I’ve been getting up way early throughout July to join Diane Zinna and her 7am writing group. Her prompts often generate insights. And memories.
The radio studio smells of stale cigarettes, warm semi-conductors and vinyl. The phone in one ear and headphones in the other. I glance at the volume levels to ensure that the Moody Blues Tuesday Afternoon is not overdriving the control board. A quick look at the meters to my left reassures me that the station is on the air and the pulsing lights on the switchboard are a reminder that whatever I’m doing is resonating with someone.
I put the next record on the second turntable, gently lowering the tone arm onto black plastic, popping the fader into the cue channel and spinning the disk until I hear the first notes, then backing it up a quarter turn so that when I throw the switch the device will respond like an orchestral performer following my director’s baton.
The London Symphony swells as Tuesday Afternoon builds to its ultimate climax. The crescendo peaks and slowly fades into what we radio announcers call a Cold Ending. At the ideal instant, I fire the second turntable.
The tune is in the same key, almost as if Justin Hayward, Billie Holiday and Arthur Herzog Jr. conspired across the decades, knowing that Blood, Sweat and Tears would render Billie’s signature song just so.
I think about what I’ll say about these two classics when David Clayton Thomas’ baritone emotes the final notes of God Bless The Child, leaning back in my chair, headphones immersing me in the sound scape, realizing again that all memorable moments in our lives are ultimately self-created.