Options Aerial View: Playlist from July 5, 2016 Options

Aerial View was WFMU’s first regularly-scheduled phone-in talk show. Hosted by Chris T. and on the air since 1989, the show features topical conversation, interviews and many trips down the rabbit hole. Until further notice, Aerial View is only available as a podcast, available every Tuesday morning. Subscribe to the newsletter “See You Next Tuesday!” and find tons of archives at aerialview.me. (Visit homepage.)

iTunes Feed Also available as an MP3 podcast. More info at our Podcast Central page.

<-- Previous playlist | Back to Aerial View playlists |

Options July 5, 2016: Aerial View Farewell

Listen to this show: MP3 - 128K | | Add or read comments

Today: Aerial View Farewell
Today's Aerial View is the last. As I type those words I find myself in disbelief.

Aerial View first went on the air in 1989 and - except for a five-year "hiatus" from 2006 - 2011 (during which I cranked out the Communication Breakdown podcast and web show) - has been a regular fixture at WFMU. Much like myself.

It's not an exaggeration to say that I owe WFMU my life in many ways. I met my wife at a Glen Jones event. All those hours in front of the microphone unpaid eventually led to my career as a talk show host. Even my involvement with Coney Island and the Mermaid Parade came about because of Wild Girl and the nexus of WFMU. Of course, many of the friends I've made over the years - including some of you reading this newsletter - are in my orbit because of the "Freeform Station of the Nation." I owe WFMU a huge debt of gratitude. But I also repaid that debt many times over, through my time, talent and - yes - money. It's time to ramble on.

On this final installment of Aerial View you'll hear my very first appearance over the airwaves of WFMU. It was July 4, 1986 and I joined my friends Tom and Jim as guests of Kaz for an on-air barbecue. We dragged microphone cables out to the parking lot of Froeberg Hall on the Upsala College Campus - which was empty due to the holiday - so we could capture the sizzle off the grill. Jim and I wrote some holiday-themed sketches and all of us took part interacting with Kaz as he spun records and made with the platter chatter. By the time I headed back home I had the radio bug. 

I've told the story here before but Kaz invited me back for a longer spell, to be his co-host on The Nightmare Lounge. We did that for almost three years and then I was on my own, DJing on the overnight. I found myself filling in for a no-show DJ at Noon on a weekday because I was working in the WFMU offices alongside Ken Freedman and David Newgarden and neither of them could go on the air at that moment. That was the birth of Aerial View. I wanted to specifically run a talk show because my favorite moments on the Nightmare Lounge was when we took calls from listeners... and because I hated pulling out and putting away records. I also knew my musical knowledge didn't hold a candle to the majority of the WFMU staff and there was no way in hell I could go on every week and spin discs without coming across like a fraud.

I'll also admit to loving the adrenalin rush of being in the moment, thinking on one's feet and interacting with any call that came my way. My favorite callers were always the ones who'd fallen down the "rabbit hole" of WFMU, who had no idea what the station was, who they were calling, etc. They felt compelled by the topic and things usually got deeply absurd. My least favorite calls - besides the pure cranks - were those "funnier than thou" assholes who thought they'd take over the show for a few minutes and "show you how it's done." Yeesh.

One of these days, when I have the luxury of time, I'lll delve back into the Aerial View Archives and pull out some of my favorite moments. I'd like to assemble all the finest calls into one show. Currently, I'm focused on rebuilding my website and getting some writing done. I do appreciate - by the way - all the encouragement you've given my writing and I hope to see some of you  Aug. 11 at the KGB Bar for the next WFMU Literary Guild Meetup (details below).

WFMU has been a core part of my existence for thirty years and it'll always be in my heart. The station deserves our love and support forever. I hope some of you will continue on with me and keep your subscription to this newsletter, which will break free of Aerial View and become something a bit different. Don't ask me what that is yet because I don't know. But a number of you have admitted that they don't get to hear the show but that they always read this newsletter. Maybe we can continue in each other's company.

