Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Help from above (four) - The Sound of Central Heating

My father listens to the same radio for more then forty years now; I mean the object, not the programme. The radio is a lampenradio. the Dutch gave it this name, not because 'lampen' means 'bulbs', but because of the short sausage shaped light bulbs in the body of the radio. The frequency scale is a piece of glass with the names of cities printed on it. There were quite a lot, of which I remember only one.

Not very long ago I saw the name Beromünster again. It was written on a blue shield, that stood next to the road. I was in a car, drove past it very fast, and had the strange sensation, that I didn't really see what I saw. And then it was gone.

My father worked in the coalmines. From 1954 onwards my parents house was heated by carbon. It is a becoming warmth with a comforting smell. Last year my parents changed to central heating. The radio is still there, alone now.

In far away Italy where I have chosen to lead a temporarily life as an arms smuggler - I sell to the Ethiopians - comfort comes from friends, phone calls and clothes, but, to my amazement, also from Dutch radio. My existence gets shaped into that of an exile, but that's okay by me. My sonic world is far away from what I hear between seven PM. and zero.I guess the programmes from Dutch radio are broadcasted one hundred years ago. The voices finally return to earth thanks to a dead satellite that has come to life again.

Maybe everything that reaches us via mail, radio or television is sent off very long ago, before I, you or our parents were even born. One day I will go to Beromünster to find out.



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