Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Culture
  2. TV & Radio
3 November 2016updated 03 Aug 2021 3:22pm

I’ve found the new Richard Linklater – and she’s a DJ in the Scottish Highlands

Carol's reading of the community notices reaches almost Shipping Forecast levels of non-partisanship.

By Antonia Quirke

“The music world has lost two singers this week,” sighs Carol, an occasional presenter on the premier volunteer-run community station for the north-west Highlands. “They’re very different people, Pete Burns and Bobby Vee. Or perhaps they’re very similar.” Such a statement is quintessentially Carol. Her steering of the drive-time show Westering Home (weekdays, 5pm) is a masterclass in neutrality. Most presenters like to keep reminding you why they got the job, but Carol works on the principle that whether she’s discussing the revised regulations for crofting, or the Wester Ross Youth Football Club’s search for new players, placid enthusiasm is the one note to strike.

In a forthcoming documentary about Richard Linklater (who made Boyhood), the actor Matthew McConaughey says that he likes to think of the film director in a pick-up truck, listening to a radio that’s never quite tuned properly. It seems that this is Linklater’s most comfortable place – a radio on, but nebulously. Linklater would dig Carol. Her reading of the community notices reaches almost Shipping Forecast levels of non-partisanship, and she offers sympathy to listeners struggling with the 106.6 FM frequency with a realistically blurry, “Hopefully, it will be fixed soon.”

Coming thick and fast are the notices: Hector singing a selection of songs with a slide-show at Strathburn House, a nature walk along the headwaters of the River Ewe (“Meet at the Flowerdale Glen car park at 11am . . .”). And, most alluringly, a shout-out for “Bees and Beer”, having its last meeting of the year at the Aultbea Hotel.

You cannot detect which of these, if any, Carol might attend, even when she repeats the immortal line: “Bees and Beer – all people interested in bees and beer are welcome.” Carol’s image isn’t on the station website, nor is there a biography, so we’re left to imagine who she is. I picture her as a woman slightly isolated by her integrity, methodically going through the emails to the station as the season hardens. Today, Ivan from a rain-lashed Croatia says that he’s listening in, as he often does. “It’s getting dark outside now here, too,” Carol nods sympathetically. “It’s grisly, it’s foggy. It’s no’ very . . . nice.” 

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy
THANK YOU

Content from our partners
How industry is key for net zero
How to ensure net zero brings good growth and green jobs
Flooding is a major risk for our homes
  1. Culture
  2. TV & Radio
3 November 2016updated 04 Aug 2021 9:16am

I’ve found the new Richard Linklater – and she’s a DJ in the Scottish Highlands

Carol's reading of the community notices reaches almost Shipping Forecast levels of non-partisanship.

By Antonia Quirke

“The music world has lost two singers this week,” sighs Carol, an occasional presenter on the premier volunteer-run community station for the north-west Highlands. “They’re very different people, Pete Burns and Bobby Vee. Or perhaps they’re very similar.” Such a statement is quintessentially Carol. Her steering of the drive-time show Westering Home (weekdays, 5pm) is a masterclass in neutrality. Most presenters like to keep reminding you why they got the job, but Carol works on the principle that whether she’s discussing the revised regulations for crofting, or the Wester Ross Youth Football Club’s search for new players, placid enthusiasm is the one note to strike.

In a forthcoming documentary about Richard Linklater (who made Boyhood), the actor Matthew McConaughey says that he likes to think of the film director in a pick-up truck, listening to a radio that’s never quite tuned properly. It seems that this is Linklater’s most comfortable place – a radio on, but nebulously. Linklater would dig Carol. Her reading of the community notices reaches almost Shipping Forecast levels of non-partisanship, and she offers sympathy to listeners struggling with the 106.6 FM frequency with a realistically blurry, “Hopefully, it will be fixed soon.”

Coming thick and fast are the notices: Hector singing a selection of songs with a slide-show at Strathburn House, a nature walk along the headwaters of the River Ewe (“Meet at the Flowerdale Glen car park at 11am . . .”). And, most alluringly, a shout-out for “Bees and Beer”, having its last meeting of the year at the Aultbea Hotel.

You cannot detect which of these, if any, Carol might attend, even when she repeats the immortal line: “Bees and Beer – all people interested in bees and beer are welcome.” Carol’s image isn’t on the station website, nor is there a biography, so we’re left to imagine who she is. I picture her as a woman slightly isolated by her integrity, methodically going through the emails to the station as the season hardens. Today, Ivan from a rain-lashed Croatia says that he’s listening in, as he often does. “It’s getting dark outside now here, too,” Carol nods sympathetically. “It’s grisly, it’s foggy. It’s no’ very . . . nice.” 

This article appears in the 01 Nov 2016 issue of the New Statesman, The closing of the liberal mind