Radio Apocalypse

Monday, June 11

Sympathy For the Devil wooo hoos all the way to fadeout. A short silence. A flat click.

Sorry folks. Dead air there. Back in the day they’d have fired me for a lapse like that. I suppose that’s why I was never let behind the microphone. I took the sound engineering course ‘cause it was the only thing even vaguely interesting my crappy grades could get me into. But I always wanted to be a Dee Jay. And, as they say, or should that be said, every cloud’s got a silver lining. Though the end of the world as we know it letting me get my dream job is a bit of a stretch on the old silver lining, you’ve gotta agree. Anyway, that was the Rolling Stones, I’m your host Stuart Doyle and this is Radio Ireland broadcasting on Long Wave and Short Wave and Medium Wave and even on FM. Though as I happen to be personally acquainted with every living soul in Dublin I guess the FM is a bit of a waste. But it costs nothing, so what the hell?

I had my usual walk up Killiney Hill this morning. Oscar came with me, of course. It was a lovely morning and the sun was splitting the bricks thanks in no small part to global warming. I wonder how long it’s going to take to reverse the problems we caused our environment now that we’ve kind of committed suicide? I’d discuss it with Oscar but he still doesn’t speak English. I think. Maybe he just can’t talk. Maybe he just won’t. Trauma affects everyone differently. Sometimes at home at night when I’m talking at Oscar          I try to figure out how it’s affected me.I think I’m the same as ever but how do I know? I’m drinking a bit more than I used to. But I’m not back on the fags and I’ve avoided self-medicating. Though there’s a lot of temptation. I mean, I’ve got the run of every pharmacy in town. But what’s the point? I may as well know when I’m depressed. Like I’m going to be when the beer runs out. I haven’t had a pint of draught Guinness in three months. I know that sounds like I’m some sort of stage Irishman but honest, it’s one of the things I really miss. Along with people and movies and magazines and TV and the internet and my ma and Kay. Shit, I really miss the hell out of people.

            Two minutes, thirteen seconds of silence.

Sorry folks, that was really unprofessional of me. I switched off the mic. Had a little cry. I’m okay now. So, where was I? Bemoaning the lack of Uncle Arthur’s finest draught porter. As if that wasn’t the very least of my troubles.

But back to business. If you’ve caught my broadcast you can contact me on short wave where I’m tuned to 6955.2 kHz. If you’re listening between ten am and six pm GMT, then I’m live and you’re straight through. Otherwise it’s a recording but leave your details. I promise, if there’s one thing for certain, I’ll get right back to you.

On my walk, I looked out across the city, across Dun Laoghaire harbour to Dublin port and further over to Howth. There wasn’t a breath of wind. The sea was like glass, sparkling in the sunshine. The only noise was the sound of birds. A couple of hawks up high, flying together, screeching, diving, soaring like fighter planes in a dogfight. Crows arguing in the trees over my head. Songbirds fighting to be heard above the racket. I could imagine a ship sailing sedately along the channel across the bay, heading for its berth in Dun Laoghaire. It was as clear as memory: red above the water line, dark blue above that, white at the decks, and the bridge to the stern. I stared at it for a while before it faded.

If you do come in your ship the boys up in the enclave will be pleased to see you. We’ve carved out a safe zone for ourselves. Planted some crops. Secured the water supply, that sort of thing. But we really want to find some other survivors. Begin rebuilding. So I’ll keep broadcasting for as long as the fuel for the generator holds. And talking about broadcasting, here comes a little number from Santana called Samba Pa Ti. Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 5

Good morning world. This is Stuart Ulysses Doyle comin’ atcha from Dublin in Ireland. Our intro this morning came from Chicago’s second album and the track was Wake Up Sunshine. I thought it was appropriate for another beautiful day. I forgot to pull the curtains last night and I woke up early bathed in sunlight. No point in wasting the day so I got up. Caught a look at myself in the mirror. What a mess. I really have been letting my personal hygiene go to hell. My hair was all over the place. My clothes were rancid. My shoes hadn’t been polished in months; they’re ready to fall off me.

It was time for a makeover. I’ve shaved my head, scrubbed myself red raw, dressed in my cleanest clothes and headed out early; just me and Oscar. We went into Bray and broke into a really nice man’s shop called Deveney’s. I couldn’t make up my mind between taking everything in my size or selecting just a few choice pieces. I opted for the latter so that I left myself more shopping trips to look forward to. There’s a Clarke’s shoe shop up the town and I picked out three pairs of runners and a really ace pair of hiking boots that had a price ticket of three-fifty on them. That’s three hundred and fifty euro. That makes them the most expensive footwear I’ve ever owned. But they’re worth it. Great support and really comfortable. I put them on for the morning ritual up Killiney Hill.

