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Old 9th Jun 2018, 8:44 pm   #1
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Burnham on Crouch, Essex, UK.
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Default Radiophile Magazine

Sorry for the long post, but Chas has asked me to publicise the following letter as he is struggling to finish the latest issue of The Radiophile.

(If you don't want to read the whole thing - I can summarise as follows:- Please don't telephone Chas except in exceptional cases, as every phone call he gets delays the magazine publication even more!) When I have any information regarding publication dates, I will post details here, on the website, and on Facebook.



Letter from Chas follows:

A Special Request from Chas

Any reader who can recall the great days of
Vincent-H.R.D. will doubtless remember that its
advertisements naming it as the Fastest Production
Motorcycle in the World always were suffixed by the
Phrase “this is not a advertising claim but a statement of
fact”. In the same vein, I would implore you to consider
that the following remarks are neither claims nor
complaints but are only too factual. Actually, I
commenced writing this piece yesterday but due to
circumstances beyond my control I was unable to
complete it, so this is how I previously began it:
I can’t tell you exactly how many times a week the
telephone rings and the caller asks, could I tell him when
the next Radiophile will be published, but I do know that
it is too many times, and that, except in very special
circumstances. the truthful answer is “no, I don’t.” The
special circumstances obtain when we have actually
complete and as I typed in the letter “c” the telephone
rang and although the subsequent conversation was
mercifully short, my concentration was gone and before I
could even start to regain it I received yet another query,
causing me to lose about ten minutes more. Let’s try
The special circumstances obtain when we have
actually completed an issue, a proof has been printed and
checked and it is in the hands of our printers. We may
then be reasonably confident in predicting that the
magazine will be published in four or five days’ time,
depending on whether a weekend will intervene.
Otherwise, to try to guess when the next issue will he sent
out is on a par with attempting to forecast what the
weather will be like three months hence. Matters would
be very different if I could be guaranteed an uninterrupted
four months to give undivided attention to each issue but
as it is I cannot rely upon having even an uninterrupted
single day because there are so many other jobs requiring
my attention, which brings us to the subject of the
Radiophile Auctions. It’s possible that some of you may
be unaware that these events, as well as providing an
excellent service to readers, are essential to maintaining
the publication of the magazine, the profitability of which
remorselessly has been eroded over the years by rising
prices, especially in respect of posting it to subscribers.
The cost of the stamps has been escalating ceaselessly —
especially since the deplorable privatisation of “Royal”
Mail — to the extent that at the end of 2016 it was only
just profitable. Then our allegedly business—friendly
Government struck another hammer blow by imposing
VAT, on the postal costs. V.A.T. is supposed to be an
abbreviation for “Value Added” Tax, which must be the
greatest misnomer of all time because its true effect is to
reduce the value of anything that comes into its rapacious
grasp. It is, moreover, specifically designed to hit hardest
the least well-off firms and individuals and thus makes a
mockery of the principle that to be acceptable taxation
should he based firmly on the ability to pay. In our case
it has meant that the magazine now has to be subsidised by
the income from Radiophile Auctions and other activities
and it is for this reason that much if my time has to be
devoted to them. At this point I would like to thank all
those good folk who give their time generously to keep the
Auctions going and thus to maintain the publication of
The Radiophile. I must also emphasise that producing the
magazine would be infinitely more difficult — in fact
impossible — had I not the invaluable assistance of
Graham Newman to look after administration matters and
the input of as fine a team of contributors as any editor
could hope for. The problem is that all the work done by
the writers ultimately falls upon a single pair of shoulders
— mine — and the effect is comparable to a number of
people simultaneously pouring liquid into a small-bore
funnel from which it can emerge only at a fixed rate. To
continue the analogy, if the number of funnels could be
increased, the passage of the liquid would be much
accelerated, which is just another way of saying that if
there were more people in the editorial office, magazine
issues could be produced in a fraction of the time it now
takes. Unfortunately, this much-to-be-desired solution
just isn’t going to be achieved because although there are
many individuals willing to help, none of them lives close
enough to Woodseaves to make this practicable. Thus, all
I can do is to soldier on as best ¡ can and beg for your
forbearance and your co-operation in helping me to make
the best use of my time. To this end I have had to cease
offering servicing literature (I have in fact sold my large
library of manufacturers’ data to Rob Rusbridge) nor can
I supply valves or components; but most importantly, I
must ask readers to refrain from ringing up to ask when
the next issue will appear or to enquire after the state of
their subscriptions. I have already dealt with the first
subject and as for the second, I simply cannot give any
information since all the relevant details are kept at
Graham Newman’s Admin. Office. However, because
Graham too is fully occupied, he has asked me to mention
that enquiries must be made by letter or e-mail and not
by telephone. With great respect, I can only reiterate that
every unnecessary telephone call cannot help but delay
further the production of the magazine. Thank you for
your co-operation.
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Old 9th Jun 2018, 9:28 pm   #2
Boater Sam
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Default Re: Radiophile Magazine

