Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Monday 7/4/2003Had a cracking Sunday, mostly spent at Carter's Steam Fair. This is a travelling funfair that pops up on the Holloway Road for two days every April, running a variety of restored rides from the turn of the century onwards.

Monday 7/4/2003
Had a cracking Sunday, mostly spent at Carter's Steam Fair. This is a travelling funfair that pops up on the Holloway Road for two days every April, running a variety of restored rides from the turn of the century onwards. Powered by a variety of steam engines and original electrical gear that makes you wonder how anyone survived the 1920s, it's got the lot -- from galloping horses, dodgems and divebombers to swinging yachts, all beautifully kept up by the Carter family. Enormous fun, visually marvellous and not a little psychedelic. However, I'm there with a travelling circus of my own, including Adrian. Being irrepressible radio nerds, and to the resigned horror of our belles, we arranged to rendezvous at the fair with the help of our walkie-talkies. That worked well enough, but the subsequent plan for Ade to report on a ride by wireless went badly wrong. His stint on the Octopus -- twirly chairs whizzing around at speed through the air -- was rendered almost useless by his and his partner's terrified screaming. As this tended to occur as the ride reached the top of its ascent, this boosted the range of his transmissions to a good couple of miles, I reckon. Anyone listening on that frequency in Holloway may have been surprised by broadcasts of sheer spine-tingling terror: subsequent monitoring showed that it's used by builders, shop assistants and what sounds like the local train station. It could have been worse. I've assembled and am now running an Internet-linked repeater on the selfsame channel, as described in last week's diary. That works surprisingly well, but had it been in service at the time of the Octopus radio incident the visceral shouts of horror would have been broadcast in Australia, Belgium and Surrey, among others. Is the world really ready for this?

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