Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Elvis Costello "Indoor Fireworks"

I think at this point, the truth can be told.

Probably my least favorite gig in radio, is covering fireworks.

I mean, c'mon, is there anything less designed to be broadcast on radio? 

(Go ahead and pause for a moment, because I know you want to top me with answers like: Staring Contest, Mime Olympics, Golf)

And yet, every year the stations I have worked for have been involved in local fireworks.  And that has required a DJ (me), to be on-site broadcasting live.

A fireworks event is a big game of hurry up and wait.

The event holders want to get the fireworks going as soon as possible.

But they have to wait for the sunset.

And they have to make sure the winds are right. 

And the technicians are in position.

And the safety checks have been performed.

And the fire department is ready.

And . . . and . . . and . . . I'm sure load of other important things.

All the while, they keep telling me, "We're almost ready to go.  Make sure they are ready back at the station.  Are you ready?  Really ready to go?  Because we're going in a minute.  As soon as everybody's ready.  Are you ready?"

This goes on for 30 to 45 minutes.

In the meantime, as the DJ in the field, I am speaking by phone with the radio station.

Back at the radio station, someone (often Alison) is playing CD after CD waiting for the event to start.  When they're ready---really ready---she'll play the coordinated "Fireworks Soundtrack" that has been designed by the fireworks company to match the display.  In the meantime, she's playing relevant tracks, picked by me.

Like "Fourth Of July" by Dave Alvin.  Or "Independence Day" by Bruce Springsteen.

"Are you ready to go?"

Yes, I say.

"Really ready?"

Yes, I say.

"Okay.  So are we.  Tell them to start."


Alison is playing "Indoor Fireworks."  She's not just going to stop the song in the middle.  Let's wait for it to end.

"How much longer?"

I dunno.  It's almost over, I think.

"Are they ready back at the station?"


"Is it almost over now?"

It doesn't seem like it.

"How long IS this song?"

At this moment, it feels like it's about 4 hours long.

"Is it going to end soon?"

I'm sure it will.

"We're waiting on you guys."

Yes, I know.

"We're ready."

Yes, I know.

"'Indoor Fireworks.'  He just keeps saying that."

Almost over.

"Is this it?  Is that the end?"

That's it.

"Are we ready?"

Let do this.


And from there, radio listeners can enjoy a half-hour of "The 1812 Overture" with the distant faint popping sounds of what probably are some spectacular fireworks, if you could somehow only see them on an audio system.

Hear the song on Youtube.

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