Friday, 16 February 2007

"Radio 2, it's all punk, punk, punk!"

"Alan Titchmarsh doesn't play punk" was my response to my friend Simon when he claimed that Radio 2 "is all punk, punk, punk!". But he had a point. Jonathan Ross plays punk on Radio 2 (he also plays classic reggae). Mark Radcliffe does. Ross is a fiftyniner, a hugely successful one (b.1960, but you know that doesn't matter). His chat show has a punk attitude - irreverent, rude, iconoclastic (albeit, politely) and with swearing. It was in answer to my question "why do I love Radio 2 so much?", that Simon had given me his pithy illustration of how the BBC had successfully targetted the fiftyniners. Ross is free to indulge his love of punk by making an idiot of himself on TV in a recent ludicrous, yet curiously affecting, pastiche punk rock performance. The thoughtful, intelligent man that we see generous glimpses of on his Film programme belies the entertaining buffonery of his chatshow. Both versions of Ross share one quality - genuine passions. Ross truly loves film. Ross truly loves punk rock. That's why I love Radio 2 (well, I also like the late night Sunday evening stuff of Sinatra, Fitzgerald etc). Ross, a fellow fiftyniner, is infinitely preferable to the insufferably dull, repetitive New "Indie" Mainstream of XFm. And as for Radio One - Vernon Kaye (the new DLT), Fearne Cotton, Edith Bowman. It's just not good enough, is it? (Thank you, Simon Amstell). Radio 2 in its eclectism, its freedom from the tyranny of the New Mainstream playlists, is more exciting, challenging even, than its so-called younger rivals.

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