RADIO / Can they half-bake a Zeitgeist pie?: Robert Hanks on 1 FM's answer to NME, Melody Maker and Q; plus Chris Morris, alone and unleashed
While Fab 1 FM has stuck to its upbeat, humourless guns, though, the music press has developed a distinct way of talking about music - one based largely on adjective-mongering and over-indulged metaphors, but also characterised by irony and humour. (It's worth knowing that several of the writers behind On the Hour came out of the music press.) This is the kind of discourse favoured by Collins and Maconie's Hit Parade (Radio 1, Thursday), a magazine programme that its presenters, Andrew Collins and Stuart Maconie, describe as playing out of the rough grass by rock's fairway, and 'news, interviews and comment baked together in a sort of Zeitgeist pie'.
After three weeks, it's become clear that every one of the individual items on the programme fails utterly - the Omituary, in which guest critics swerve effortlessly around supposedly unavoidable cliches while discussing Blur or heavy metal, and the Interrogation, in which Collins and Maconie's would-be amusing Nice Cop / Nasty Cop act seems to irritate celebrity interviewees into clamming up. What does work is the juvenile, defensively ironic tone (Collins and Maconie actually write for Q, but thankfully sound a good deal less mature than that). You feel that Radio 1 is on a course of convergence with the NME and Melody Maker - not something you would wish on The World Tonight or the Church of England, but in terms of general gusto and willingness to be mildly controversial, quite possibly an improvement for Radio 1.
Collins and Maconie aren't the only evidence of Radio 1's new willingness to disturb - Chris Morris, the voice of On the Hour and The Day Today, now has his own show on a Wednesday night. In fact, the first programme was pretty undisturbing. There were moments of brilliance - Morris gently leading Katie Boyle, during a rigged phone-in on animals and justice, to suggest that Weimaraners would be a good breed of dog to sniff out evil-doers in court - but nothing that made you sit up and gulp for air.
That's partly because Morris's devices (getting uncomprehending old people to read out rude phrases like 'Parting the beef curtains', making fake phone-calls to Conservative Central Office) are starting to get familiar. But it's also because he weakens his jokes by giving them a new transparency - he explains exactly how he persuaded John Gummer into a display of mock indignation about a series of events that hadn't yet taken place, and what the woman who read out the bit about beef curtains thought it really meant. What the jokes lose in comic edge, though (there's no longer that sense of mild horror at the humiliation Morris is prepared to inflict on people), they gain in moral force.
In fact, the whole point about Morris is not that he's the funniest broadcaster around (though at the moment he's short on competition), but that he's the most moral. He is desperately keen that you should understand the deceptions involved in broadcasting; and it isn't always pleasant, but it's undeniably useful.
Arts & Ents blogs
Fancy seeing a play about serial killers? How about inviting a funeral director into your home for a...
There are a good many moments in the second episode of this psychological thriller that deserve refl...
The opening titles squeal ‘Never Can Say Goodbye…’. Oh Lord how I wish I could heave this series off...
- 1 Man and woman arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder victim of Woolwich machete attack, named as Drummer Lee Rigby
- 2 'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
- 3 Grace Dent: I’m not sure how these people can avoid being called ‘bigots’. And the more ‘civilised’, the worse they are
- 4 Woolwich murder: They killed, then they performed - these men should be starved of our attention
- 5 Woolwich attack: The EDL will seek to exploit this evil crime for their own evil ends
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.