The first radio show


Home from the school run, put the coffee pot on and press play on the CD player without looking to see what’s loaded. The intro track starts from a CD I burnt of Andrew Bird’s 2005 live session for a French radio station. I’d used this tune as the intro music to the Resonance fm radio show I produced and co-presented with Nick Papadimitriou, Ventures and Adventures in Topography.  I’m instantly transported back to the studio at Resonance fm feeling the excitement of preparing to go live on air. Then I realise that the first broadcast was on 4th November 2009, the anniversary approaching. The first walk to record the field recordings that constituted half the programme would have been around the same time. A damp cold day out looking for Monks Park somewhere near the North Circular in north west London as described in Gordon S. Maxwell’s The Fringe of London, the book that had given us the title of the radio show and had bonded Nick and I in the first place 4 years previously. Our walking buddy Peter Knapp was there taking photos and we ended up on an even greater quest to find IKEA meatballs on the Wembley Trading Estate (the meatballs had all gone by the time we got there).


photo by Peter Knapp

I loved making that radio show. The evenings spent editing the field recordings for Wednesday’s live broadcast, researching the next walk, recording my wife doing a reading from each featured book, Sunday afternoon walking with Nick somewhere on the ‘fringe of London’, and the pub after the show with the Resonance regulars.

John Rogers Nick Papadimitriou

photo by Peter Knapp

The show came to a natural end in March 2011, Nick head down writing Scarp, me deep into making a documentary about Bob and Roberta Smith (it was filming Bob at Resonance in 2009 that had led to the show coming about in the first place).  I then went straight into writing This Other London, and despite a couple of attempts to revive the show it just never happened. We got as far as a field trip to the Cross Ness Sewage Treatment Works in 2014 but those recordings are on a hard-drive somewhere unedited. I must get round to doing that some time.



A complete archive of Ventures and Adventures in Topography can be found here


  1. Kim Fox   •  

    Apropos reminiscences – as the nights draw-in, we seem to be automatically drawn-into exploring half-forgotten remembrances of people no longer central to our life. Did Nick ever chide you for seeking herbal wisdom from specialists at Treadwells (Chapter 4 -‘Beyond the velodrome’ refers) and not from him?

    • JohnR   •     Author

      that’s a really nice link to the shortening days Kim – I find myself becoming very reflective at this time of year. Nick didn’t say much about my forays into plant lore, just rolled his eyes

  2. Johnny Haddo   •  

    The municipal parks, gardens and open spaces of London by JJ Sexby, first published in 1898 is well worth a gander, the story of old London parks_

    • JohnR   •     Author

      Brilliant thanks Johnny

  3. M Swart   •  

    I am going to have to listen to the Ventures and Adventures as soon as I have worked my way through all your Lost Byway videos – something to look forward to.
    BTW, I so enjoyed London Perambulator and Scarp – what happened to Nick? Is he still walking and writing?

  4. Pingback: Walking the River Brent - the lost byway

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