The DJ’s-Mike Read
Posted on March 20, 2011
”Mike Read, Mike Read, 275 and 285, Mike Read, Mike Read, national Radio One.”. In his pomp during the days of limited radio stations and four TV Channels, Mike Read was everywhere. He presented the Radio One Breakfast Show, Saturday Superstore and Pop Quiz. Read was also a regular Top of The Pops presenter and often the star turn on the Radio One Roadshow that toured the country during the summer months. Heady days indeed, but perhaps Read’s most famous and possibly damaging career moment was his pompous act of being the God of radio by removing a copy of “Relax” by Frankie Goes To Hollywood off his turntable and banning it live on air. This act of goodness backfired and spiked the rebellious side of the British youth and catapulted “Relax” and Frankie Goes to Hollywood up from number 35 straight to number 1 in the music charts. To put it bluntly Reed had made a complete tit of himself whilst “Relax” spent the rest of the year breaking sales records.
Read’s stint as a breakfast presenter ended in the late 80’s and to attempt to follow his career since then you have to plough through a minefield of radio stations, books, poetry, painting, politics and songwriting, he has in DJ speak, quite literally had a go at everything, with descending degrees of success as the years have passed him by. His stints on radio stations covering places such as Chichester and the Malvern hills have made him look like a boxer who doesn’t know when to stop, looking for that one fight that will propel him back to the glory years. In 2009 it was even reported that he was in discussions with other former DJ’s to form a station called “One Gold” as a rival to Radio One.
It is not known at what point that 63 year old Read thought that he could poach an audience of 14-30 year old’s from Radio One with music by Spandau Ballet and Cliff Richard, but this had to be one of his more crackpot ideas which was probably a result of a conversation with the musical writer “Mad Mike Bonkers Batt”. Can you imagine it:
“I have in my hand a piece of filth by Eminem that I will not play on this station………………..here’s Haircut One Hundred with “Fantastic Day”, I really hope my listeners have a fantastic day too….I’m off to do a Rap at the Tory party conference……don’t go on the M11, it’s bumper to bumper.” He did actually do a rap at the 2006 Tory conference, but to my utter dismay, I can’t find the lyrics anywhere on the internet. However, if anyone out there can find them, please forward them on to me.
A staunch Tory and lover of all things Thatcher, Read has spoken as a guest (about what?) at three conferences and even claims to have been asked to run for the Mayor of London for the Conservatives (a claim no one has backed up). However, he decided that he would rather throw his substantial political weight behind Boris Johnson’s campaign published on the Guardian’s “Comment Is Free” Blog In 2007. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that most of the comments were pretty much derisory, but such is Read’s belief that everyone thinks he is some kind peoples poet, he probably didn’t notice or care. I am really trying here, but I am finding it very difficult to feel sorry for such a prat.
Read was declared bankrupt for the second time in 2009 forcing him to sell off his record collection and other music memorabilia valued at a staggering one million pounds. However, it only fetched £100k and the remainder is being sold on eBay by liquidators in a bid to pacify unpaid creditors. Read also released a Christmas charity single in 2009 with Roy Wood (Wizzard) Dave Hill (Slade) and ‘Diddy’ David Hamilton. The Single shot straight in to the Top 10 (thousand) and peaked at number 8 (thousand three hundred and ninety seven) in the Amazon charts. It is not known how much the song raised. Desperate stuff indeed.
Two paragraphs on, and I am still trying to search deep in my soul for some pity towards Read, but as small and flagging business I am more inclined to feel sorry for the creditors he has left unpaid (twice). It is a lesson to everyone who has a basic lack of discernible talent, but has somehow got in to a position of popularity and wealth, to take whats on offer and keep their head down and invest wisely, as it won’t last. Read continually stuck his head above the parapet in the mistaken belief that a minority were jealous of his success and the majority adored him, which for a few years between 1981-84 may have been nearer the truth.When he banned “Relax” an essentially inoffensive song, a generation of teenagers no longer saw him as “Mike Read, Mike Read, 275 and 285” they saw a self righteous wanker and made their point by buying the record whether they liked it or not, just to piss Mike Read off.
However, the members of Frankie Goes to Hollywood will always see Read as the man that made them famous, and at least for a year or so, the biggest band in the world. He will be really proud of that.