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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

The DJ Booth Director’s Cut

As promised (threatened?) earlier this week, I was unleashed onto the unsuspecting radio airwaves last night, courtesy of Kris Earle and his Time Travel drive-time extravaganza on WMFO, Tufts community radio.

You might think that you could click on that ‘Time Travel’ link up there, hit the archives, and listen to the entire two-hour set, including all of the music, musings and breezy repartee that you might have missed yesterday. And yes, you certainly can. But you might also think that on-air recording gives you the whole story of the evening in one digital feed.

Au contraire. There’s always something going on behind the scenes. And now, I’ll tell you exactly what. Or I’ll make up some plausible-sounding nonsense that might have been going on, so far as you know. We might have played cricket in the studio — how could you prove me wrong? You can’t, that’s how. This is going to be fun.

First, I’ll confess (though Kris deftly skirted it) that I wasn’t actually in the booth during the first few minutes of the show. I arrived at the building a few seconds before 5pm — I’m serious, kids; do not trust your GPSes out there — to find the door up to the third-floor studios.

“That would imply ‘preparation’, or some sort of ‘contingency planning’. And that’s just not me. I leave that stuff to the paramedics and the Boy Scouts and whoever parties with Gary Busey.”

Said door was locked, and outfitted with a blinky swipe card reader. I evidently didn’t have the right card to blinky-swipe my way through. I tried my debit Visa, just in case they were just charging admission or something. “Two dollars to feed the DJs! Toss the pizza on the floor and watch the scrum!” But no. It was just locked, all ‘official’-like.

At the same time, I had no way to signal upstairs that I was there. No buzzer. No intercom. No doorbell or two-way or lackey doorman to run a missive up on my behalf. And of course, I didn’t have Kris’ phone number. Clearly. That would imply ‘preparation’, or some sort of ‘contingency planning’. And that’s just not me. I leave that stuff to the paramedics and the Boy Scouts and whoever parties with Gary Busey.

So I found myself stuck, on the wrong side of the door and two flights of stairs from the precious airwaves. Short of setting the building on fire, I wasn’t sure how to get Kris’ attention. And I do my level best not to torch a building, the first time I step food inside. That’s just personal policy,

Luckily for me, Kris is a resourceful sort, and somehow finagled my cell number out of the ether. That, or he’s a phenomenal guesser. Either way, he rang my phone and I was soon through the cursed gate and into the inner broadcasting sanctum.

(In the end, it worked out fine. All I missed was Warren Zevon and Laura Branigan..It couldn’t have turned out better if I’d scripted it.)

After that, the show was a bit of a blur. But here are a few tidbits, in no particular order, that might enhance your listening pleasure:

– Eight of the songs were from the disc I made; the rest were Kris’ personal choices. EXCEPT: Supertramp. A call-in request. Bleh.

– The ‘minivan commercial’ oddly borrowing that Pogues song? It’s for the Subaru Forester, in case you haven’t seen it.

– I read two PSAs on-air, including one Kris gave me advertising a town meeting to save the local snail mail post office. A meeting which started forty-five minutes before I read the note. Maybe the P.O. should’ve delivered the PSA a little faster. Heh.

– Only one of us in the studio was wearing pants.

– Nah, that’s not true. I was just making sure you were paying attention.

– It has been pointed out to me that Kris introduced a love of reading by saying he enjoyed ‘Great Expectations’, to which I replied that Douglas Adams was pretty damned awesome. I still say I win that point. I don’t care what my old English Lit. teacher is rolling over in right now.

– The ‘punctuation lady’ who called in to inform us about cedillas and circumflexes and the like is also blind, apparently. So though she knew all about these things, she asked Kris to look them up to double-check what each looked like.

– Her demonstration of umlauted-vowel sounds is quite possibly the highlight of the entire show.

None of us were wearing any pants.

So thanks once more to Kris for a lovely time, and for spreading a few of my old creaky tunes over the Boston-area radio waves. If there’s a next time, I’ll be sure to get there earlier, to ask for the phone number in advance, and to bone up on my punctuation, PSAs and classic literature (i.e., Dr. Seuss) well in advance. I had no idea so much effort went into making a radio show.

But now I do. And so, now too, do you. Cool.

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