Wow, some of the longest sentences I have ever read!
OK, no 'phone calls, let Chas get on with it.
I'll help out at the next auction if I can avoid any other demands on my time.
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Old 10th Jun 2018, 1:11 am   #3
dave walsh
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Default Re: Radiophile Magazine

I take your point Sam but... I've only ever met Chas three times. I've always had a high opinion re the originality and independence of his approach and the commitment to his magazine, including his wife's Jo's cover paintings of an extraordinary standard. I've been even more impressed with the way in which Graham has stepped forward recently to not only help but progress the Radiophile in a way I never imagined would ever happen. In [I think 1995] I heard about Radiophile and went to Warrington in search of a Radio event they were attending-no luck! My wife said try the newsagents. I was looking in Practical Wireless [convinced it had been advertised there] with no success. The lady behind the counter asked what I was after and then said there is a Radio thing on at the local Community Centre! I was very glad to buy a vast number of back numbers from Chas and Jo at their stall and I have been a subscriber ever since.

Two things have always irritated me.

[1] As Forum members began to subscribe, they would often say what's happened to the latest edition? Well perhaps they they weren't to know what was obvious to "old timers" that Chas was often unusually plagued with computing and printing problems/let downs and a number of significant mechanical [vehicle] difficulties plus his own unfortunate ill-health episodes that even included a really serious Bee sting call out. I've posted here on a number of occasions over the years that some delay or difficulty is all a part of the joy and like the Pony Express, he always gets through in the end!

[2] On the other hand, Chas has been making this complaint for nearly a quarter of a century now, warning people that it affects getting the magazine out and saying that he didn't want his meals interrupted etc [apparently someone always rang]. Given his attitude and that he repeatedly advised his opening hours in print and who to contact, I was surprised that people just kept on ringing I would never have ever considered doing that at all, especially just to enquire about the next edition Ironically the only time I have ever rung him up was in response to a very courteous letter he sent to me pointing out that I had paid my subs twice With great trepidation I plucked up my courage and telephoned, only to find we had such a great chat I told him to put the extra money towards the Radiophile. To subscribers I can only say, don't ring him, he's not getting any younger! To Chas I say take the phone OFF THE HOOK! This is what I do all the time. People who don't watch Coronation Street themselves think it's a great time to ring. If I am sitting down to a much expected meal, I take the same precaution.

Professor Higgs Boson [Cerne] was told by his son that he really should have a mobile phone. When he asked why? his son said "So people can get in touch". He said "I don't want to be contacted when I am thinking about the Universe".


Last edited by dave walsh; 10th Jun 2018 at 1:17 am.
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Old 10th Jun 2018, 11:50 am   #4
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Default Re: Radiophile Magazine

I would reply at great length, but have decided to instead use the time that would thus be wasted on getting done the things that I need to get done for those who have paid me to do them.
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Old 10th Jun 2018, 12:38 pm   #5
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Default Re: Radiophile Magazine

I'm delighted to note that Chas enlisted the help of Barnaby Hyndsyte to compose his letter.

I do enjoy his writing, his artwork, and meticulous attention to detail.

It looks like further delegation beyond Barnaby might be the management solution to Chas's time problem. How about a telephone answering agency? - or even an answerphone recorder, preferably to be replayed by an admin assistant?

BVWS Member
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Old 10th Jun 2018, 4:50 pm   #6
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Default Re: Radiophile Magazine

The magazine is always worth the wait.I respect Chas and all he does as there have been many issues over the years that have had to be overcome.
G8JET BVWS Member and V.M.A.R.S
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Old 10th Jun 2018, 5:26 pm   #7
dave walsh
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Default Re: Radiophile Magazine

Absolutely right Richard, first things first timewise. Like Chas you haven't got enough of it, you have got a sense of humour and don't want to let anyone down. Mr M is not a young man and I'm amazed that he has been able to keep ploughing on with his highly distinctive and entertaining magazine. In fact all the subscription mags have [largely] their own, very much separate identities. This wasn't so apparent in the commercial market from the eighties onwards.

