De Beauvoir radio project unites young and old

Eden John and Imogen Bartley work on a jingle for the show during a Parallel Radio workshop

Eden John and Imogen Bartley work on a jingle for the show during a Parallel Radio workshop - Credit: Archant

A radio workshop has brought the young and the old together, as they took to the airwaves just six weeks after being challenged to make a radio show.

Parallel Radio, run by Open School East in De Beauvoir Road, De Beauvoir, encouraged over 20 people, from schoolchildren to septuagenarians, to give up four hours over six Saturdays to share their memories through music while training to use radio equipment.

They made their debut appearance two weeks ago when they took over the airwaves of Resonance FM for an hour between 8 and 9pm on Friday, December 20.

Laurence Taylor, co-founder of Open School East, which organised the workshop, said: “With parallel radio we wanted to create an intergenerational workshop on radio making.

“The project is about sharing gems in your music collections, learning practical skills and more importantly creating collaboration and communication between young and old people. “The project has been a huge success and we look forward to continuing in 2014.”

Vicky Burrington, one of the younger members, said: “It was such a great opportunity to be working with people from different generations, can’t wait to get back into it in the new year.”

Skippy, an older member of the group, said: “We knew nothing about radio. However since we have been here a great deal has been gained. We look forward to continuing in the new year. Being a part of this gives a sense of belonging.”

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Prior to the show, Rick Crust, one of the leaders of the workshop described how quickly the group had worked to get their show on air.

“In just two weeks, they learnt to use the equipment, the microphones, how to balance the sound, how to make jingles.”

“But more importantly, because we’ve been talking about music we remember from a long time ago to induce memories we’ve found out more about each other, that is the real value.”

Dalston’s renowned Four Aces Club DJ Newton Dunbar,79, was interviewed as part of the workshops about his advice for young people who want to become DJs, while Pauline Browne, 58, from Clapton, took over the radio booth on another session to record a song she had written years ago, but only now felt confident to share.

Ms Browne had been on a plane to Jamaica in the 1990s when the plane had to make an emergency landing because of fears of a bomb on board. It left a lasting impression.

“The plane disaster was a nightmare,” she said. “We had to run for our lives.”

For others, working with a group of people they didn’t usually interact with was the attraction of the workshops.

“It’s wicked working with older people,” Victoria Burrington, 22, said. “Part of the reason I signed up was because it was with over 55s”.

Frank Robertson, an older participant, said: “I could stay here all day, I’ve never seen anything like this - people who would normally cross each other on the street are working together, it’s beautiful.”