10 Years of The Bohemian Beat

Andrew McLellan, 14th December 2017

“Where are the poets and intellectuals of our time? The risk takers? The Revolutionaries?…”

For ten years BayFM's The Bohemian Beat has broadcasted these words across the Community Radio Network to radio stations across Australia. The words represent the diversity of spirit, the freedom of being our community and our desire for positive change.

The show journeys the minds and lives that produced some of the greatest literature, music, visual arts, philosophy, science and sociology of their day. 

Host Riddhi celebrates 10 years of the Bohemian Beat in December 2017. Knowing how much she supports privacy rights and hates surveillance, friend Maxim Hood decided to find out a bit more about this mysterious bohemian.

Maxim: Riddhi, so ten years of the Bohemian Beat… that’s five hundred and twenty shows!
Riddhi: That’s pretty quick math.
M: It’s written down.

R: Oh.
M: Why the Bohemian Beat?

R: The show or the name?

M: Let’s start with the show.

R: I was convalescing from a car accident and did a radio course through the community college, with Rudiger (most know him as Aqua from The Bay Lounge on BayFM) and the concept of the show was born.
I have always been interested in literature and poetry, also a sort of ode to my brother, remembering him, who had given me a copy of On The Road by beat poet Jack Kerouac when I was 17.

M: And is that where the “Beat” part of the Bohemian Beat comes from?
R: Yes. You’re pretty quick.

M: Well, you know… Oh… ah yes. Um… Ten years on community radio! That’s quite a commitment.

R:  It doesn’t feel like ten years. It was actually the listeners that sort of propelled me further into it. Their participation, interaction along the way, it is quite an extraordinary honour - it’s a journey, and I suppose it’s nice to know there are others coming along for the ride.
Community radio let’s you do this. It's like no other media really. It’s a way of expressing myself, to engage with the culture of community, creatively - without advertisements! It’s free media!
For me community radio is about culture. Western culture tends to operate with commercial activity. Watching a movie, being online, etc. Participation in ‘entertainment’ all costs money. In fact so many third parities gain financially by inserting themselves within the framework of people’s cultural sphere. Facebook makes billions from it.
Hey, you’re not recording this are you?
M: Ah, no, definitely not. What is it about culture?
R: I am a first generation Australian - Dutch and Scottish descent. We travelled a lot in my youth and were always surrounded by multiple cultures… I just found it really interesting.
From an early age I was passionate about culture, literature, poetry and philosophy but, due to commercial and social restraints, ended up studying technology and becoming an engineer instead.

M: Isn’t engineering a bit of a far cry from literature and poetry?

R: A girl’s gotta make a living!

But seriously, it allowed me to travel and remain independent in my studies. I was working on a documentary tracing India’s ancient literature and it’s influence on the english poetry tradition. Tracing the roots of our western culture in India.
Unfortunately the director passed away and it was never completed. The Bohemian Beat was a way to kind of continue that investigation.

M: Is poetry that important in this day and age?

R: Poetry is everything - it is our culture - it is our true language - it is what makes us human. The hearts communicator.
Poetry is how we can explore complex ideas, particularly of the ‘human paradox’ predicament and especially in this day and age… it’s probably more important now than at any other time! We live in a world of spin, of bulls*** - well, you’ve listened to my show, you know my opinion on that.
M: Yes, but the readers...

R: Hmm?

M: Nothing!… Um… Daevid Allen, Gilli Smyth, Captain Paul Watson, Michael Leunig, Bruce Lipton, Gyan, Clive Hamilton, Thomas Sheridan, Drew Hutton, Samah Sabawi…. to name but a few… you’ve had so many interesting people on your show over the past ten years… what stood out most for you?

R: Hmm… so many memories and amazing people. It’s been a real privilege to have had the opportunity to speak with so many incredible, wonderful people but the one that has always stood out for me is the late Daevid Allen… Australia’s original Beat poet! He was my first interview on the Bohemian Beat and a staunch supporter of the show. A comrade, an inspiration, we had a fantastic creative friendship I will always treasure. Daevid just got it… he was active, a revolutionary, a true poetic legend…

M: So, where to from here or is ten years enough?

R: Ten years is nothing! I’m there until the community kicks me out! We’ve a revolution to accomplish first and Byron Bay is a great place for that to happen. 
We have the type of community here that isn’t afraid to speak freely and listen intelligently. We need that and the Bohemian Beat will continue to be that voice, fed by those poets, bards, heros, revolutionaries, friends.
M: Well, what a journey! Thanks for sharing that with me Riddhi and good luck for the next ten years!
R: Um… thanks…. can I have my car keys back now?

Written and authorised by Maxim Hood for the Bohemian Beat copyright 2017 no animals were harmed in the making of this article.

For CRN subscribers:
  • The Bohemian Beat (55'50) broadcasts Sundays 10:04 AEST/AEDT
  • Repeats Tuesdays 00:06 AEST/AEDT on CRN-1 and Fridays 01:04 AEST/AEDT on CRN-2
  • Available for DDN capture and download - email crn@cbaa.org.au
  • For more information contact CRN staff on 02 9310 2999 or email crn@cbaa.org.au

Not a CRN subscriber, but want to find out more about getting content like this for your station? Read more here.

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