Listening to Triple J Again

29 July 2005
Yes, I am reclaiming my youth. After several years of absence, I've just started listening to Triple J again. (For overseas readers, Triple J is the national youth/alternative radio station). I don't remember why I stopped. It wasn't intentional. But gradually, about five years ago, I slowly started making my way up the radio dial to hits 'n' memories radio, to the extent that I could do perfect air guitar to "More Than A Feeling" and knew all the words to "Winds of Change" by the Scorpions.

I really hadn't realised how bad the problem was, until this year's Hottest 100 countdown, when I was vaugely familiar with...three of the songs in the Top Twenty. Compare that with, say, the years 1995-99 when I would have known the words to pretty much all of the 100 songs every year. But around mid-2000 I got lost, and stayed lost for a few years. I didn't listen to new music, read new books, watch many TV shows or any new movies...the result being now that I am hopelessly culturally out of touch. Whenever someone asks me, "Have you read/heard/seen..?" the answer is always no, because I never have.

Anyway, that moment of musical confusion on Hottest 100 day made me feel panicky, and old. It didn't bother me that, for instance, the only band in a Big Day Out line-up that I'd have heard of was The Beastie Boys (and I thought they were dead. Rock n Roll pathos sort of demands that they should be). I mean, I wasn't going to go to one anyway; if I was going to spend a fortune on a show, it would be more like Cirque du Soleil than a music festival. But when I realised I'd turned into a grumpy old woman who knew absolutely no modern music, I resolved to start listening to Triple J again. Although it took me six more months, till last Tuesday, to do so. I put the radio on as I normally do in the afternoons, and made the slide down the dial the short but treacherous journey from 102.9 to 102.1

It's unfamilliar territory. I don't know any of the songs. At first I felt rather frightened, and wanted to return to the soothing security blanket of my old station - I mean, what if they were playing Supertramp or Dragon doubles, and I missed them?!? But I perservered. Even though so much has changed. Take the DJs. Where are Helen Razer and Mikey Robbins at breakfast? Or Calamity Jane? I don't know who the hell these new people are. And (getting mad here) what happened to the J files? What is this new music? It all sounds the same, and I...

See, this is why I need to keep listening to Triple J. To guard against my own instincts to slide into a comfortable but dull and shockingly premature middle age.

Well, I'm doing that much. But one small step at a time. Excuse me, I'm off to check house prices in real estate agents' windows, buy some hanging plant baskets and organise home and contents insurance.


There is one measure in which I'm undoubtedly cool. My new ringtone on my new phone is "The Moe Connection" (Moe, Moe, Moe! Why don't you like me, nobody likes me!" from The Simpsons. Now if only someone would ring me, I'd actually get to hear it.


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