Monday, December 31, 2007

Talk Radio

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and all that stuff to you all! I'll do a post about Christmas soon, if and when I can be bothered -including pictures of Turkor, Destroyer of Worlds. That was before he was defeated in a monumental battle involving Cranberry sauce, home made stuffing and piggies in blankets.

What I'd like to talk about today though is the radio. Since I got my more awesomer DAB radio (see previous post - oh! Nick and Kara got me the accompanying speaker to go with it for Christmas, so now it's full of stereo goodness! :D), I've clearly been listening to a lot of Radio. Mainly I've been listening to the shows I would normally download as podcasts or on the BBC listen again thingy. So instead of a half hour of Russell Howard I now listen to the whole Sunday morning show on 6Music. Highly recommend, very funny indeed. In fact, 6Music has been something of a revelation to me; they seem to employ an inordinate amount of comedians to do their radio shows which is a genius idea. Steve Merchant on Sunday afternoons, John Holmes on a Saturday morning. And Vernon Kay is a good in the mornings when you've had all you can stomach of Moyles and you really need to wake up for work, so Wogan is definitely not the ticket!

Anyway, there is a Dark Side to radio. I have a friend who listens to the radio a lot, mainly as background noise - and so has LBC on a lot - just to listen to the nutters calling in.

I listened to this station late last night and I couldn't believe what it was like. Essentially the format is that you get someone who believes everything they read in the Daily Mail and give him a radio show late at night. Then people call him up and give him their opinions on things. That's about it really, that's the extent of the complexity. So you have this bilious little man complaining about things like 'Winterval' (this wasn't last night, I'm saving the best until last). For those that don't know what this is, I'll explain the facts. Birmingham City Council launched Winterval in order to attract business to Birmingham's newly regenerated town centre. It ran for 3 months and was intended to cover all the major winter festivals. Winter. Festivals. Winterval. See what they did there? So it covers Guy Fawlkes, Diwali, New Year, Hannukah and anything else you can imagine. The Bishop of Birmingham complained they were trying to PC Christmas by pandering to the 'Politically Correct Brigade' (do they get a uniform do you think?) and the tabloids, like the Daily Mail, pounced on it and blamed the Muslims.

They did the same thing this year, despite the fact that Winterval was ended 9 years ago thanks to the reactionary, lazy hacks that populate our media.

Anyway, the kinds of people who phone in to this show at 1am are the kind of people who write those articles. Only these ones probably can't actually exactly like someone who writes for the Daily Mail.

As I say, I was listening to this show and they start off sort of legitimately - commenting on the state of the air pollution in Beijing and how it will adversely affect the athletes in attendance at the Olympics - this is actually a very real problem. Thankfully, all semblance of a reasonable discussion fell away in the face of stupidity tinged with a healthy dose of xenophobia and bigotry. I am going to write some of this down next time because his exact words fail me, but here is the gist of his contribution to the airwaves:

1) All Chinese people smoke like chimneys so the pollution will benefit their athletes. - I think this was sort of intended as a joke but the use of the words 'those people' and 'they're funny over there' kind of indicated where the rest of this as going!
They're weird over there, they invented paper and explosions. - this is a direct quote and appeared completely unrelated to anything else he was saying.
3) - And this is my favourite. - How can they be so advanced but still eat using knitting needles? (at this point the host chips in with 'environmental concerns' about disposable chopsticks). Both the host and caller then started complaining about how difficult it was to use chopsticks, especially with their 'slimy food'. Essentially saying that they couldn't grasp the most simple of concepts, so it should be banned.

I do love that the dreams of Empire still live on in talk radio - If it's not the same as we do it in Britain, it must be wrong!

I'll do a better job of reporting this stuff in the future, it is an absolute mine of idiocy!

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