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The Clockwork Wireless Co Archives

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Reprinted interview from TX magazine 1987


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Aleks Wright Turns The Spotlight On Terry Anderson And Dave Birdman

The Clockwork Wireless Broadcasting Company has been on the air for over 10 months. But its history goes back a lot further than that.

The two main presenters, Terry Anderson and The Intrepid Birdman, have been in the pirate radio game for the last decade.

Terry Anderson

Terry; tell me about the show. It's very different from anything else on the radio.

Yes, it's very difficult to say how it came about really. I start with a blank sheet of paper and it goes on from there.

I heard Maureen Lipman, the actress, on the radio the other day. She was saying about how when the deadline approaches she finds herself on the very morning that the thing has got to be in she gets this panic attack. I have a sort of minor one each week, thinking that I just am not going to be able to do this, and the in all sort of seems to flow when you know that time is running out.

How would you describe the show? Is it comedy, topical comment, is it a music show with chat?

Mmm, it's probably all of those things together actually. It's really a pot-pourri and that's probably the best description. The music is quite important in its own right, though. I think. that an hour of stream of consciousness would probably not be all that edifying. The comedy is quite difficult, when you have to come up with the whole show virtually by yourself. Coming up with comedy or funny bits each week can be quite hard going.

I feel ; I know it's a cliche; that it's an exaggerated version of the way I am. I just come in and do an hour of how I am in real life. Exaggerated and pushed up a bit, but not really anybody else's ideas.

Terry Anderson at work in the Clockwork Studio

I hope it's different from anything else that you can hear. It does take quite an amount of work to do, although perhaps it sounds very thrown together . I find that each Sunday at eight, when my programme finishes, that I'm already thinking about what on earth I'm going to do next Sunday. I start thinking of ideas right through the week. The good thing is now that it's been running for a year it's taken on a being of its own — not that it runs itself, but that there is a sort of structure running through it.

Who would you describe as your influences?

I don't honestly think that I've been influenced by any other broadcaster directly; there may be sub-conscious influences and perhaps I'm not the person to gauge who they are. People I respect, and possibly draw from, are people who are good at what they do; not necessarily in broadcasting though. People like Tony Hancock., Kenneth Williams, great British comedians, people with a real skill.

What are your ambitions; how do you see your show developing?

That's a difficult question. I think that the show has developed from the very first weeks on Clockwork, but it hasn't developed to a plan. As I said before, it almost has a mind of its own. It tends to flow, changing slightly week-by-week; a nuance here, a nuance there. It changes as it goes, rather than being part of a five year plan or something.

What kind of music do you like?

I really do have quite catholic tastes. At the moment I like quite a lot of the bands that turn up in the independent charts but don't find their way into the Top Forty. I think that there is a need for exposure of those bands because they're caught between two stools. They don't make it to Radio One / Capital Radio daytime type programming and they're not weird enough for John Peel. In between there's an opening for these sort of bands. There are some very good bands around not getting the exposure.

Also I quite like a lot of opera and classical music... Handel, Mozart particularly; that's what I listen to at home. It's about great performers, it's what we were saying earlier about comedians and actresses. I like people who are good at what they do, Prima Donnas in the true sense of the words.

I have a sort of minor panic each week

I like contemporary bands, my all time hero is Todd Rundgren. I think he's very underrated... he's never had the exposure or acclaim that he's deserved. Joni Mitchell, Susanne Vega, Rikki Lee Jones, people like that. People who've maintained a high standard in their art over a number of years really. They give it that unidentifiable some- thing that gives you a feeling that perhaps you don't get from Bananarama or Pepsi and Shirley.

What is your most memorable moment on pirate radio?

You know how when someone comes into a lift you move out of the way to let them in? Well, I was in a tall building, I can't quite remember why now. I was coming out of the lift with somebody else and as I walked out, other people were coming into the lift. Well, I recognised them but to my relief Mr Gotts didn't recognise me. He was going up as I was going down, we just passed each other in the lift with a smile. Fortunately we haven't met again since.

What happened to Uptown Radio?

It didn't die really, it just faded away. It had gone as far as anyone could take it and it had got to the point or turning up on a Sunday and saying 'Well, here we go again'. It ended at the right time really, there wasn't any further for it to go within the structure that it had. There were more things that I wanted to do, but because or the restrictions or clandestine radio at that time, you simply had to race up to the fact that you couldn't do them. You couldn't risk having live guests in the studio, not people you wanted anyway. By then I'd been doing programmes for 4-5 years without a break and it just reached its natural time to fade away and did. I still see some or the people that were involved though.

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