The Week in Radio: Lily raises a smile with her scintillating sister act

 

A weird thing happened on Radio 2 last Saturday afternoon. In the absence of Dermot O’Leary, who was off playing astronauts at Nasa for a Channel 4 documentary, a woman was permitted to sit in his seat. I know! Amazing, right?

The chosen one was the singer Lily Allen who, fresh from supposedly offending women the world over by saying that feminism shouldn’t be “a thing” any more, proceeded to disrespect the sisterhood  by announcing: “I am a woman and all of my  guests are women.”

It’s possible that this was less a rebuttal to the latest wave of detractors than simply a courteous warning to all those listeners for whom a female voice on Radio 2 in daylight hours is akin to going to a llama farm and finding a lemur lounging bold as brass in the middle of it.

If truth be told, I’m far more likely to switch to Radio 2 when the regular presenters have pulled a sickie, or hightailed it to the Seychelles, leaving someone dangerously capable to fill in (although has anyone ever managed to crowbar Ken Bruce out of his studio? I’m guessing only a natural disaster or a zombie invasion could do that).

Robbie Williams sitting in for O’Leary at Christmas certainly brought some sparkle to a show that has long been losing its sheen. If Williams was all about the showbiz, Allen came over like the office skivvy who had tricked her way on to the air and couldn’t believe she’d pulled it off. She was, in other words, completely delightful.

If she had a mission it was about redressing the gender balance. Her guests were the journalist and author Caitlin Moran, the editor of British Vogue Alexandra Shulman and the Newsnight presenter Kirsty Wark. The music, handpicked by Allen, was similarly female-centric as she chose records by Adele, Carly Simon, Ms Dynamite, Britney Spears, Emmylou Harris, Etta James and TLC, with a scattering of Blur and Stone Roses.

In between, the conversation revolved around the merits of chicken wings, the joys of squeezing other people’s spots, the inadequacies of modern-day journalism and how the music industry is run by misogynist dunderheads. The latter was hardly shocking news but it was heartening to hear it uttered by someone at the centre of it.

There were one or two missteps – “What should we talk about”? is perhaps not the best way to kick off an interview – but, even so, I’d like to hear more of Allen standing up for women on the radio.

“Hmmmhhheeerrrrrllo,” said Iggy Pop on BBC6 Music on Sunday afternoon, a greeting that sounded somewhere between a groan and a yawn. Let’s call it a grawn. “I’m, uh, the musician known as Iggy Pop,” he continued. “And, uh, I have a show today, uh, of my own creeeeeation.”

Pop was another star parachuted in to replace a regular host, in this case Jarvis Cocker who is on sabbatical. Pop was calling his first show “Preachers and Seers”, in honour of the moral thread running through his playlist. This zigzagged across the genres and across the globe taking in British punk rock, American blues and gospel and Jamaican dub.

Each song came with a deeply sincere introduction about the visionary qualities or conviction of the artist, in which Pop radiated wisdom and made single syllables last for hours.

His esoteric playlist extended to a record by Bongo Joe that was over seven minutes long and came with a lengthy intro comprising oil drums, whistles and a barking dog, and went on to tell the tale of a flea-bitten, tick-infested mutt that was run over. It was deeply odd but I still shed a little tear.

Twitter.com/FionaSturges

Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones