Travels With My Radio: I Am An Oil Tanker

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9780091882747: Travels With My Radio: I Am An Oil Tanker

Fi Glover is a bit of a traveller. She loves hotels, air stewardesses and fluffy towelling robes, but above all, she loves radio. One night, whilst recording BBC 2's Travel Show, she found herself in the far reaches of Texas, suffering from a night of line-dancing and an over-enthusiastic radio DJ. She started to wonder about all the places she'd ended up in, all the radio DJs she'd listened to, the way a new radio station made her feel at home and yet gave her the fastest insight into an alien city or community. She decided to take a journey around the world collecting hotel freebies and DJs - from the charismatic Rose who guided Montserrat through the tragedy of their volcanic eruption to Dr Laura, who talks the dysfunctional of New York through their psychotic days; from the peace-keeping corps of Beirut and their radio-station-in-a-hut to the despairing English football broadcasters in their radio-station-above-a-caf- in Brussels 2000. From Somerset to Beirut, Las Vegas to Vienna, Travels With My Radio is a wonderfully funny and strangely moving quest to find the perfect radio station.

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Review:

"Everybody has a favourite station", writes Fi Glover in Travels with My Radio. 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 Travels with My Radio--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 a station 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 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--making you feel that you know her intimately by the end.

Not that Travels with My Radio 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:

‘A very jolly tale’ -- Evening Standard

‘Brilliant…Bill Bryson but better looking’ -- Wendy Holden

‘Her wit is brut dry’ -- Anne Karpf, Guardian

‘Warm, spontaneous…with admirable sensitivity’ -- Sue Arnold, Observer

‘Witty and feisty to boot’ -- Stephen Armstrong, The Times

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Glover, Fi
Published by Random House UK (2002)
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