We are often separated from our friends. Some we outgrow, some move onwards and upwards, some are snatched away from us. I have covered that subject in previous posts. We find our friends in many different ways and in many different circumstances. Going to school with someone is no guarantee that you will even remember their name by the time you reach your twenties. I have memories of my mates at school making me laugh, people in my class choosing to emulate Robert Smith’s biggest hair day while The Cure still enjoyed a cult following, and that funny looking kid wearing his Dad’s old shoes. The key there is “that funny looking kid”. I don’t remember his name. But I remember his Dad’s shoes. I was like a 6’6″ version of Carrie Bradshaw in my youth; it was all shoes, shoes, shoes to me.
I found a friend when I was 20 years old. I have never met him, or any of his other friends. I have a vague image of what he looks like, but I have never seen him in person. I know his voice, but I could probably walk past him in the street without knowing it. I have spoken to him once and once only. Despite the fact that your friends should know you almost as well as you do, he knows very little about me, hardly anything worth noting. I don’t always agree with what he says, but he does say it well. And that is why I know him.
Without this getting too abstract or seeming to be on “the weird side” of mental, I have been listening to Ian Collins on TalkSport for years. I like to think that I have been listening since the Talk Radio launch day in 1995, but I might not be able to prove that. I probably was though. Even to me, it sounds crazy to be invested in another person’s radio show, but I am. Or, I was. It wasn’t until news came out that Ian is leaving TalkSport that I realised how much The Late Show, and it’s previous incarnations, have kept me company. While procrastinating under the guise of revising during my years at university, to playing online poker on an evening after my various jobs, I have had Collins on in the background. Many is the time I have found myself immersed in a subject that I didn’t even know I cared about. And of course, many others that the whole country cared a great deal about. If you have never heard it, listen to Ian talking with Siobhan about setting up a Facebook page in support of Raul Moat’s murderous rampage in Northumbria, showing a surprising level of restraint in the face of incredible stupidity. Throughout my time listening, subjects like this have been interwoven with talk about childhood TV shows and playfully goading listeners by insisting that TV advert jingle lyrics are not what we thought they were. Serious and silly. And addictive. Ask Ted.
But no more. Ian has stated that he is leaving TalkSport (Tomorrow) on the 1st September. He refutes any suggestions of having been pushed, jumped, conspiracy theories about his departure and reiterates that it is simply “time to move on”. He has given no more clues as to what the future holds for him, other than he might be around on various media platforms in some form. TalkSport has undergone many changes over the years and it is a personal opinion as to whether these changes have been beneficial. Many lament the loss of established voices like Tommy Boyd, Mike “Porky” Parry and James Whale among others*. I suspect that Ian Collins will be pretty high on that list.
It is strange where, how, why, when and who we consider our mates. It is even stranger to consider someone a mate when they don’t really qualify under any of the normal criteria. But they are a mate, simply by being familiar and being there. My mate. Maybe it is an elaborate ruse and Collins is simply moving to another slot. Maybe he is going to join the BBC team (Great move for both in my opinion). Maybe I will look like a fool for falling for the “I am leaving The Late Show” scam. I don’t think it is anything other than what Ian has said. If I am to look a fool, then I would be a happy one. And I can live with that.
I know this is a very self indulgent piece and I am aware that it sounds a little stalkerish. I am a fan of the show. And that’s it. But I think that, having spent well over a decade making time to listen to someone who has made time for people like me, this is perfectly reasonable. It would be remiss to neglect the opportunity to thank Ian, Ash, Laura, Juan, Kev The Wonder Sheep and all of the other talented folk that have contributed to my evenings. With no other information to go on, I hope they all are successful in the future. Who knows, maybe they will work together soon? I have always been told that radio is an incredibly personal media and when I have worked on radio I have always kept this in mind. And what better example than Ian Collins. I know there are millions of listeners who will agree with that bit, at least.
So, while you don’t know me and I don’t know you. It has been a blast. I sincerely hope that you and your team are immensely successful in whatever comes next, and I hope that I can be a part of it in some way, just as we all were when we tuned to The Late Show.
*Any talk about TalkSport presenters that are missed would be neglectful if it didn’t make reference to Mike Dickin. RIP.