- Which radio shows impactedyou and were a special part of your life? I’ve been enamored with quite a few in my time. One of these influential shows was called Neon Nights.
On a Saturday night in early march of 1981, I scanned the AM radio dial for something interesting. Since I hadn’t yet unpacked my stereo system, having moved the previous weekend, it was my sold source of entertainment.
Then it happened. I heard some great rock music on CBC which I’d never heard before. Many of those bands named by JB Shayne, the host, were unfamiliar to me. Even so, I enjoyed their music. It made a refreshing change from the top forty records played by the local rock stations.
I tuned in the show the next weekend and taped the tunes that I particularly liked. JB Shayne didn’t let me down as he played tunes by Elvis Costello, Girls At Our Best, Depeche Mode, Siouxsie And The Banshees, Joy Division and many more. During the week, I listened to the tapes that I had made and relived the special feeling I felt. It was like being part of something magnificent and special.
Though some folks claimed that home taping was killing music, I ended up buying many of the albums that JB Shayne played on Neon. One of those was a collaboration between Brian Eno and David Byrne, lead singer of Talking Heads, called My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. I also bought two albums by Rupert Hine. Those LPs were on my turntable quite often back then. Ultrovox’s Rage In Eden album also was a favourite of mine. It was one record which I could leave on the turntable and listen to it all the way through without becoming bored. By 1981, John Foxx had left Ultravox and recorded a few solo LPs. I bought the first two. One of the most evocative twelve inch singles I purchased was O Superman by Laurie Anderson. I wore the record out as I plunged deep into its sonic landscape.
Of course there were some artists whose music didn’t interest or move me. The Fall was one of those. I really couldn’t stand the lead singer’s voice and style. I also bought an album by Robert Fripp called The League of Gentlemen. The melodic “Frippertronics” tunes were nice but there were some spoken pieces that turned me right off. Even so, I still tuned in as many programs as I could.
In 1982, the programmers at the CBC decided to discontinue Neon and replace it with a show called Brave New Waves. I tried to enjoy this new program but the old Neon vibe wasn’t there. Though my favourite show was off the air, I still had the reels of tape that I recorded. Five years ago, I copied them to my computer. I also had made cassette copies in the early nineties of this one-of-a-kind show When I hear these recordings, they still bring back the feelings, images, and ambiance of those late Saturday nights in my basement suite.
Though I didn’t mention Neon in my newly-published How I Was Razed book, I did mention the tension which my love of rock music caused between the elders of the church and myself. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm distribute this testimony of God leading me out of a cultic house church. My previous books are featured on the Bruce Atchison’s books page.