Tuesday 2 February 2010

Radio Ga Ga

A battle more akin to those of the ancient world rages in our office for supreme control of the airwaves.

In one corner, literally, we have the station I’m fairly sure was the inspiration for Sad FM for the over thirties in Bridget Jones Diary. It plays the same twenty songs all day, every day. Occasionally a new song is introduced, say once every six months, but generally it is and has been the same twenty songs for most of this decade (*ooh edit and the last decade). Those songs were probably very enjoyable once. In fact I think they might even have been songs I enjoyed as guilty pleasures once- before being subjected to the musical equivalent of water boarding every day.

In the other corner, literally, we usually have quite a good radio station, though like all stations it does over play and then ruin songs you loved when they came out- but not on the level of Sad FM. Let’s call station two try hard FM.

Were I working alone I would have Radio 4 on but I accept that would have to be on very loudly in an office and might be distracting- plus music in theory should cheer people up and get the momentum going. So if we can’t have Radio 4 I favour a roaming music policy whereby we rotate between several stations every few weeks- accepting that all of those stations will play Snow Patrol’s chasing cars at least twice a day because all radio stations do- I think Kiss FM might even have a dance remix of it. However whenever I suggest the roaming policy, the musical equivalent of varying which newspaper you buy, everyone initially agrees and then we carry on as before listening to the same two with me rocking in my chair with a vacant but crazy look in my eyes.

I have over time developed the ability to drown out Sad FM and Try Hard FM when they are at their worst- in sad’s case playing a jingle about having the most music variety in London while playing the same song twice in a row (which has happened several times- hello Girl’s Aloud the promise) and in Try Hard’s the DJ just talking nonsense and laughing at himself for an entire fifteen minutes (with me shouting play a song every few minutes).

So yes in short I can sort of ignore them mostly. What I can’t ignore is both at the same time clashing with each other. Neither keeper of the radios can hear the other controllers stereo but those in the middle of them can hear both. Now at times this does lead to almost genius, 2manydjs- esque, mash ups between Dolly Parton and the chemical brothers say or Dirty Dancing and smells like teen spirit. Most of the time though you can just hear a wall of horrible noise with the occasional ‘the most music variety’ jingle or that awful ‘we buy any car’ advert that should be banned for crimes against ears.

So that’s the situation. Not a real problem of course, a first world problem. Still perhaps I will become a world conquering mix DJ- currently we are enjoying Take on Me twinned with bittersweet symphony- oh and there’s a bus alarm going off too- some people might pay to listen to all this.


Marie said...

Oooh, that would drive me insane. Earplugs? Or perhaps just hijack the radios and change them before anyone else is in the office. Perhaps one radio could commit suicide off the shelf? Or be taken hostage until it agrees to regularly circulate the channels? I think this could call for drastic action...

Jayne said...

Hm... can either radio discreetly 'break' - going along with Marie's idea! Failing that, can you work with your ipod on? Or ask both sides to turn their volume down a bit, so you guys in the middle are not forced to listen to weird mash ups?

At one place where I worked, I had to write lots of copy while the boss insisted on blasting out his latest DJ set. At least now I find it easy to write with distractions! But radio is another matter - the ever-decreasing circle of their playlist day in, day out is just soul destroying. I agree - drastic action needed!

Lewis William said...

I think most offices have something V similar.. One I worked at had Magic vs Capital, and what most annoyed me was the adverts. And the presenters. And the music.

I'm listening to R4 as we speak, and I know of nothing that keeps me so productive!

As for Precious.. Just see it! I love the fantasy scenes. They're so sweet, and so very relateable. We all like to escape, and they puncture some truly HORRIFIC moments.


Ines said...

Oh, I feel very sorry for you. Plus, this must add to the level of stress we all feel at work.
I'm really glad we don't have such a problem at my office - if you want to listen to sth, use your ear-phones. And singing along to what you're listening to is highly discouraged. :)

Tania said...

This would drive me crazy! Poor you.
My office is fairly quiet. We get phones ringing and people talking, but notthing too loud. I've never worked in an office which allowed a radio on - shops and factories yes, but not an office. So to me the whole idea is weird. How can you even concentrate? I can barely stand Capital FM in the morning for long enough to hear the traffic and weather! Listening to it all day would be like water torture. If I were in your place, I think both radios would have unexplained 'accidents'.... ;-)

Fran Hill said...

Sounds like my house. I pass the radio: turn it to Radio 4. He passes it: turns it to Classic. Radio 4. Classic. Radio 4. Classic. These are the soothing rhythms of marital strife.

Metropolitan Mum said...

Thank God for the iPod. Or aren't earplugs allowed in your office? Before I was a lady of leisure and had to go to one of those dreadful places they call office, I found myself hiding underneath my headphones for most of the day. Sometimes there wasn't even music playing. Silence. Sometimes the greatest sound of all.

Cassandra said...

Oh Rose, you have all my sympathy, back in the mists of time when I worked fulltime I had exactly the same problem. I would listen to Radio 4 in my sleep if I could - but then, I was born middle aged. If I die and radio 4 is on, I'll know that I've reached Heaven after all. Fxxx

Rose said...

Hi Marie- can't do headphones, lots of the job is on the phone and we have people in and out all the time who I have to say hello to etc. Two radios have mysteriosly stopped working but I don't think I can lay anymore to rest- plus I do like having music on really and am probably being ungrateful- what we need is Spotify but the rest of the work gang and with me on that yet x

Jayne- that's it, soul destroying, though I have opened up the debate and just letting people get their hate for Michael Buble et al of their chests seems to have helped lots! x

Hi LW- Ah tragic vs Capital- those 2 have featured in or line up too. I don't hate Magic as much as Sad FM/ Heart- Magic is knowingly cheesy and for your Mum where as Heart makes out it's in some way credible when it's like the radio equivalent of tesco- yeuurrcch. Prescious is on the film to do list- high up! x

Hi Ines- thanks lovely, and at least no one sings along in our office- that is a blessing x

Hi Tania- I think a lot of the stations are designed with the idea very few people listen all day- so when you do you are basically getting the same hour over and over- just laziness really on their part. Hope all's good with you x

Hi Fran- how could anyone not want Radio 4 on all the time? well actually saying that I'm a music obsessive too but when Radio 4 is on all is right with the world isn't it? x

Hi MM- no headphones allowed :-( but you are right about silence- sometimes I put my headphones in on the bus but don't turn them on. An older but not old man said to me recently on a trip to the country that though he loved London he found it so loud. I hadn't thought about that before but he's right, it's relentless- which is sort of what I love but it does mean you appreciate the quite moments x

Hi Cassandra- I feel the same about Radio 4 and was also born middle aged when it comes to that, tea and enjoyment of murder mysteries, sometimes of highly dubious quality x

vicki archer said...

Sounds very noisy in your office Rose! Have a peaceful weekend. xv

Top Bird @ Wee Birdy said...

Oh god, this is my all-time workplace not-so-secret loathe. I'm a bit of a music snob, and feel almost physically ill listening to Bland FM.

My last job was quite good because it was really quiet and people listened to their own music on their headphones - which worked a treat!


Rose said...

Thanks Vicky!

Top Bird- it's terrible isn't it- I mean there are days when I find it quite funny but also days when I fear the radio will go out the window in a rock and roll way. We can't have headphones because we live on the phone- still Sad FM hasn't been too bad today.