Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Magic in Bed.






Sometimes my nights are long and broken. I awake in the small hours, and instead of worrying about the garden and the roof slates and whether I locked the back door or not I turn on the radio beside my bed. There is always something of interest, and last night was especially so.
Magic tricks on radio!
How much better than on television. Card tricks, when you can hear the flutter of the cards being shuffled, the clicks as they are laid out on a table top, the appreciative gasp of the audience. You can't see the cards, but you know it must be a marvellous trick.
Disbelief is almost suspended.

Sawing a man in half on the radio. You can hear the crunching and sawing. Is it bone, is it wood? You can't hear any screams of pain or squelching of blood and guts, so perhaps all is well? The images are startling, but you know it's going to be all right, really. Such a relief when the audience laughs and cheers. Phew! That was a close one.

A man is chained up with yards of metal chain, secured with three, no.....four padlocks. Four padlocks and yards of metal chain. He can't move. His hands are padlocked, so are his feet. Now they are putting him in a lift, and by the time he reaches the ground floor he will be free. How can this be?
The lift descends........ 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, (it's quite a slow lift, the suspense is great,)..... 2, 1, ground floor. There's a clank, a grinding noise.......the lift doors open......the man steps out, free, mobile, totally unchained. The crowd goes wild. I have the best view of all, alone here in the darkness. There's a glittering pile of chain in the lift. The man is rubbing his wrists. He must be sore. How many attempts did it take to get it right, and how embarrassing it must have been when the lift doors opened to reveal a crouching, contorted chained figure? I can see it all.

Uri Geller is interviewed by Dr. Anthony Clare in the psychiatrist's chair. Just for good measure Uri bends a spoon or two. Dr. Clare goes rather quiet. A vivid image, which I greatly enjoy.

I am drifting a bit in the warm bed.
I think about puppets on radio, especially Archie Andrews who had his own radio show. Even as a child I wondered if he was actually there or not, but he had a tremendous following until he was somewhat killed off by televsion.
I remember Terry Wogan's brilliant fireworks displays on radio every November. The scratch of the match, the hiss of flame and then the glorious technicolour displays. The greatest firework displays never seen, indeed.

So many other great opportunities not yet on radio, roller-skating for beginners, weaving classes, life drawing.
I think idly of the possibilities of a series about origami.
Not seeing is believing.

Night night!


13 comments:

Marigold Jam said...

Love it!! But will today's generation have the imagination to listen to this sort of thing now that they are so used to virtual everything? Archie Andrews now there's a blast from the past imagine believing a ventriloquist on radio after all he might not even have to keep his lips still as nobody would see anyway!!

Jee said...

I'm always amused by the cooking slots on Woman's Hour - especially one where something caught light and a man had to come with an extinguisher! Radio leaves all to the imagination...

Jenny Woolf said...

Haha! I think ventriloquism is the best! :D
Mind you some things are better left to the imagination!

Relatively Retiring said...

Marigold and Jenny: Archie Andrews, pure magic. Do you think he was there, in front of the microphones in his striped blazer. Was Peter Brough really doing all the facial distortions, or was it all a big con?

Jee: Sorry I missed that on Woman's Hour. Radio cookery is always another good one though.

Jenny: Oh yes, imagination rules, and that doesn't just go for radio!

Zhoen said...

Radio is so sadly underrated, as are our imaginations. But given half a chance...

Have you listened to any of Cabin Fever?

Relatively Retiring said...

Zhoen: yes, Cabin Fever is one of the best things on radio.

Leslee said...

I've always loved radio stories. But magic tricks would be hard (or maybe all too easy?) to pull off without being seen. Talk about slight of hand. But yes, the imagination can fill so much in. And perhaps drifting off into sleep can supply even more adventure to the story...

Relatively Retiring said...

Leslee: You're right about the drifting. There's a brief space where sleep and reality blur. I always wish I could remember it.

Relatively Retiring said...

Greetings to the many, many people who checked out my posting over the last couple of days. You were probably expecting something quite different, and I hope you've not been too disappointed.

Isabelle said...

Lovely post. I too listen to the radio during the night, but never heard the magic tricks!

Peregrina said...

Many, many years ago I heard (on BBC radio, of course!) the story of a schoolboy who was asked if he preferred radio or television. He replied, "Radio, because the pictures are better."

How true.

Relatively Retiring said...

Isabelle: I'm sorry you missed it, but glad if it meant a good sleep for you.

Peregrina: a very true observation. Have you heard any of the programme Zhoen mentioned - Cabin Fever?

pohanginapete said...

This is something I appreciate about reading books. Films and documentaries can be wonderful but shouldn't — and can't, in my view — replace the written word. Your post proves it.