Uh, this is, uh, Radio 2XX, uh, yeah…

The Particles: Truth About You

The Particles: Bits of Wood

Canberra circa 1985. I am a dorky teenager who likes punk rock and goofing off. The local university / public radio station is called 2xx, a place now indelibly etched on my musical psyche.

Me and sundry dork mates hang around there in the afternoons waiting for a studio slot to open up (often because the presenter didn’t bother turning up), so we could sneak in and record our bullshit songs on the 8-tracks. One time we actually get on air doing this.

Also, much time is spent ringing up the afternoon presenters requesting songs so we can record them on to tape, and putting on funny voices so they don’t work out it it’s just us over and over again. Looking back I think they knew anyway, they were all older than us(like, 18!) and half of them were friends with my sister.

The 2xx presentation style was incredibly lackadaisical. I still listen to public radio now, and I can’t believe now how slack the 2xx presenters used to be in comparison.

“Oh wait…uh…it’s the wrong side…no, wait…it’s actually the wrong record…uh..hang on…uh…”

This would go on for minutes. Then they’d put five songs on in a row so they wouldn’t have to talk and could just sit there stoned.

But the music was good and the music was loud… well, actually it wasn’t loud, the signal was rubbish, but it was kinda bassy and muffled and comforting. I revisited a tape I had made off that station about ten years ago and the sound of it nearly made me cry.

A sample playlist (I just made this up from memory) for a 2xx afternoon or nightime presenter went like this:

  • Simple Minds: The American
  • The Cure: A Forest
  • Joy Division: Love Will Tear Us Apart
  • Psychedelic Furs: India
  • The Clash: Straight to Hell
  • Devo – Mongoloid
  • The Buzzcocks: Fast Cars
  • XTC: Generals and Majors
  • X-Ray Spex: Germ Free Adolescent
  • The Jam: That’s Entertainment
  • New Order: Blue Monday
  • The Fall: Totally Wired
  • The Cramps: Goo Goo Muck
  • B52s – 52 Girls
  • The Saints – Know Your Product

etc, etc, etc. All the good shit.

Some fun local bands were around, too, getting airplay because they were darlings of the scene. These mp3s are from a Sydney-ish band called The Particles (members of whom went on to become the Lighthouse Keepers / Widdershins / whatever else they ended up being called).

This shit used to get played on that station all the time.  Listening to it now brings back incredibly strong memories of that sound. I probably would never have heard of them otherwise. And I don’t even like it that much but it is so nostalgic to me now, I just wanted to put it on here…

The Particles: Truth About You

The Particles: Bits of Wood

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One thought on “Uh, this is, uh, Radio 2XX, uh, yeah…

  1. I feel horribly sentimental reading this. I lived a bit too far from the equivalent radio station where I grew up (KALX in Berkeley) to hang around it, but I have the same feelings toward it – and also tried the same approach with song requests, although I don’t think I fooled the “older” (18-year olds) at the station with my lame English accents. Sadly, by the time I got to Berkeley and could have worked at the station, it had entered its death-metal/speed-punk/whatever the fuck it was phase (not too interesting for me), and I was an increasingly uptight depressed loner who was afraid to take time away from studying to work at a place where I figured everyone was cooler than I was anyway. But between 1982-1986, damn, it was the place to be.

    They played all the good shit, too. Including The Suburban Lawns.

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