About six weeks ago, some idiot decided to ram me up the boot in a 4×4 (but that’s a whole ‘nother rant). Anyhoo, the upshot of this is that I’ve been without my regular vehicle for about 6 weeks. I actually really liked my courtesy car – a Ford Fusion Plus – but it had one drawback: no cassette player. “No what player?” I hear you youngsters cry, surely that’s a step backwards. Well it’s not the casette player I really want, it’s the ability to play my ipod on my long and boring 45 min commute to work (yeah I know, I would consider getting public transport if it wouldn’t take me several hours!). I’ve tried the itrip thingy, but it was a bit rubbish, something to do with there being a big metal roof between it and my car radio aerial methinks, maybe they’ve improved the technology, who knows, but for now, I’m happy to make do with a cheapo casette adaptor. The sound quality is far from perfect, but to be honest, I’ll sacrifice that to be able to have the choice of thousands of tracks. I get bored of music very quickly you see! and besides, I’d rather listen to an amazing track at less than perfect quality than a rubbish track at perfect quality. So the past couple of cars I’ve had, I’ve swapped the CD player for a casette player, much to the bemusement of some.
So how have I coped with several weeks’ commuting without my beloved pod? Not very well, that’s how. I Suppose I could have burned a couple of CDs but I couldn’t really be bothered and it was only supposed to be for a week originally. So, on my way to work, I’ve mainly been flicking between the radio stations Radio 1, Radio 2, Kerrang! and Galaxy. So, why those two commercial stations and not b/r/m/b, B/e/a/c/o/n or whatever? Well basically, I reckoned that I would be pretty safe that neither Kerrang! and Galaxy would not subject me to any R/o/b/b/i/e W/i/l/l/i/a/m/s! Aside from the adverts and rubbish presenters, they do at least make some attempt to be music focussed in their particular genres, if a little too predictably poppy at times.
Aanyhoo, back to my original ramblings! I’m not adverse to a bit of pop music and I love cheesy dance music (guilty pleasure!) and some urban stuff so I usually like most of the Radio 1 playlist, if only the presenters wouldn’t yabber so much. I know many people hate Chris Moyles and he does do the most yabbering out of any radio presenter I’ve ever heard I think, however compared to S/c/o/t/t M/i/l/l/s, Moylesy seems positively witty. I normally switch to another channel when Moyles is talking, but I don’t feel the need to swear at the radio if I accidently hear him speak like I do with SM. So why do I hate SM so much? Well, he’s the most unfunny, uncharismatic, insincere radio presenter I’ve ever heard in my life. He tries to be deadpan, but he’s not clever enough to carry it off. Setting up/directly insulting/hanging up on listeners/members of the public on the phone is not funny. Using other people’s ‘jokes’ or catchphrases from 10 years ago that weren’t funny then (e.g. “er, hel-looooooooo”) is not funny. Not knowing or caring anything about music while presenting a show on Radio 1 is not funny, although I’d have to blame his bosses for that one. Surely, there must be people out there who both care about decent music and are entertaining. I’d settle for either at a push, but I can’t accept neither.
Kerrang! is ok in very small doses, but they only seem to have about 10 records on their playlist, I like listening to some of the brand new stuff they play, with the exception of “Ruby” by Kaiser Chiefs, if I never hear that song again, it’ll be too soon! The ‘classic’ stuff they play only seems to consist of Guns n Roses, who I used to love, but Kerrang are doing their best to put a stop to that!
Radio 2 was pretty much a last resort for me at rush hour times – I’m 32, I’m not dead! The music is a bit hit and miss for me, they do try to play some new stuff, but Wogan going “hmm, that was the erm hmm Magic erm Numbers, now I’ve had a letter from Mrs Miggins blah blah geriatric moans blah blah” kind of ruins it for me. I’m afraid I can’t stand C/h/r/i/s E/v/a/n/s either, I don’t believe he likes music and I don’t find him entertaining in any way. But the final straw for the drive time show for me was when he played the new Sophie Ellis Bextor track (pretty good) and asked S/a/l/l/y T/r/a/f/f/i/c whether she agreed it sounded like Gwen Stefani. She had no idea. Now Radio 2 claim to be a music station not a talk station, am I right? Well why not get someone who likes music to read the traffic out too? It’s not like Gwen Stefani is some obscure underground act, she’s mainstream popular culture, you’d only have had to turn your TV on at some point over the past couple of years to know what she sounds like. So actually I’m not really accusing S/a/l/l/y T/r/a/f/f/i/c of not liking music, but of being seriously out-of-touch with popular culture. She must be a bloody good traffic reader-outerer that’s all I can say! Actually I think they only employed her because of her surname ;-)
Overall, Galaxy faired the best for my own personal taste. These days they seem to play poppy dance tracks (fine by me), poppy hip-hop tracks (also fine by me) and rubbish slushy R&B tracks, during which I reach for the dial. Yeah, the presenters and the adverts are as annoying as hell but the station does have a couple of half hour slots where they mainly play music, which usually coincided with my driving times luckily.
So anyway, I now have my car back and have been enjoying my drive to work a lot more! What I really like to do is to record the Radio 1 specialist shows (such as Mary Ann Hobbs, Gilles Peterson, Zane Lowe, Pete Tong, Annie Mac etc.) onto SD card on my digital radio and transfer them to my iPod. That way I get to hear all the new stuff when it suits me. I guess my ideal radio station would be Radio 1 from 7pm til 4am, but all day. So probably a little bit 6Music with a bit more new music and dance stuff. I think what I’m waiting for is some kind of portable listen on demand device for radio.
On a final note, I am going to contradict myself here and suggest that people don’t refer to Radio Stations as a whole, but rather to particular presenters or shows. It annoys me when people say “Radio 1 is shit” when what they mean is “daytime Radio 1 is shit”. There is such a vast difference between the daytime content and the evening content that it’s ridiculous to try and lump them together. Same goes for Radio 2, I know there is some decent stuff on there and some specialist music shows, just not at the right times for me. One would never talk about TV stations in this way, well not the main terrestrial ones anyway “oh I don’t watch BBC 1 anymore”, actually maybe one would, but you know what I’m getting at!