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On The Beer

mark wood

by Mark Wood

Headline: “Radio Station Beer 1212”

As the notoriety of the First Airborne Homebrew Division rises to greater heights, so too do the ambitions of their fearless leader, Smokin’ Joe. The Division are world famous for fifty feet, and they live it with a graceful dignity usually reserved for Heads of State and Backhoe Operators. Yet, they strive for more.

During one of their regular bouts in the Smoking Room, a device with a master plan is unveiled.

“This,” roars Smokin’ Joe, “is a radio transmitter.” He deftly throws back an old wool blanket, and in his best James Brown accent says, “So we can get the message out to the peoples, y’all!”

The B’ys go wild. They string up an antenna across the back yard and plug in a few dubious electrical connections while SJ hangs up the appropriate flag: A plaid shirt with “BEER 1212” scrawled on the back.

The B’ys take their seats by the fire again. Jimmy Two Fires with a portable radio, Smokin’ Joe with an old square microphone and Special Ed with a beer in each hand and a smile on his face.

“JTF, light me up a Thundercloud,” SJ crackles over the radio, and with these simple words the pirate radio station BEER 1212 is born unto the ambeerdextrous ambassadors. Needless to say, a pause ensues, punctuated by backslapping, kneeslapping, clinkage, spillage and superfine cigar smoke.

The broadcast begins in earnest:

“Yer listenin’ to Radio Station BEE-Double-EE-ARRRRGH, a dozen-dozen on your Mayhem Radio Dial, and I’m your host, Smokin’ Joe giving it my six per cent best.” He hands the mic to his right.

“I’m Jimmy Two Fires.” A whoop goes up from the woods, probably a fan from down the road. “I’m the Minister of News, Weather and Sports.”

“And I’m Special Ed! I’ll crank out the homemade hits at midnight on the Full Power Hour!”

“But first, a word from our sponsor,” adds Smokin’ Joe. He pours up a Thundercloud next to the microphone and leaves it there. We all watch, then ask what he’s doing.

“Have you ever heard a beer being poured up on the radio?” asks SJ. “You can picture it foaming up in the mug, condensation beading on the sides. It’s got to be the thirstiest sound you’ve ever heard.”

“Can we really do this?” inquires JTF.

“We can do whatever we want,” says Special Ed. “We’re On The Beer!”

Mark is also a regular columnist with The Independent (.ca) newspaper.