retired radio presenter

shepherd-dd-studio2standing by the chunky soundproofed exit door for the very last time, alan lane surveys the pale blue room from where he broadcasted forty years worth of late night radio talk show.

there is no sadness, only gratitude and exhaustion. at seventy years of age, alan is ready to end these early morning taxi rides towards a bed he tumbles into roughly around five a.m, almost every night of the week… in truth though, that taxi ride is one of his favourite things..he loves lounging in the back while the same old cabbie knows not to strike up any inane conversation, so alan can rest that deep warm husky voice of his. he loves how in these early morning hours, gliding through an anaesthetised west end, the downtime exposes the beauty of the city. he also enjoys the quiet sweeping quality of the nice car, as it sails up deserted streets towards his cluttered flat in finchley, north london.

alan walks down the narrow windowless corridor away from studio 3 for the last time and thinks about all the things his professional life had given him. he was born with the gift of the gab, but having to be alert and balanced without fail every evening for whoever rang in with good or bad opinions, distilled a level temper and clarity in alan,who in youth was a hell of a lot more hot headed. he thinks about the daily flood of information he’d been soaked in for decades which makes him mighty fine dinner table company.. he thinks about dolly his wife who he met on the team, and how her understated sophistication upped his working class game.. the only time he ever took a day off was the day she died.

at the end of the corridor on the corner, he peeps into the little stock room with the wonderful old art deco coffee machine that kept him lucid on air at four in the morning..bye bye and thanks mrs shuttleworth for keeping the machine loaded..bye bye lovely old toilet with the emerald green tiling all immaculately clean…he decides to go in for one final wee wee before activating the elevator…

it’s funny when you know your time is up…you don’t get dragged away kicking and screaming..there’s a calm feeling of resolve and acceptance..but the one thing that does feel like a punch in the guts, is when alan steps out of the old art deco lift and walks towards johnny the security officer at reception to hand in his identity card that gave him right of way every evening when he’d stagger in with pile of jazz records from his own personal collection…he loved that moment…it was a sweet and slightly egotistical thing to flounce freely through the foyer into the studios while stars and politicians waited humbly outside until a staff member ushered them in.. suddenly alan was on the outside along with all the rest of the punters, and even though it was logical and inevitable, he just wasn’t as ready for that as he thought he would be…no one ever is.

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