Dear Mr. Wilson,

I was distraught to learn from Radio 2 on Saturday night that you have acid on the radio and acid in the rain. If, as one is to assume, you have spilt some on to your wireless out of a leaky car battery in the garage or had the window open on a drizzly day when unblocking your kitchen sink with some 'One Shot', one can only hope that you will be more careful in the future.

As regards your assertion of witnessing the Messiah in unbleached cotton, it must be countered that I find it unlikely that it was Jesus in the calico. My son does recall Jesus on the radio, however, and thought that ''International Bright Young Thing'' was a very catchy offering

We thank you for bringing this to our attention and wish you luck ''everywhere you go''

Yours

Derek

 

Dear Derek

Thank you for your good-natured, if ill-informed, query regarding my band Danny Wilson’s single The Second Summer of Love. Let me address your concerns in the order that you articulate them in your letter.

Firstly, might I respectfully suggest that a minor adjustment to your hearing aid would perhaps be of benefit as the word you mistakenly interpret as “Acid” is in fact two words. “El Sid” the correct lyric, actually refers to the little know late night disc jockey Sidney (El Sid) Bridlington who kept me enthralled, enchanted and awake as a young lad with his show “Sidnight Melodies”. This grooviest of radio shows was broadcast nightly on my local station during the early part of the 1970s. When I say “early part” I mean it literally, as the show had only been on-air two and a half weeks when Sidney, after being caught in one of the particularly nasty downpours that ravaged Dundee that winter, contracted pneumonia and tragically died.

I felt inspired to immortalise Mr Bridlington in song not only because his radio show was a miracle of easy-listening charm and hummability, but also because his greatest and perhaps most undervalued achievement was the record that he set in broadcasting history. That is to say, he was, and still is, the only disc jockey named Sidney to be employed at any radio station ever. In a cruel twist, his entry into the Guinness book of world records was quashed when it surfaced that he had in fact been born Brenda Bridlington and after a sex change, had unwittingly filled out the form incorrectly while attempting to legally change his name.

Taking all of this into account I’m sure you will agree that “El Sid on the radio” speaks for itself while “El Sid in the rain” of course, refers to his encounter with the terrible storm that so drenched the velvet-voiced announcer on his 4am walk home from the radio station that fateful January morning. His story, pitiful as it was, would take on an extra layer of misfortune when it later transpired that this walk would have been completely unnecessary had his bicycle not been in at Spokesman’s Cycle Repair Shop that evening having a new bell fitted. They do say that every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings.

While I would argue that, in a tome no less authoritative than the Holy Bible, it is recorded that Jesus of Nazareth was rarely seen when not sporting his favourite calico tunic, “Jesus on the radio”, as your Son rightly states, refers to the pop group Jesus Jones. Back when I penned The Second Summer of Love however, that band had only released one single: The quirkily titled, commercial flop “Info Freako”. It’s now a matter of public record that the singer’s impassioned delivery on that recording stirred in me memories and emotions, long suppressed, of Sidney Bridlington’s relentless battle with the world, his sexuality and finally inclement weather.

I trust that my reply has answered your questions and hopefully helped shed some light on a fascinating character who’s life, while short, meant something to one radio-obsessed teenager who only a few years later, would put El Sid right back where he deserved to be:

El Sid on the radio.

Yours sincerely

Gary Clark

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