to join in the fun and fried various bits of itself. That took us off air for a week until Mick got out his trusty hammer and built us a new one from the various bits of kit that lived in a big cardboard box under the table.

Then, in March came the big one in the form of Covid-19. We took the decision early to close the studio to presenters but try to stay on air. With the help of remote access to computers and lots of spare bedrooms being pressed into service as makeshift studios we have produced a regular supply of ‘live’ shows. In fact, two presenters – Jenny (Thursday at 7pm) and Mike (Friday at 7pm) are yet to step into the studio, having joined us during lockdown. I would like to thank everybody for maintaining standards and keeping the music flowing.

We made a first tentative step towards normality when Howling Jake was allowed back into the studio a couple of weeks ago. We are using him as a kind of guinea pig to make sure all is well before the rest of us return. So far, all is well and the disinfecting routine is working (and he enjoys running around in the wheel we got for him).

Click here to view the schedule of regular shows. As you can see, we now repeat the midweek shows on Sunday, starting at noon with First Resort and culminating in Mike’s Music Show from 9pm..

One of the positives to come out of the lockdown has been having more time to listen to some great music. Sharing our love of music is what the station is about after all. We will never be able to compete with the big budgets of the BBC or the giant commercial networks but why would we want to? Feedback suggests you like the music we choose which gives us all a real buzz. New tracks added to our A-list this week include new singles from Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit and Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever. Best of all is the new single from Sparks – Lawnmower comes from the great new album A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip. Not bad for a band who first appeared on Top Of The Pops almost 50 years ago (1972) having formed in 1967.

If, like me, you also still listen to albums (call me old fashioned), check out BC Camplight’s Shortly After Takeoff and the self titled album by Bonny Light Horseman. Both are excellent accompaniments to that chilled G&T. Speaking of which, look at the time. It’s five o’clock somewhere…

Roy