George Lamb, Radio 6 music
Hark! Is that the sound of the nation switching off its sets?
Sunday 06 April 2008
In the latest issue of Viz, Terry Fuckwitt, "the unintelligent cartoon character", has his brain removed and replaced by a dog turd. Seeing a job advertisement seeking someone "clueless", he is told that he's "just who we're looking for to present BBC Radio 6 Music's 10am to 1pm weekday show". And so the final frame has Terry and a couple of equally idiotic colleagues shouting "Shabba!" into microphones while, through an open window, we hear the "sound of thousands of radios being switched off".
When Viz pronounces on cultural matters, I sit up and pay attention, for its instincts are, more often than not, spot-on. And like the rest of the nation, those at Viz listen to quite a lot of radio. So I thought it might be worth checking 6 Music's 10am-1pm slot to decide if it was as bad as all that. And the moment I switched over, I heard an unusually stupid-sounding DJ fighting hard against obvious disadvantages to produce a coherent sentence, and someone shouting "Shabba!" in the background. It would appear that Viz is on the money once again.
Over the week, so that you don't have to, I have been listening to this show, and I don't think I have ever suffered quite so much in the course of my duties for this column. The DJ's name is George Lamb, and what quickly strikes you is that the ratio of talk to music played is unacceptably weighted towards talk. If I had a stopwatch and timed things properly, it may be that there is four times as much music played as there is chat; but that chat is so irritating, so infuriatingly inane, that you get the impression he only plays two songs an hour and spends the rest of the time talking pure rubbish.
You can look at the tracklisting for the show and have these suspicions confirmed: you will notice ominously large gaps between the broadcast times of the songs played. What, you may wonder, was Lamb doing between the end of the Raconteurs' "Many Shades of Black", which started at 10.09, and the beginning of Talking Heads' "Burning Down the House" at 10.34? Causing you to lose the will to live with his blather, that's what.
And a joke competition to determine the name of "Postman Pat's cat, Jess" may have been very slightly amusing the first time he mentioned it – but not the 19th.
Yet, the thing is, the music he plays is, on the whole, pretty damned good. He may play barely 20 songs in his three-hour slot, but they are almost all worth listening to. In this he fulfils 6 Music's brief admirably. But you wonder how someone capable of such inane chat can have such good taste. Has his playlist been determined by his superiors, or did he really choose it himself?
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