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Another shortwave nightmare
By Myles Faulkner

Well, unlike the majority of you who were pitch-invading and swimming in fountains, I was in the Texas desert en route to camping on the Mexican border. Feeling disabled without the IRC and my fellow exiled compadres to type out our nervous excitement, I was reduced to The Short Wave Nightmare and World Service.

Now, I don't know how many of you out there have also had to suffer the indignity of The Short Wave Nightmare, but for those who have missed out on the experience it works a little like this. At 3 o'clock (well, 9am where I am) you spend fifteen minutes trying to find the correct frequency out of nine bands. You eventually find it sandwiched somewhere between some crazed religious preacher from Oklahoma and a babbling DJ from South America. The tuning zone is a hairline and if you fart you immediately lose the reception, which is made even more irritating by the fact the German equivalent to World Service has a huge bandwidth and their reception is crystal clear. Typical. Anyhow so you tune in and there is 5Live rabbiting on about tennis or the Grand Prix and then at half time they give you the results and hopefully you're all happy because the Golden Boys are winning. So you turn off the radio and make a cup of tea or whatever. You then come back at 4pm and find that they have changed frequency and band, and so you spend twenty-five minutes finding its even more miniscule hiding place. But just to add to the fun, someone at the BBC sits by the aerial and wiggles it for the last ten minutes of the game so it becomes incredibly hard to hear the game/commentary/reports.

So this again was the scenario last Saturday in the middle of the desert. Parked off the highway with no-one in the vicinity for seventy miles - I was having The Short Wave Nightmare. Stood on top of my truck, volume full blast, the reception barely audible and me having a nervous breakdown. But here's the corker, just for added sadism, the radio knows what you are up to and decides to join in the fun. It knows that the reason you are bursting your eardrum is so you can find out how your beloved team are doing. So it waits patiently, while giving out the Premier and 1st Div results, even creating better reception so that you momentarily believe that someone up there really is a Watford supporter. And just as that surge of excitement builds as it gets closer and closer to the Golden Boys score....the reception starts to fade. Just slow enough so by the time it reaches "Fulham One" can barely hear it. So you hold your breath and move in strange contortions and wiggle the aerial frantically, and as the white noise gets louder so does your swearing. Believe me this hasn't happened once or twice, this has happened many times. I believe my short wave radio is a LUTON supporter!

Anyhow on Saturday, despite the contortions, the wiggling and cursing, I heard the score. I didn't believe it but I heard it. I went ape shit on the highway. I then proceeded to drive to the nearest garage (seventy miles) and partake of a celebratory beer. About the time you lot were on the tube I would imagine. More beer would have been better but at 110 degrees I wasn't going to play the dehydration game.

So thank God for the IRC and I can't believe I missed a RealAudio 3CR jobby - let's hope that can be arranged again in future. Congatulations to the Golden Boys, GT and all you lot for making this a great season.