Oldies Radio



The past and the present collided this week.

I’m in York presenting the drive-time program, 4pm to 7pm on BBC Radio York. An old mate of mine from Australia was in town. Phil McNab was one of my teachers at The Australian Film TV and Radio School (AFTRS). Phil and his wife Vivian are on a European tour and by pure coincidence found themselves in York at the same time as me.

I went to AFTRS in 1993 and haven’t seen Phil since just before we left Australia in 1997.  At AFTRS, Phil and I used to tell each other really old jokes, the older, the better. The one who told the joke would finish by saying, “It’s an oldie…” and the other would reply, “…but an oldie!”

With Phil and Vivian’s touring schedule and me on the air at BBC Radio York till 7pm on the only day the McNabs were in town, we only had time to have dinner together. We went for a great meal though and the three of us talked non-stop until they started cleaning up around us.

Phil and Vivian are traveling around Britain from north to south. They’d just been to Scotland where they’d visited the ancestral home of the McNabs. Phil told me he was confused because in one of the old family portraits, the subject was cross-eyed. It was a painting, not a photograph; in fact photography hadn’t been invented. Phil couldn’t understand why the artist hadn’t just fixed his ancestor’s eyes. That’s a good point, surely if you’re the one paying the artist, you can tell him to make you look anyway you like, and in any direction, and in only one direction!

It’s probably best that we didn’t have more time in York. With so many historic sights around every corner, I’m not sure Vivian could have put up with the two of us constantly pointing things out and saying, “It’s an oldie…”

Craic on!

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