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Old 11th Jun 2018, 10:40 am   #8
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Default Re: Radiophile Magazine

Well said Dave,my sentiments entirely.

The fact we are able to get magazines like Radiophile etc is great.
G8JET BVWS Member and V.M.A.R.S
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Old 11th Jun 2018, 11:55 am   #9
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Default Re: Radiophile Magazine

I generally agree with all of the above sentiments and comments. But to be fair, in some respects Chas is a victim of his own decision not to embrace modern technology such as email etc. People wouldn't make phone calls if they could use email. But then those emails would also take up valuable time I hear you say. Well no, not if Chas's 'rules' stated the limited purposes for which email could be used. I know Chas, we've both visited each others' houses and although not recently, we 'kept in touch' during the 70s and 80s. I loaned Chas a Bush TV22 for use on the tele when 405 closed down. Chas got it up and running and it was featured on a news programme as I recall.

Just a few concessions to the use of modern technology would undoubtedly create more time. But, one has to admire Chas for taking a stand on that issue, and I guess it goes with the overall vintage ethics of the magazine. But you can't have ultra efficiency using just snail mail and phones. I stand corrected if in recent times Chas has embraced email and computers etc, but when I last subscribed to Radiophile a few years ago, that was not the case. But anyway, great to see Chas still producing the mag and best of luck to him.
A digital radio is the latest thing, but a vintage wireless is forever..
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Old 11th Jun 2018, 1:27 pm   #10
Paul Stenning
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Default Re: Radiophile Magazine

The great thing with email is that you can set aside specific times to deal with it (such as beginning and end of each weekday), and leave it closed the rest of the time. Then it doesn't intrude at all.

I'm sure Chas could do the same with the phone. Get an answering machine, set it to answer only (no message recording), record an outgoing message saying when the phone line is open and that you cannot leave a message, and leave the machine on and the phone unplugged the rest of the time. If there are specific people he wants to be able to contact him at any time then get a cheap PAYG mobile and give them that number.

I work from home too. There are times when I need to eliminate all possible distractions and get on with the work, otherwise things don't get done on time.

Paul Stenning
Forum Admin/Owner and BVWS Committee Member
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Old 11th Jun 2018, 2:36 pm   #11
dave walsh
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Default Re: Radiophile Magazine

I think Graham is the on-line interface with the 21st Century Steve-dealing with a lot of admin and everything on line. That said, Chas's personal approach to modern life does seem to set the magazine's excellent style.
My previous comments were actually much more aimed at the readership than the man himself. Chas has pointed out his telephonic problems in more than one editorial over the years [to say the least]. If people read the magazine they pay for [I'm sure they do] it's a puzzle as to why his pleas go unheeded. Perhaps they don't think it applies to them Either way, it seems much simpler to just take the phone of the hook!

Just seen your post Paul. I think Chas has had answering machines in the past but it's the calls being made in the first place that disturbs him.
He talks about callers going on at great length, ringing for information he no longer holds or unnecessarily in the first place when he has requested otherwise. I'm not sure there is a processing system that will solve this one!
I work from home but have no qualms [I enjoy ending a tedious call or leaving the phone off in the first place]. Chas is a very nice chap and probaly doesn't want to be impolite to anyone. It's speculation on my part though, of course.

I suppose the Forum is not immune to something similar itself when rules have to be repeatedly "bumped" but it's not quite so personal.


Last edited by dave walsh; 11th Jun 2018 at 2:59 pm.
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Old 11th Jun 2018, 9:18 pm   #12
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Default Re: Radiophile Magazine

Just a quick note about emails - Although Chas doesn't use the internet himself (for various reasons that there is no need to go into here), I do. Emails can be sent to me, and I generally try and arrange a telephone call to Chas at least once per week to update him and get answers to queries that I can't answer. The problem with answerphones etc. (and I have had this discussion with Chas) is that he can't justify separate business and personal telephone lines, and not answering personal calls could cause problems.

Also, bear in mind that Chas has been publishing The Radiophile for many years now, and changes don't come naturally to him. I've moved him part way into the 21st century with the website, PDF option on the magazines etc., but he still prefers to edit the magazine in the way he has done for a long time, and that does take a lot of concentration and time. Much of the attraction of the magazine is due to Chas's style, and it wouldn't be too sensible to make changes that could affect that.
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