Monday, May 23, 2005

Fear Of A Calm Voice

I had a great weekend, up to the in-laws for a state festival (beautifully small town stuff) and food a-plenty. As a radio geek, one of the great advantages of going up there to the middle of the state is that the radio reception is good so, when I remember, I pack my little short wave radio and scan about to see what treats can be pickled up from afar.

Short wave is entirely unreliable for anything other than geekery. The signals float around and are often unlistenably married with something else and the two fight for audibility. Other than that, it's intriguing because of the sheer range it has and that it seems to be almost entirely unregulated. It's full of little pockets of who-knows-who saying who-knows-what. Nothing like Stern... just weirdness.

And so there I was after a fun night of cotton candy, winning goldfish and "moooop meep meep, moooop meep meep" carnival organs, lying in bed with my radio. In amongst the preachers and languages was a calm, Donna Reed-type voice. You know the kind, a 1950s black and white TV housewife sort of voice that reassures a young, crying boy that she knows the broken vase was an accident and not to worry about it but be more careful. I think that's why it got so damned creepy as it went on.

The content of the piece which ran for a further four or five minutes by the time I had found it was basically.... don't wet the bed. Really. This woman was talking from what sounded like the point of view of a child, reiterating the importance of not wetting the bed and how proud the parents will be and even little puppy dogs (what a 50s phrase!) keep their beds dry. It was, for wont of a better expression, bloody creepy. I think because it sounded for all the world like propaganda radio. The way the same message was repeated over and over and over again, the importance of a dry bed, the importance of making your parents proud, dry beds are a step to being a grown up, I want to make my parents proud by keeping my bed dry... all delivered in a calm, steady, confident female voice. It was bloody eerie.

I didn't wet the bed that night, so I guess the propaganda worked. I'm just glad she didn't say something about walking across the street and murdering the neighbours whose pointless outside floodlight light shone right into my bedroom or I'd be writing this from jail.

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