“Where everybody was slashing everybody.”

Limmy book

“Where everybody was slashing everybody.”

That top line sounds like something from the theme tune of a 1980’s Glasgow sit-com. Perhaps one set in a neighbourhood bar called ‘Chibs” The kind of pub where everybody not only knows your name but also where you live and how much you still owe to the loan sharks. In fact, though, it’s a line from the opening of a very funny memoir written by the TV and online comedy star Limmy who describes his childhood in Carnwadrick, a council estate on the south side of Glasgow.
“in terms of how it felt living there, it didn’t feel as rough as some other places I’d heard of like Govan or Easterhouse, these places where it sounded like everybody was slashing everybody.”
As an Easterhouse boy myself, I’m well used to people bench-marking their own social status against my own home turf. Sure, there are parts of Dundee and Edinburgh which have rough reputations, but tell those east-coast tough guys that you are from Easterhouse and you can see them clearing the top step for you on the poverty podium. Offer the same information to people from Bearsden or Carnoustie and you can see them going for gold in the hundred metre sprint.
I’ve always been able to laugh at those who mock Easterhouse, mainly because I knew they were wrong. I remember the columnist and radio presenter Frank Skerritt writing an article published in a summer festival brochure. In it he included a joke about “how do you know a letter has come from Easterhouse? Look at the stamp on the envelope and you’ll see the Queen is holding her nose.” Ah, the old ones are the best.
Often the topic of my upbringing has been raised when I’ve been interviewed for a newspaper feature. I always go to great pains to confound expectations by describing my childhood as “idyllic” and, for the large part that’s true. I have memories of sunny days, wide open spaces, street games and laughter. It’s even been suggested I could write a book about those days, but others have beaten me to it. A few years ago, Rikki Brown wrote about his experiences growing up in the area and he, with great humour, was able to describe witnessing actual gang fights that did, indeed include some knife slashing and other assorted violence (some involving the use of a golf club). Rikki’s book, ‘Frankie Vaughan ate my hamster” also describes the highly publicised attempt by the showbiz star Vaughan to broker peace between rival gangs. There was also a weapons amnesty which lasted for just as long as the press photographers were there to capture scores of young boys (some of whom might even have been gang members) depositing sticks and bricks into a large metal bin.
Such incidents are far removed from my own memory of Saturday morning bike rides to Drumpellier Loch and ice cream sundaes at Shandwick Square shopping mall. Or the tree swing across the Monklands canal. Or fossil hunting in the peat-fields near Commonhead. Or snowball fights in the square at Corsehill Street. I could go on and my current connection with the Platform arts group in Easterhouse would give me a brand-new list of good things to say about the place.
And yet…I realise I have chosen to blanket some bad memories. Like the time Danny Pryce and I wandered down to watch the new electric trains at Easterhouse station, not realising we had trapped ourselves in no man’s land between two warring gangs: The Skinheads and the Toi . As the battle raged either side of us, we beseeched an elderly pedestrian to give us sanctuary and he escorted us back into safer ground. Or the time Danny and I were walking to school and a bloke pulled a gun on us. It turned out to be an air pistol, but the thwack thwack of pellets hitting a nearby tree made it no less fearsome.
So, yeah, one gang fight and some gunfire. Balanced against all the good memories, it’s not really enough to fill a book.
Or is it?

“Let’s blow up the transmitter”

Niall Studio

An hour-long chat with Niall Anderson last night for his show on the Glasgow Hospital Broadcasting Service.  Niall pointed out that our paths must have crossed many times over the years, but neither of us could remember the other.

Niall’s Sunday night show mixes music and chat although he did have to apologise to listeners for playing so little music last night because our conversation ran away with us. Well, that’s radio geeks for you.

At one point we got to talking about how, as a teenager, I would contribute spoof detective stories to Mike McLean’s ‘thru the night’ show on Radio Clyde – way back in the early eighties.  I don’t think Niall could quite believe the lengths that some fans might go to when a big, bad radio station boss cancels their favourite show.

 

 

 

*with kind permission of HBS.org.uk

http://www.hbs.org.uk/index.html

Preface: An Apology

On this website we’ll be adding pictures and video content releated to the book, The Red Light Zone: An Insider’s laugh ‘n’ tell of BBC Radio.  In this post, author Jeff Zycinski, explains – and apologises – for the misleading title of his memoirs of a career in the BBC and commercial radio.

 

The Red Light Zone? Yes, I know. it’s a bit misleading, isn’t it? I’m sorry if you came across this site thinking it might be an edgy expose of Amsterdam brothels, Edinburgh massage parlours of Lochwinnoch tearoooms (we’ve all heard the stories). But no – it’s all about my book on radio, which is sexy in its own way, of course.

It’s The Red Light Zone because much of my career has been spent in sound proof studios where the red light signifies a live microphone and a reminder not to cough, sneeze, swear or blurt out any honest thoughts about the Government, Opposition parties, Ofcom, the BBC Director General, awards committees, football teams,  and accordionists, But now that I’ve left the BBC, that red light is off and I can say what I like about all of those things.

So let me tell you about how I sold my mind and body to broadcasting and about the people I met, the places I visited and the programmes we made, Friends have asked if this is going to be one of those ‘kiss ‘n’ tell’ memoirs, but I don’t think my air-kissing encounters with luvvies would justify that description. However, there were lots of laughs  so maybe ‘laugh ‘n’ tell’ is more appropriate.

There are movie stars, one car chase and some nudity. Not much sex though.

Again, sorry about that.

The book is published in January 2019, but you can pre-order by clicking the link below to amazon.co.uk.

Buy Book Here