All best,

Chris T.
"Radio? That's for me!
Last Week: Hartel Lesson #7
This Aerial View introductory commentary is dated April 16, 2001. Often, I'd write something like this to kick off the show. I don't remember if I ever read this one on the air or not. I probably offered some truncated version. But here it is in its entirety.
Private World
I am sitting at the kitchen table in a very uncomfortable position, trying like to hell to get something done. I just turned off the TV and lit my pipe. I have a glass of Merlot by my side and a bottle of it near the sink. I am still in a deep fog of depression. All day long I felt like crying. I didn’t.
I thought I might when I got home. I sat on the edge of my bed, removing my shoes and socks, waiting for the wave of tears. Nothing.  I wonder if it will happen before I go to sleep. Probably.
What do I want to cry about? Everything. The fucking mess I’ve made of my life. My fat gut. My money woes. My women woes. Same old shit, in other words.
I thought i would sit here and write, try to get something done. But I just want to lie in bed and read. I know I am not much of a writer. I call myself one but it’s a lie. If I were a real writer I’d write something every night. I’d be reading a book every day. But I am a fraud.
Why can’t I just become comfortable with that?
Ever since the age of eleven or maybe younger, I’ve loved having keys beneath my fingers. I used to type on my mother’s old machines, first the manual Royal and - much later - an IBM Selectric. I can almost touch-type now. It’s half-assed touch-typing, though. It’s what I’ve worked out for myself over the years.
And now I want to write something for Aerial View:
Okay, I’m taking the plunge with this one.
I’ve been reading this R. Crumb book lately. It’s a collection of his stuff. I was never much of a comic book reader, not even underground comics. I read Mad magazine. And Cracked. And Crazy. But I never read Superman or Batman or anything else. I don’t know why. Maybe because I was into building models. And - later on, when I was 12 or so, I was into guitars. All I wanted to read about was guitars. I didn’t give a damn what was going on with Spiderman. Or the Furry Freak Brothers. Or Fritz the Cat.
Not that I wasn’t aware of comics. My Aunt Isabel always had a huge pile of them lying around at my grandmother’s house. I would read them when I went over to visit, which was often since things were so goddamned awful at my house.
All this is just preface - and anyone who’s listened to this program regularly knows how much I HATE prefacing. The important point I wanted to make about reading this Crumb book is how damn honest he is. Unless it’s all LIES, he seems to have this fearlesness, this willingness to explore his own life, his own behaviour, in a way I only wish I could.

So there I was, sitting on the bowl, reading Crumb go on about his sex-life, his trouble with women, his drug use, his paranoia, his fear, his pure wretchedness. And I was just so amazed at his willingness to bare all, to not hold back.
I’ve been going on for weeks now about my personal life and how I’d rather not have it be part of this show anymore. I just find it so hard to talk about intimate parts of my life and then have to run into people who say, “Too bad about that girl.” or “Have you found a good job yet?” or some such thing. Don’t get me wrong: I appreciate the concern. I really do. It’s just embarassing. Part of me wants to crawl into a hole. Okay, ALL of me wants to crawl into a hole.
But so many artists whom I truly admire are like Crumb in that they HOLD NOTHING BACK. Men and women who plumb their lives, who show you how truly awful they can be, who - above all else  - are honest, who are human: that’s who I want to be like. And - from time to time - I’ve been brave. I’ve gone out on a limb, talked about my romantic mishaps, my work-life, my family. But - lately - this show has become like a classic talkshow in that I get on here and rant and rave about politics or religion or some topic or another. Which is okay. But sometimes I feel like it’s all just a waste of time. Like I’m just another bag of hot air who can’t shut his damn piehole.
Like I want to change the world and can’t even change myself.
So I thought it was time I give you another glimpse into my Private World. I do this as some kind of half-assed public service. Like a caller to last week’s show pointed out, listeners like to compare their lives to mine. Then  maybe they won’t feel so bad about their progress - or lack thereof. (It’s my hope that once I do this, I never have to talk about this crap again - who am I kidding?).
Progress. Isn’t that what it’s all about? Progress? Romantic progress. Financial progress. Spiritual progress. Intellectual progress. Physical progress. We are supposed to be making ourselves better. We are supposed to be striving. We are supposed to outpace our parents. We are supposed to find some kind of fulfillment in life. Otherwise, what’s the point?
I haven’t been making much progress these days. I’ve been slipping backwards. Between you and me and that wall, I think I’m actually on the cusp of what could prove to be nasty midlife crisis.That’s why I’ve been making these flippant cracks about my life sucking. Let’s examine what I mean by that, first by offering some backstory, some facts:
FACT: I’m 38 years old, I’m going to be 39 in September. Then the big 4 - 0 is right around the corner. Like many of you, it scares the crap out of me. 
FACT: I am overweight. Okay, forget that. I am fat. I’ve always been fat. From time to time I’ve thought about doing something about it. But the thing is, I’ve always been able to get laid. I just have to work harder than your average non-fat man.
FACT: I am  losing my hair. THIS truly saddens me. It’s one thing to be fat - but to be BALD, too: it might as well be a crime.
FACT: I am usually broke. I have a coupla grand worth of stocks. I have maybe three grand in one pension plan, maybe $2500 in another. That’s my savings. Pretty funny, eh?
FACT: I have a terrible relationship with my family. I don’t talk to my two brothers anymore. I rarely speak with my two sisters. My mother and father were essentially clueless, not cut out to be parents. They left me with a huge sense of self-loathing. And not much else.
FACT: I never completed college.

