I am an Oil Tanker: Travels with My Radio

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9780091877866: I am an Oil Tanker: Travels with My Radio

'Like an acne ridden teenager Vienna is a lot sexier at night. You drive through vast streets lined with grand hotels all with a matching concierge. The Triest Hotel has one of those heavy doors designed to keep out the riff-raff as well as the Austrian winters. Inside it's all hushed and marbled and the reception desk bares just one tropical flower. The staff are minimalist as well. The receptionist looks like she may well be a close personal friend of Kate Moss and Meg Gallagher but I can forgive her because her English is much better than my German and the Blue Danube FM website didn't have a translation for 'I'm knackered and shivering and it would be lovely if I could have a cheese sandwich and some Lemsip asap.' Apparently Johnny Depp has stayed at the Trieste in Vienna and liked it very much. Which isn't saying much. These days you can guarantee that every hip hotel in the world has either entertained him, Liz Hurley or the Dalai Lama. Whoever stayed in my room last night has left a London phone number on the note pad. I'm tempted to phone but I don't want to wake Patsy up.'

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Review:

"Everybody has a favourite station", writes Fi Glover in her bizarrely titled travel book I am an Oil Tanker. On arriving in a city for the first time, some people get a feel for the place by climbing the tallest building, others browse supermarket shelves or head for the nearest bar--Radio Five presenter Fi Glover asks her taxi driver what they listen to and scans the dial. This obsession has evolved into I am an Oil Tanker--part biography, part lightweight travelogue and partly an analysis and history of global radio.

Fi's search for the "perfect" station begins dully with visits to Blue Danube Radio in Vienna and a Radio Five football broadcast. However, things get rapidly more interesting with Irish UN troops doubling as volunteer DJs at Camp Shamrock in Southern Lebanon, line-dance-loving community shows in North Carolina and paranormal programmes from the Nevada desert. Out of "sheer curiosity" she heads for Palm Springs to listen to its Frank Sinatra station for retirees and to Monsterrat to hear one that kept broadcasting right through the volcanic eruption. While she doesn't visit many of the world's 35,000 registered stations, she does experience some wonderfully surreal diversions--from shoe-shopping with Reuters' man in Beirut to driving out of Las Vegas with a stranger called Jolene.

Fi's travelogue resembles her radio shows. The segments the stations are segued together with a "funny thing happened to me on the way to the studio" anecdotes and filled out with amusing asides. She writes as if talking to her listeners: musing over hotel room service, airline meals and rainy GLR outside broadcasts, and making you feel by the end that you know her intimately.

Not that I am a Oil Tanker is all flippant stuff--Fi also touches on serious matters like the role "hate radio" played in the Rwandan genocide or request shows for the "missing" in Columbia. However, overall this is mostly an irreverent, humorous personal rant in the Tony Hawkes Round Ireland with a Fridge vein. --Sarah Champion

Review:

"Her wit is brut dry." - Anne Karpf, "Observer "Glover is witty and, I'm afraid I have to say it, feisty to boot." - Stephen Armstrong, "The Times

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Fi Glover
Published by Random House UK (2001)
ISBN 10: 0091877865 ISBN 13: 9780091877866
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Glover, Fi
Published by Random House UK (2001)
ISBN 10: 0091877865 ISBN 13: 9780091877866
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