Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Catch me listening to Car Talk

I have a new favourite radio show and, in all honesty, my realization of the strength of my break with the past has left me reeling. If you were to tell me in 2003 that in five years I would find myself putting aside time every Saturday morning to listen to Click and Clack, the Tappet brothers, for one hour of call-in car repair radio on Car Talk, I’d have a hard time believing you. My skepticism would be based more on your claim of time travel, but I digress.

Car Talk is neither your run of the mill call-in or car repair show. The diversity of listeners it attracts rivals the tropical rainforest both in quantity and in distinctiveness. Just this past weekend there was a guy calling in saying he was a long time listener but, his main skill set being music, he new nothing about cars. Long-time listener? Excuse my simplemindedness but to listen to a call-in radio show about cars, don’t you have to not just like cars, but have some idea of how to fix them? The guy was a musician! I mean, I don’t mind gardening but I consider the gardening show on CBC just short of torture. Shouldn’t an alto-sax aficionado be listening to John Coltrane on Bose earphones that cost more than my weekly paycheck? Surfing over to their Facebook page, I discover that they have 12,175 fans and that, don’t forget, is only within the demographic that actually uses Facebook which I’d estimate to be only a fraction of their entire listening base. But even within that demographic, they still manage to have more fans than indie favourites Broken Social Scene or Chromeo. Taken at face value, that still means that more people feel the urge to make public their love affair with Click and Clack than two bands I’d consider famous. What’s happening here?

Truthfully, I’m not sure. I don’t even have a car to fix. I hadn’t even been interested in cars at all before. And, believe me, there are many things I find more pleasant than the call-in format for a radio show. The Tappet brothers, with their almost hyperbolic Boston accents have managed to breath life into a subject that I wasn’t even aware possessed the apparatus to blow into and they’ve been doing it for over 20 years! Is it their self-depricating charm or their almost House M.D.-esque ability to diagnose car troubles based simply on a caller’s questionable ability to imitate odd sounds made by their car over a poor phone connection on national radio? Whatever it is, I want to find out because I have my own discipline to breathe life into.

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