Okay, those are the facts, the backstory. Now I’m going to restrain myself to the present and the two main areas of life, the ones Freud talks about: WORK and LOVE. First, work:
I’ve been a temporary employee of a National News service for four years now. I have no health coverage. I get no benefits of any kind, save one of those pension plans I mentioned. It’s feast or famine for me. Some weeks I get a good amount of hours. Some weeks it dwindles down to nearly nothing. I’ve been looking for work but not the way I should, not sincerely. I know I could go get a full-time job tomorrow but I’d probably have to do things I don’t want to. Even though my current job barely covers the bills it’s an interesting job and the people I work with are nice people.
What I’d really love to do is write. I’d like to spend my time making up stories and getting paid for them. I’ve had some small successes, sold some fiction, sold some personal essays. If I could just put my head down and committ myself, I think I could get somewhere. I know it’s hard - hell, anything worth having requires hard work - but I make it harder by falling into these deep troughs of depression.
Depression has been a constant companion of mine, as long as I can remember. It’s not something I like to admit. I tried Prozac once, years ago. But I couldn’t stand being reliant on a pharmeucutical firm for good feelings. And I don’t think my problem is chemical. I think I was essentially crippled by what went on in my childhood. I’m not trying to paint myself as a victim. It’s just that I was left with no good feelings about myself. I was left feeling like the world’s biggest turd.
If you were to ask me now what I’m good at, the only things I could come up with are my writing and my radio show. Both rely heavily on my sense of humour, which is the one true gift my mother gave me. And the only thing that keeps me afloat during periods like this, when depression forces me into bed as soon as I get home from work. My sense of humour and my self-awareness are the twin pilings on which I can stand above the goddamn depression.
I’m trying to do something about the depression. I’ve been seeing a shrink off and on for years now. I firmly believe in the talking cure. Why the hell else would I do a talkshow? I’ve learned many things about myself and the therapy has been tremendously helpful. But I still haven’t figured out how to take care of myself properly. If I did, I wouldn’t be on the radio right now, spilling out over the sides, opening myself to all kinds of ridicule.
I mean, why reveal all this weakness? Why go on and on in this vein? Why open up and bleed? Just to provide you with some entertainment? Just to prove to myself I’m unafraid? I don’t know. I keep thinking about Crumb, about his bravery. I want to be brave, too.
Which brings me to that second area: LOVE.
My love-life is currently on hiatus. Depression is not an aphrodisiac. I can’t even be a good friend when I’m in this state. I’m too stuck on myself, trying to figure out how to climb out of the ditch. So what girl is gonna find me attractive, big gut, thinning hair, empty wallet and all? Hell, all I’ve ever had that worked with women is my personality. I can be charming when I want to be. I can be funny. I can talk about anything under the sun. Like I said, I have gotten laid. I have had girlfriends. Sure, none of them lasted very long. That’s due to all kinds of reasons. Either I get scared and quit or they scared and quit. Or maybe the chemistry is wrong.
The last two women I dated, that was tough. I really liked them. But I didn’t love them. I didn’t feel it, whatever the hell “it” is. The last woman I felt “it” for turned out to be a total bitch. God, I was so in love with her, though. I wanted to marry her, buy a house, have kids. The whole shebang. She said she wanted to do the same with me. The first few months were sheer bliss. We had phone sex alot because she lived far away. Her body was like a playground for me. I wanted her constantly, endlessly.
But the warning signs were there all along. She called me “Christopher” even though I asked her not to. She played all kinds of twisted mind games on me, constantly stoking my fears, my insecurities. She did not act in a friendly way toward me. Is it any surprise she had serious father issues?
We had quite a scare - a condom accident - that led to an abortion. Things were not the same after that. She did not have any patience for me after that. She wanted a life I could not give her. And she didn’t believe enough in me to give me time. She wanted someone fully-realized and that was not me.

