How an air-conditioning mechanic in Sydney Australia became an award winning broadcaster in Britain; Part 81.


When I moved back to Britain in February 1997, I felt like a time traveller. I’d left my past behind in 1983, which was when I’d left Britain, never planning to return. It soon became clear that it wasn’t 1983 in Britain any more.

The first thing that hit me was the way people were dressed in the hotel we were staying in. To me, the fashion of the day made most of the guests look like characters from a bad sci-fi show.

Maybe things looked weird because we were so tired. Julie and I had ended up leaving New York, our stop-over destination on the trip from Australia, a day earlier than planned because American Airlines pilots were due to go on strike on the day we were supposed to fly to London. Now instead of spending the evening of Valentines Day in the city that doesn’t sleep, we spent the night squashed into economy class seats crossing the Atlantic as the couple that didn’t sleep.

We hired a car at Heathrow and drove to Bournemouth where I was going to start work on the local commercial radio station, 2CR FM. Approaching the Hampshire border, we heard the radio station for the first time. The music wasn’t familiar at all. I’d never heard of The Beautiful South, Babybird, Babylon Zoo or any of the other artists they played, it was all music from the future.

2CR had booked us into the Moat House hotel in Bournemouth for two weeks while we found somewhere to live. I’d be presenting my first breakfast show a week after we arrived. How was I going to relate to this audience? The music was a complete mystery to me and although a lot of every day things seemed familiar, so much of it was as foreign to me as they were to Julie, who was born and bred in New Zealand. Even the money had changed, the ten and fifty pence coins were smaller and the pound note was now a coin!

We eventually found out why so many people in the hotel were dressed the way they were and it had nothing to do with fashion. The Moat House was the venue for a British Star Trek convention which took place the weekend we arrived. You couldn’t get to the bar for Klingons, Romulans and Vulcans but WE were the ones boldly going where we’d not gone before.

Live Long And Prosper!

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