Oscar is amazing. He’s completely self-sufficient. Grooms himself a lot more regularly than me. Always looks his best. Didn’t want anything from the shops. Wouldn’t even come inside. He can be funny like that sometimes. But who am I to judge his behaviour? I know I’ve been acting a bit odd myself the past while. And why shouldn’t I? I’ve lost everything I knew or held dear. From what I’ve seen the virus killed off virtually all the domesticated animals as well as the people. It’s possible that farm animals died out because there was no-one to feed or care for them but you’d expect cats and dogs to be able to look after themselves. But hardly any have survived. More than humans, maybe even enough for their species to be viable. I don’t know how many that takes. Two? Mr and Mrs Adam and Eve Dog? I haven’t a clue, but me and Oscar are both ready to do our bit to save the planet. In the bed department. If we can find any ladies.  Purely from a humanitarian standpoint, of course. Though I can’t really speak for Oscar, I just assume that as he’s male he’ll do his duty. Sacrifice himself and his own desires for the good of his race.

You know, I think this conversation has gone as far in this direction as I would wish and before it gets out of hand I’m going to play another song. This one is from Gloria Gaynor.

Wednesday, August 22

Hello World. Stuart Oliver Doyle here again, as usual. That was Elvis Costello with his version of the George Jones classic, A Good Year For The Roses. A real case of trying to put a positive spin on a world gone to shit. My wife left me, they shot my dog, my business is bankrupt, I’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer, but the ***king flowers are doing good. Jeezus, depressing or what?

But I guess that’s what I’ve been doing to myself and to anyone out there listening to me. The whole world’s gone to hell and the ***king lights have gone out and I’m here whistling a merry tune in the ***king dark and telling anyone who’ll listen that everything’s going to work out fine. Well ***k this for a game of soldiers. Everyone I know is dead. Pretty much any house you walk into still stinks of dead bodies. There’s skeletons and shit lying in the street. I can’t clean the ***king place up by myself. But it freaks me out crunching over bones if I want to drive into the city. At least if the dogs had survived they’d have eaten the dead. Wouldn’t they? All I’ve seen so far is a couple of Jack Russells and some class of a Scottie, the kind off the Black & White whisky label. They’re not going to do much cleaning. Course, they’re not threatening either. There’s your spin for you right there. Pets have died out but at least that means they’re not going to eat me in my bed. I’m not sorry to see the back of cats, though. They’re sneaky buggers. They’re the ones that would have taken over the world from us. Except we got them too.

Ants then. Or cockroaches. The world belongs to them. Or it soon will. Maybe I should be going around stamping the shit out of anthills? Just putting off the inevitable really. So why bother? Pity some of the scientists didn’t survive so I could work off some steam on them. I can just see it: You worked for the government did you? Well take that. Biff! Smash! His head caves in. I weigh my trusty cricket bat in my hand. Four! Maybe a golf club would be better. A metal wood. Tie him down. Tee up his head. Fore!

Maybe I’d be so glad to see him that I’d throw my arms around him. Give him a huge hug. Forgive him everything. Might be worth it. If he had girls. He’d know all about diversity in the gene pool. Make sure I got my share.

            Forty-three seconds of silence.

I’m beginning to rant again. And in the same direction as usual. Could be the DSB. That stands for deadly sperm build-up. Apparently it kind of soaks into the bloodstream and gets carried to the brain and affects your mental stability and then all you can think about is sex. And I don’t know if there’s a cure for it. Maybe it’s because it pissed rain on me this morning when I went for my walk. How come if it’s going to rain and you take a risk on getting back before it starts, the rain always comes when you’ve gone too far to turn back and there’s no shelter. There wasn’t even anything to see in the bay this morning. Could have been a fleet of ships pulling in to Dun Laoghaire harbour but all I could see was fog. What sort of job am I doing? The guys in the enclave depend on me as their link to the world outside. And I saw nothing. Heard nothing. What a waste of space.  I could go on depressing me and you and Oscar even further but I’m simply going to play another record and hope I can clear my mind. This is the inimitable Mr Michael Nesmith, former Monkee, whose mother, by the way, invented Tippex, with his song Beyond the Blue Horizon.

Tuesday November 21

Good morning world, this is Stuart Thomas Doyle and that was eleven minutes and thirty-five seconds of The Doors with The End. I should really play that every day, all day. Not simply because it’s such a great song and I love it. It’s just so appropriate. I wish this was TV. I could play the opening credits of Apocalypse Now with The End playing over the shots of American fighters napalming the jungle. Eerie. Powerful. Unforgettable. Now that was the way the world should have ended, in fire and anger and destruction and pain. Not coughing and keeling over in the streets.