And she caved in my head for a good long time. My hair actually turned gray because of her. My last two relationships have wilted in her shadow. I keep wantng that same visceral thrill I knew with her. I want the parts of her that were good: her sense of humour, her curiousity, her artistry, her beauty. But these last two women: I just couldn’t hang on, even though they were much friendlier. Even though they treated me like a human being. Even though I didn’t deserve them.

Part of me believes I deserve nothing good, least of all a loving woman.
But it comes down to something an ex-girlfriend said to me about her marriage: “It’s all the companionship and conversation you could want.”
Companionship and conversation. Damn. How nice it would be to have that in my life, to have an ally, someone on my side, someone whose side I could be on. A united front, right?
Christ, it becomes apparent to me at such times what a naive romantic I am. I still believe in a love that can change me, make me better. The truth is, transformation comes from within. That old line, that one I’ve fought all my life - YOU MUST LOVE YOURSELF BEFORE OTHERS CAN - turns out to be a vicious, cruel VERY TRUE joke. I am trying to love myself. Lord knows. I think I finally have come to like myself. I know I am a problematic person. I know I have my problems. We all do. No one is perfect. I try to accept just what a huge asshole I can be. But this “loving myself” bit - it feels a ways off yet.
Okay, that’s my private world. I’ve done the emotional striptease. What are you going to show me?

Artist Track Year Format
Chris Unknown T.  Viva Aerial View Tirado   Options 2016  WAV 
Literary Guild Meetup
I'll be reading at the next WFMU Literary Guild Meetup, August 11, 7 - 9 pm at the usual location, the Red Room in the KGB Bar, 85 E. 4th St., NYC.

Many of your WFMU Literary Guild favorites will be there, along with some newbies, including Dave Hill of The Goddamn Dave Hill Show, reading from his recent memoir Dave Hill Doesn't Live Here Anymore.

There's no cover but there IS a two drink minimum. Please feel free to hit me up if you can't afford two drinks in Manhattan, and few can.
Send feedback by clicking the pic above.
NOTE: This See You Next Tue! newsletter will no longer emanate from my WFMU email address but from aerialviewer@me.com. Please add that address to your email "Allowed" list, so this newsletter doesn't go into your spam or junk folder.
Obligatory Throwback Pic
"Welcome to the air!"
How To Hear Aerial View
WEB: Listen to archives from the playlist page aeriaview.me.

APP: Listen to archives via the WFMU iOS app here and the Android version here. Amazon Kindle users can use the TuneIn Radio app. Info for other platforms, including Blackberry, etc. can be found here.
 "I'll see you next Tuesday in your mailbox!"
Aerial View
Aerial View

Listener comments!

  Tue. 7/5/16 4:40pm Rachel:

Oh man - I'll miss Aerial View so much.
Avatar 🎃 Tue. 7/5/16 11:04pm khd:

Safe journeys Chris - thanks for everything! I still like to play a random AV intro from your 2005 marathon CD every Friday - it's just not the same without it...
  Sat. 7/9/16 10:43am ?:

Yikes! Reality becomes different without AV.... Feeling loss! Thanks Chris, for being yourself and being so interested in good interaction with people. You were part of my vicarious social life for years!
Post a comment!
Email address
(optional, not public):
Your comment: (No HTML, please)
(C) 2019 WFMU. Generated by KenzoDB, (C) 2000-2019 Ken Garson