The Sunday Seven.
Vicky Duncalf.

Also as her Twitter profile explains, "space writer, comedy writer, copywriter. English girl in Vancouver penning astronomy novel."

How did you become a DJ?

I was the bane of local radio presenters in the northwest of England. Teenage Me got so obsessed with hearing my own voice coming through the speakers that I’d dial up and be on every phone-in, no matter how irrelevant:
- So, now we have Vicky on the line – she’s only 13, but she has some choice words for Councillor Cox on the subject of the new waste incinerator in Elton. Vicky, you’re on the air.

- Hiyaaa! Oh god, I’d like to say hello to my mum and sister and everyone in class 3H at Frodsham Highschool and can I win a pencil please?
I got sexually obsessed with the presenters too, and tried everything possible to snog one. Eventually I got my man. He was operating the switchboard on a phone-in show, and although technically speaking, he wasn’t a presenter, it was close enough and we met up for a snog in a bush. He introduced me to the world of volunteer radio, and for many years, I presented shows on community radio.

Community radio stations are the perfect way to get into professional radio. They’re underfunded and understaffed, so you can quickly fill up your CV by learning to do everything, from presenting, to reading the news, to making adverts, to selling advertising space.

I also spent ten wonderful years writing radio commercials at Wire FM – a hilarious and quirky career for any writer. You’re paid to be as creative and off-the-wall as possible. Lots of fun and stress-free too.

What is your inspiration for your radio work?

I can’t abide ‘ready salted’ radio, where a dispassionate presenter fakes an orgasm over the latest Rhianna track and only has three minutes to talk between songs. Give me sketches, comedy, characters and saucy bits. Steve Wright on Radio 1 captivated the nation with this style of radio back in the 1990s, and the airwaves are a much poorer place without Mark and Lard.

What are the trickiest elements to achieve?

Pressing the buttons in the right order. I make my shows way too complicated and the payoff would be songs starting in the middle of other songs, and not switching the microphone on.

Of everything you've done what have you been most pleased with?

I did a series of shows with the papier-mache-headed Frank Sidebottom. We had a real comedy chemistry, and would create an incredibly insane and surreal world with every link. Music was a big part of these shows – he’d bring his keyboard and guitar and we’d freestyle our way through three hours of mayhem. Someone commented our relationship was ‘synergistic genius’ which is about as good as it gets.

Tell me about your writing. What is your book about?

My first novel was a comedy book set in a local radio station, but after ten months of trying, I realised the long novel format was too much for me to deal with. I can barely pay attention to a tweet, let alone a complex plot. So my new book is a true-life travel adventure called ‘Diary of an Astronomer Botherer.’ I’ve moved on from pestering presenters for pencils on to the big guns now, and I’m travelling the world to look through telescopes, and jog astronomer’s elbows. God help them.

Who’s your favourite DJ?

I miss Mark and Lard so very very much. Radio is a poorer place without them. It breaks my heart that radio can be the most creative medium, yet it’s so drastically underused. You can create a whole new universe with a few sound effects, but 99.9% of radio is just coffee-fuelled presenters talking about the price of fish, and the dreadful potholes. I’ve stopped listening to radio as a result. It’s a crime against this wonderful medium.

What stops you from feeling listless?

Writing 300 tweets a day. I’m thoroughly addicted and Twitter has changed my life for the better so many times.

Also, Twitter is like broadcasting on my own little radio station, and I especially like the @tinyvox app, where I can record sound clips and broadcast my own creations.


Vicky and Frank Sidebottom on Cheshire FM can be heard here and here's Vicky's website.

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