It’s strange to think that back in February I had a job. I used to get the train in to work every day, people pushing up against me, jostling, shoving, trying to get ahead, get off the train first, power walk to the office, wearing runners because their smart shoes weren’t good for walking. So what are those shoes good for? I’ve still got to wonder. I used to wear them myself. I broke into a shoe shop on Grafton Street just last week and got myself a pair of Church shoes. I couldn’t find price tickets but I know they cost hundreds. My boss used to go on about how it was so worth it to buy good shoes. It’s the real way to judge a man, he’d say. Check his shoes. Quality blokes wear quality shoes. Then he’d tell you about how comfy his Church shoes were, turning his brogue from side to side so we could see every facet, like it was a thoroughbred horse we were examining. I often felt we should take a walk around him to get the full value of the show.

Much good his shoes did him. The boss was one of the first to go down, not even a week after the first reported casualties. The virus paid no attention to rank or wealth. I remember the army handing out paper masks on street corners like it was bad smog and you might catch bronchitis. There were inoculations later on. After the survival rate began to drop towards zero. I didn’t bother with the injections: a mate of mine told me on good authority that the only way to survive was through natural immunity. Unfortunately of the mammals only me and Oscar, the Jack Russells and the Scottie have it as far as I can see. About the only thing that didn’t transmit the thing was sex. So at the end everyone fucked like there was no tomorrow. Pun intended. I never got as much pussy as in those last couple of weeks. Naturally I picked up something nasty. Got this itching in the crotch. Apparently crabs are also immune to the virus. Took a lot of powders and pills to shake them. It’ll be months before my pubes grow back.

But that’s not the sort of thing I should be discussing over the airwaves, is it?  I should do my announcements. The weather today: chances of rain – fifteen percent. And here’s Flaming Lips with the question on everyone’s lips, Do You Realize.

Friday, September 14

Good morning, World, this is Radio Ireland bringing you all the hits that’s fit to play and I’m your host Stuart Interesting Doyle. Our intro song today was Wish You Were Here by the mighty Pink Floyd from the album of the same name. My dad went to see them live when he lived in London back in the sixties, or it might have been the seventies. Maybe they had an off night, but he thought they were shite.

I thought I saw an aircraft this morning. It was up real high. Probably in the stratosphere. Oscar didn’t see it or didn’t think it was a plane. Or maybe I’m interpreting his reaction badly. Who knows with Oscar? He’s a bit of an enigma really. But I’m thinking it was an aircraft. Though mostly what I could see was a vapour trail. At that height it had to be military. It was heading west, so maybe American heading home after a mission?

I’ve been monitoring the short wave for signals but I’ve no idea what frequencies the US military might be using. Over the months I’ve done regular sweeps across the dial but got nothing. Maybe they’re keeping radio silence for some reason. Maybe they think the virus was spread by terrorists or germ warfare that got out of hand. There was plenty of speculation in the papers over the final weeks. I’ve collected pretty much every copy of every newspaper that came out at the end and read all the speculation. But it was only speculation. Nobody official admitted anything, no terror groups tried to make a claim and everyone from the Mater Hospital to the World Health Organisation failed to offer any cogent explanation.

Cogent, good word that. I was reading an old copy of Reader’s Digest. Cogent was in a How To Increase Your Word Power article. I’ve got a stack of them to go through and I’ll be peppering my conversation with my increased vocabulary over the following weeks. I don’t think the end of the world is any excuse for letting my brain rot. I have a duty to improve myself. I might be one of the only viable males left on the planet. There may be a boatful of women heading in my direction right this minute looking to have their eggs fertilized. It’s my bounden duty to the future human race to make myself as smart as I can possibly be. I’ve even taken a language course out of the library. It’s just conversational French but it’s a start. By the time the ladies arrive I’ll be able to say Bonjour and Comment Allez Vous in at least several languages.

To celebrate my excursions into multi-lingual territory this is the Nina Hagen Band with her version of White Punks on Dope. She calls it TV Glotzer. Yeah!

Monday, December 24

Radio Ireland again, I’m Stuart Anthony Doyle, your dee jay, and that was Mud with Lonely This Christmas. Is it just me or is that the best ever Elvis pastiche on an original song? How come that wasn’t the one that was played over and over instead of Wizzard or Slade or even, God save us, David Bowie and Bing Crosby with The Little ***king Drummer Boy? God, Christmas. How lonely’s it going to be this year?

