The Sunday Share: A trip to Africa The vehicles hail from somewhere which sounds unpleasant

John Kerr’s steam-powered turntables

March 3rd, 2024 at 05:15pm

John Kerr, the long-time overnight talk radio host who retired from that life 11 years ago and has been playing country music on Gold Coast community station 94.1FM almost ever since, is someone who long-time readers of this blog will know I enjoy listening to. It was a sad day when he retired from his overnight show and a very exciting day when he resurfaced a few months later with his country music show.

I quite enjoy John’s country music show however I rarely get a chance to hear it live and usually record it to hear later on. On my little internal home radio station the show actually airs in part of one of John’s old timeslots from 12am-3am Sunday. I’m not a big fan of newer country music but some of it is OK. Thankfully John plays a good mix of both the old and new so it is an enjoyable show.

John and his show appeared in one of my strange dreams yesterday. In the dream, John’s show had been networked to other community radio stations around the country and John was touring his show to some of the towns which could now hear it. On this particular week he was going to Tumut, which isn’t far from Canberra (and has a fondness for me as back when I used to present news bulletins for AIR News on a weekend, the community station there, Sounds Of The Mountains aired those bulletins and had a working webstream, so I had an opportunity to hear how it sounded on the air, and an opportunity or two to drop in to the station where manager David Eisenhower was always a pleasure to see) and his show was to broadcast live from a local community hall in front of an audience.

John was all set up to go. He sat at a table up on stage with a big microphone and what appeared to be some sort of glowing antenna behind him to send the signal back to the Gold Coast. John plugged everything in but none of the CD players would work. John’s show had started to go to air so he started telling the audience how technology had let him down once again and he started interviewing the mayor of Tumut who made the startling announcement “oh no, of course those won’t work, we don’t allow electricity in the hall as it’s a very terrible health and safety risk, and I was wondering why you were plugging them in when there’s no power in here”.

John was beside himself. “What?? You’re joking aren’t you?” he excitedly exclaimed at the mayor.
“No, I won the election on the banning of electricity from the hall” came the stern reply.
“Well, do you allow fire?” John asked
“Ahhh, Yes” the mayor replied sheepishly, not knowing what John might be proposing to do.
“Good, well I have a plan” announced John “but it will take a few minutes so you must fill in briefly”.

John disappeared out the back for a few minutes and the mayor started singing. A few moments later there was smoke everywhere. John had setup a boiler at the back of the stage and was shoveling coal into it, with a big fire. He then put three large turntables on the desk of the stage and hooked up a pipe from the boiler to the back of each one and started playing records. They took a few moments to get up to speed but it worked, steam powered turntables!

Unfortunately it was so hot and with so much smoke, that nobody could see much of anything and everyone gathered at the radio station to listen instead, and admire the smoke billowing out of the community hall from a distance.


Entry Filed under: Samuel's Dreams

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. nbrettoner  |  March 3rd, 2024 at 8:51 pm

    Hi Samuel,

    Firstly thankyou for the ‘Africa’ piece; although I do prefer the original. Still, it fired up fond memories of this classic song.
    Now, speaking of smoke fire steam Tumuts halls and mayors, that is one fascinating early hours
    Conflagration! {}.
    My goodness, steam powered turned tables. I hope the dog wasn’t damaged, and that the needles remained groovy and sharp. So then you must have a superfluous of spare winding things?.
    My grandparents had one of those wooden boxes with the windy thing and dog. In those days their music room held a few platters. Around ten feet long 3 1/2 feet high or therabouts; shelving. But then, dad was an internationally famous theatre organist. (Barrie Brettoner).
    Amy enjoying your blogs muchly.

  • 2. Samuel  |  March 7th, 2024 at 1:49 pm

    Hi Noel.

    I’m quite fond of the original Africa song as well, but I thought this modern cover of it was quite decent and worth a mention. Without giving too much away, I’m not done with Africa just yet…

    You raise some very valid concerns about the steam-powered turntables. My concern would be that the records might start to melt.

    A theatre organist. Well that is interesting. Was this to accompany silent films or are we talking about actors-on-stage theatre?

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