The Week In Radio: Oldies show proves you can't always get what you want

 

Does all modern music sound the same to you? Do you hanker for the days when rock stars knew how to be rock stars? Does the sight of teenagers with their trousers at half-mast make your spleen explode? Have you – though you swore it would never happen – finally morphed into your parents? If so, perhaps it's time to embrace the inexorable slide towards an old age of liquidised ready-meals and Antiques Roadshow.

Alternatively, there is a place where you might just find respite from the soul-sapping banality of contemporary life. To those of a certain age and disposition, it is a glorious haven where X Factor hasn't been invented, where bums are firmly encased in trousers and where dubstep-loving youngsters fear to tread (or perhaps wouldn't be seen dead). It is Absolute 60s, a brand new digital-radio jukebox for those who believe pop began to lose its way with the rise of the Moog

Absolute 60s, along with the newly launched Absolute 70s, is the latest offspring of Absolute Radio (older siblings include Absolute 80s, which arrived in 2009, and Absolute 90s and 00s, both on air since last year) that trades unapologetically in nostalgia. Like heritage rock magazines, each channel's contents are pressed through a revisionist sieve and deal in what is deemed to be the acceptable end of the musical spectrum. Hence, Absolute 60s' mean-spirited refusal to play anything by Cliff Richard, a man whose snake hips and curled lip were once deemed a threat to the morality of the nation.

Cliff-bashing aside, on paper such niche stations would seem like a smart idea. Carve up 50 years of rock and pop into separate decades rather than genres and, by rights, all tastes should be catered for. More crucially, for those producing it, it requires little in the way of manpower.

Pete Mitchell may be the primary daytime presenter on Absolute 60s but for a lot of the time there wasn't much for him to do beyond occasionally clear his throat, introduce a record and prove to listeners that he hadn't put his iPod on shuffle and gone to the pub. There were occasional interviews with musicians, though they weren't always as enlightening as you would hope. Perhaps it was a result of Mitchell's enforced silence for most of his show that, when he came to interview The Selecter's Pauline Black, she could barely get a word in. Meanwhile, a pre-recorded piece with Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan exuded all the warmth of a man being interviewed at gunpoint.

A longer conversation with the producer and Chic co-founder Nile Rodgers over on Absolute 70s was more of an eye-opener, with Rodgers reminiscing about his drop-out parents who sold heroin to the stars; taking acid for the first time, aged 15, with Timothy Leary; and his sonic restyling of Diana Ross and David Bowie. It was a rare moment of detail and depth on a channel that otherwise has no higher purpose than to play records you already know.

Despite its endlessly repeated tagline "Home of The Beatles, Stones and Motown", Absolute 60s has a broad-enough playlist, but it's a determinedly mainstream one and I didn't always agree with the choices. This, ultimately, is the problem with jukebox radio. One person's perfect playlist is another person's idea of hell. In attempting to please everyone, you often end up pleasing no one.

Of course, if I ruled the airwaves I'd have Absolute Non-Stop The Smiths Apart From Their Last Album Which Had Its Moments But Wasn't a Patch On Their Earlier Work. But that's just me.

Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Hewer is to leave The Apprentice after 10 years

TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice

Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says

film George RR Martin owns a cinema in Santa Fe

Arts and Entertainment
Clued up: John Lynch and Gillian Anderson in ‘The Fall’

TV review

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
News
Shenaz Treasurywala
film
News
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
music
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
    The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

    The 12 ways of Christmas

    We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
    Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

    The male exhibits strange behaviour

    A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
    Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

    Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

    Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

    The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
    Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

    Marian Keyes

    The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

    Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

    Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
    Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

    Rodgers fights for his reputation

    Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
    Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

    Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

    'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
    Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick