During Freshers’ Week at University, I joined some Student Union Societies. Joining Bandsoc was a good idea, I’m glad I did that. Music For The Masses less so, that became a bit of an albatross for me in the second year, but that’s a whole ‘nother blog post. I didn’t, however, join the student radio station. At the time it felt like it was totally out of my league. I did eventually end up joining in the third year, and wished I’d started sooner. Though maybe it’s for the best that I didn’t – it’s entirely feasible that if I’d started doing student radio in the first year, I would have become so totally and overwhelmingly hooked that I would have abandoned my studies altogether.
Yes, doing student radio was really one of the highlights of my third year at uni. I’d spend the week planning the dozen or so songs that I was going to play that week, a mixture of current hits from the station’s record library and less-known album tracks from my own collection. My co-host was Jamie, a fairly quiet chap who was sort of my neighbour in the first year. I say sort of, because we did have clear line of sight between our doors, but there was about 100m of high jinks occurring inbetwixt.
Anyway, the format that we adopted was that he had his hour-long radio show on Thursday mornings, and I had my hour-long show on Saturday or Sunday mornings. Musically, there was little to no overlap between our content, his show mostly consisting of 60s-70s prog rock. But in terms of the overall experience, the two were very much sister shows. Being behind the desk, steering the ship, was great fun, though there was always a certain pressure to keep the ship off the rocks. There was a different type of fun to be had on the other side of the console – with a vastly diminished responsibility, you were now the guy sunning himself on the deck, sipping cocktails and hurling abuse. It’s hard to say which I enjoyed most.
As the years pass after leaving uni, you know how it is – you stay in touch with some people, and others you gradually drift away from. Jamie and I stayed close, and we continued to meet up for a few beers occasionally. Back in April 2011 it came to light that we’d both been playing Minecraft, so we decided to start a multiplayer server. Since then we’ve played Minecraft and Terraria on and off, generally playing for a few weeks after each big update before losing interest for a while.
Meanwhile it seems that both of us have been looking to rekindle that old radio experience. Back in November last year we attempted a pilot episode of a craft beer podcast, but Jamie showed up hungover and we only made it to the second beer before he started making puffing noises. We decided that the only way to make this work would be to add another element to the mix.
We’ve also started a second series, in addition to the Starbound videos, playing a game called SpeedRunners. Witness:
This whole endeavour has been aided by a couple of factors – one is that Jamie is currently in between jobs, so has a fair bit of spare time for playing games and editing videos. The second is that I finally got off my arse and bought a new computer, which has broadened my options.
We’re also doing some single player stuff as well. Jamie is playing an obscure space RPG called 3089, and I’ve uploaded 10 episodes of a Fallout New Vegas playthrough. Watching the episodes back, I’m painfully aware that the energy that comes naturally to me when cohosting with Jamie is mostly missing in the single player videos. This has always been the case – I remember the occasions at uni when I had to do my radio show solo being comparatively lacklustre. If anyone knows any good tricks that I can use to get some oomph into it, then do share.
Karen, meanwhile, looks down her nose at the whole thing. She’s not really big on computer games ((though in the past she has been known to play Tetris, Worms, and I recall before Bernard was born we played Half Life LAN deathmatches more than once)), and she’s definitely not big on “let’s play” videos on YouTube – for this we can probably thank stampyloudmouth, who has recently been bringing Bernard much entertainment, and Bernard’s parents’ ears much misery.