Simon Musings

RADIO MONOPOLY
Vincent Ferrini

Geller is the goaler
and the ghouls
are after him

the beguilers pounce on Geller
a fat poor goose
for the rulers

this unknown famous geezer
at the last ditch
is a shrewd guesser

the hick towers in their hi gowns
have classical hot rock
with whipt jelly

the new older olden new
have speech defect
and cauliflower ears

the commercial of pestilence
this red white and pew
freedom of greedom

the eyes are butchered and despised
so kill the ears
the final liberty

Gloucester is up for grabs
the slickers are armed with sourdough
and throwaways

Geller is jailed in his cellar
his radio caved in
supported by insufficient funds

even the wise kids are after his lid
old and new buzzards
after the air heaves

this least of the Gloucester tasters
the finest immigrant-
so murder this quality

fuck up the sight and sheet in the ears
bury Geller bring MacDonald
homogenize!

happy in his homely shambles
this lone salamander's
pad and bed it

who is tailored
by 5th Avenue
strolling a Village accent

born to die
don't let anyone
in between

when suffering
shuts down
for a trip to treatments




Simon and Me
Ken Philpot - thegardenandtherain.me - November 21, 2015

I lived with Simon Geller. I never met him, but I feel as if I know him. And maybe I do, in some ways, as well as anyone still around. For the last five months, Simon has greeted me very early every day: "WVCA Gloucester Massachusetts" has been his way of saying good morning. His voice would come floating from my studio monitors. Yet another ancient reel of tape would be spinning on the deck and from it his unique announcing style and playlist would return from the stasis of over 30 years and flow into my hard drive in incomprehensibly tiny bits. What would he say if he were here and could witness what we were doing? Would he approve of our project to bring his hard work back from the grave and give it new life on a new format he never could have imagined? He said he wanted to be forgotten.

It was well known that he left town and never looked back. Gloucester never warmed his heart. So why did he spend so many years playing his music here? Was it just a job? That's hard to fathom. He barely scraped by, mostly on donations. Simon was a well-educated radio engineer with valuable skills. It must have been about the music. How did he come to this playlist? Anyone who has ever programmed classical music for radio knows that the pieces you choose for broadcast reflect a personal part of you. What was he trying to say through his selections? Was he really broadcasting his passion? Sharing an intimate part of himself? Speaking with an eloquence his vocally-challenged and sometimes colorful on-air persona could not?

Later, I pull up the files from reel 12 that was loaded earlier in the day onto the drive. I have some tough decisions to make. The fragile 30-year-old tape has seen better days. The audio is so badly damaged on several tracks that I may have to edit them out. Simon is looking over my shoulder. How dare I mess with his selections? These tracks were there for a good reason. Maybe I should just leave them be, even though the music is hard to listen to. What would Simon do? I listen to the other undamaged parts of the program. The audio is sweet and mostly free from noise or distortion. Simon took great care in this transcription. The levels. The stylus tracking. The signal to noise. All done with such attention to engineering detail. Is he telling me to sacrifice the damaged tracks? I can't spend any more time on this with another 50-some-odd programs yet to digitize and process. So I do what I think is best. Listeners will not appreciate music they can't enjoy. I edit. Sorry, Simon.

After dinner I run the final product. Program 12 plays from the speakers on my computer. My two-year-old grand daughter, Ella, comes running in from the next room. Simon says: "WVCA Gloucester Massachusetts" and announces the next piece. Ella points to the speakers and says, "Simon!" The music plays. She listens. Ella knows Simon, too. I think maybe he would approve.



A Soundtrack from the Past
Bob Philpot - January 17, 2016

My father's passion for all things audio were all around me as a child. I have my first recollections of this in the early 70s, living in Pepperell. We lived in a split, with three bedrooms up above, a two-car garage, and an unfinished basement below. We hadn't lived there long before my father had a radio room framed out in the basement, and a growing assortment of antennas on the roof. This was just a precursor.

Late in the Spring of 1978, we moved back to our hometown, Chelmsford. There my father would claim one of our four bedrooms as his "Study". The "Study" was floor to ceiling electonics. As one walked in the door of the "Study", were a series of three wall-mounted shelves on the left. These shelves held a variety of stereo equipment. It was essentially a small radio studio.

Along the opposite wall was a small desk, surrounded by two large bookcases that stood about six feet. On the top of each shelf were AR3 speakers, which my father would lovingly listen to his music on. He would often stand at the center point across the room and just take it in.

On the wall oposite the entrance to the room were another series of wall- mounted shelves, which held a variety of ham radios, weather equipment, and more stereo equipment. Of particular note was a Realistic mobile receiver, which was connected to some bookshelf speakers and an antenna on the roof. It was through this receiver that my father would tune in WVCA-FM in Gloucester.

My father would spend much of his free time in the Study, where he could be found talking to his friends on "Two Meters", listening to the police and NOAA radio during a winter storm, watching the news, cranking some tunes, or sitting at his old school desk paying the bills. I would drift in and out of the Study as a kid, taking it all in.

What one would hear in the Study would vary, but WVCA-FM was a consistent part of the repertoire. It often played in the background, subtly, with an occasional announcement from Simon Geller telling us the piece we were listening to. I didn't think much of it at the time. It was just a classical music station with a quirky announcer.

This routine of my father hanging out in his Study, and my brother and I popping in from time to time would continue until the late '80s when I graduated high school. And often Simon Geller would be there with us, off in the background, playing obscure recordings of Mozart, Strauss, Haydn, and others.

Fast forward thirty years. My father forwards along a short email correspondence in June between himself and a man named Henry. Henry is a film producer who lives in Gloucester. Henry tells my father that he has "Simon's tape-recorded library", and that he has long wanted to digitize the tapes and create a virtual WVCA. As luck would have it, he was talking to the right person. It wasn't long before I was headed to Gloucester to pick up some tapes, and by early August those tapes would be playing regularly in my home office and my father's office in Ohio.

Hearing Simon announce "WVCA, Gloucester Massachusetts" brings me back to simpler days, hanging out in my father's Study. And I know now that soon enough this project will do much the same for others.

Thank you, Simon.