But never mind that, I’ve got news. You’ll never guess. While me and Oscar were having our walk we saw a ship in the bay. A ship. The most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. Red at the water line, with dark blue above and the decking is white with the bridge like a fairy castle in the stern. There it was gliding up the channel to Dun Laoghaire. I wish I had brought a set of binoculars with me so I could see the people on board. I used to carry field glasses all the time for the first couple of months. I’d scan the horizon for ages looking for signs of life. One day it was so clear I could see Wales from the top of Killiney Hill with the naked eye. The glasses weren’t much help. It was still pretty much a blur, just a bit bigger.

I couldn’t make up my mind what to do. First I thought I’d leg it down to the harbour, greet them when they landed. Then I thought it’d be better to come back here, try and raise them on the radio. I mean, you never know who it might be. It could be that ship of women I was hoping for but it’s more likely to be an all male crew, if I’m honest. Unless, of course, all the other survivors in the world are women. Could I be that lucky?

I am getting a bit worried though. I radioed as soon as I got back, hitting all the regular frequencies. They must have heard me. Why are they not responding? Could they be a raiding party? What do they want? I’ve got nothing they can’t find anywhere in abundance. Whatever the story, I’m going to stay right here and lock myself in. I’ve got weapons. I’ve been collecting them since the virus. You’d be surprised how few sporting goods shops in Ireland sell guns. Plenty of shotguns though, if you know where to look. Thank God for the Yellow Pages. I tried military installations but couldn’t find anything useful. They were worse armed than I am. Where did the army’s guns go? Did someone get to them before me? If they did, they’re the world’s best armed corpses now.

Shotguns will do a lot of damage. They’ve got to come up the stairs to get at me. I’ll cut them to pieces at close range. A dozen shotguns all loaded for bear. They won’t be able to climb over the mountain of dead to get at me.

I haven’t really thought this through properly though, have I? They could burn me out. They won’t have come without serious armaments. They could have bazookas or field artillery. Mortars. Anit-tank weapons. Anything. What chance have I really got? I’m just a dee jay. And not even a real one  – just the last bloke left standing. The only person left in the world who wants to be a dee jay. What does that say about me? The height of my ambition is to play tunes for an invisible audience that might not even exist. Jesus, I’m pathetic.

I can see in Oscar’s eyes he agrees with me. And how ridiculous is that? The opinion I most value is that of a Cairn Terrier. I don’t think he’s even pure bred. His ears don’t stick up properly and he’s too big. Cairn terriers are small dogs. And they bark a lot. Oscar hasn’t barked since the day I found him. Maybe his owners had him de-barked? I’ve heard it’s possible. But what sort of asshole would do that to a poor dog? Here boy. Come on. Hup! Good boy.

I don’t know what I would have done without him these last months. He’s been my only company. The only thing worth living for. Now, I probably won’t even be able to protect him. The last man in Ireland and I can’t even take care of myself and a stupid dog. I’ve been trying to put a decent spin on things ever since I began broadcasting. I didn’t want you to realise how band things were here. I didn’t want to admit it to myself. Now I’m having some sort of moment here. Honesty or maybe lucidity. I don’t know what it is or what to call it. All those Reader’s Digests wasted.

All I know is the ship is the last straw. But I’m not going to lose it. That would make it too easy for them. I’ve got my wits about me and the second I hear them crawling through the air ducts I’m gonna start blasting.

So now, in a break with tradition, I’m going to play an entire CD from start to finish.

So bear with me while I put on The Black Parade by My Chemical Romance. My cousin bought this for me. Said it would suit me down to the ground ‘cos I’m an emo bastard at heart. Can’t say as I agree with him but it’s a great album. If every song isn’t about dying or committing suicide then I haven’t been listening carefully enough. Enjoy.

            A flat click then silence.

Sorry Oscar. It’s the only way. Best to get it over with before I over-think things and change my mind. Or chicken out.

            A single shotgun blast followed by the sound of a man crying followed by a long period of silence. A dog whines pitifully. Another shotgun blast. More silence.

Shit, the red light’s on. I’m live. But so what? This is what you’ve all been waiting for, tuning in every day, waiting for the inevitable. And who am I to deny my audience? The next several millennia of silence will be brought to you by the stupidity of the human race. The next couple of years silence here on Radio Ireland are courtesy of the Remington Arms Company and in particular their lovely Model 11-87 shotgun.

But first, a song from Leonard Cohen.


2 Responses to Radio Apocalypse

  1. Pingback: Everybody’s Favourite Cost – It’s Free | Bob Neilson

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