Ian Burrell: Adam Buxton – the quirky radio star breaking into the mainstream

Media Studies: The nice thing about our radio show is that we get to be childish

Is the mainstream finally ready for Adam Buxton? Tonight he's nominated for two Sony awards with his long-time radio partner Joe Cornish and his touring show Bug has finally been given its own television slot by Sky.

If you want to know what the fuss is about, take a look on YouTube. Buxton has his own channel where you can find clips of him apparently discussing politics with Bono over the phone or dressing in lycra and a mask to ridicule the crudity of American pop star Gwen Stefani with a pastiche video about her bowel movements. The channel also hosts a 20-year-old film of Adam, Joe and Louis Theroux, who were all friends at London's elite Westminster School, dancing insanely to the Deee-Lite hit "Groove Is in the Heart" in a bedroom.

Buxton, 42, doesn't see Cornish so much these days, now that the latter has had film success as director of Attack the Block. So their BBC Radio 6 Music show on Saturday mornings is an opportunity to catch up. "We are sort of filling each other in on what we have been up to," says Buxton. Because the pair are such old friends they have an instinctive humour which delights critics. They are shortlisted in both the "comedy" and "entertainment" categories at the Sonys.

But it's still a niche listen enjoyed by those who have been charmed by their quirky features and humorous songs, which evoke the traditions of music hall but have cultural references to contemporary Britain. Buxton, who has been a guest presenter on BBC2's Never Mind the Buzzcocks, finds making such ditties "all-consuming". "I'm not a good singer and not a good musician by any standards but singing and making music, even in my own retarded way, is amazing. It's like being on heroin and makes you feel incredible."

After five years on air, the show (which won Sony Gold for Best Comedy in 2010), is increasingly dependent on the interaction of its audience. "There's a whole set of features and catchphrases that have developed that they will get involved with and they know the kind of stuff that we find funny. At first we wouldn't read out that many emails but now it's the backbone of the show."

Bug, which Buxton has presented as a live show since 2007, is based on his fascination with the genre of music video. For the Sky series he has made his own visual clips, such as "The Amazing Music Video Song", a compendium of music video clichés such as people moving backwards or singing on rooftops. He knows his stuff, having once directed a video for Radiohead. Another Buxton clip, "The Counting Song", was inspired by the experience of introducing his three-year-old daughter to numbers. "It starts off teaching children how to count and ends up being a litany of all the things that make life s***," he comments dryly.

The Sky programme and the success of the 6 Music show will bring greater exposure but Buxton would be wary of the big time of Radio 2. "The nice thing about our radio show is that we get to be twattish and childish and I don't think it would work in the mainstream. A wider audience would say 'They haven't learned a craft of any kind, why are they allowed on the radio?' It's like with bands, I like bands that are weird and marginal, you feel as if you have discovered them yourself and they are your own private friends."

Thirty Club: Publicity's bad when you're a secret society

In normal circumstances, front page photographs of Kate Middleton and headlines such as "Kate a Dream in Cream" (Daily Telegraph) and "Kate the Vamp" ( Mail) would be seen by the organisers of an advertising function as evidence of success.

But the elite membership of the Thirty Club were less than pleased by the sight of paparazzi on the pavement outside Claridge's on Tuesday evening. These individuals – and there are indeed 30 of them – are the type of folk who have no need for personal publicity. Indeed the very attraction of the Thirty Club is its privacy – the number one rule is that you say nothing about what takes place at its events.

The club was set up in the 1920s, giving it a historic grandeur that is rare in an industry which many think began with the Mad Men era. Such is its potency as a forum for networking that the club is referred to within British adland as "The Clan".

Members are allowed to bring one guest – often the client they most wish to impress. The club is currently headed by Bill Muirhead, executive director of M&C Saatchi, an agency close enough to the royals to persuade Prince William to address members last week. William's late mother, Diana, and Princess Anne are among the club's previous speakers, although such details are supposed to be a guarded secret.

Student's mag bucks the trend

They say the lads' mag is dead. How then could a third-year psychology and journalism student produce a title in his bedroom that is shifting 36,000 copies per issue at £2.65 apiece and is being stocked in WHSmith?

Jon Devo, 25, a student at City University in London, has gone back to a basic diet of glamour girls and sport with "heDD" but hopes it will one day be sold alongside "GQ".


Alexis Sanchez has completed a £35m move to Arsenal, the club have confirmed
sportGunners complete £35m signing of Barcelona forward
Poor teachers should be fearful of not getting pay rises or losing their job if they fail to perform, Steve Fairclough, headteacher of Abbotsholme School, suggested
voicesChris Sloggett explains why it has become an impossible career path
world cup 2014
Ray Whelan was arrested earlier this week
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
In a minor key: Keira Knightley in the lightweight 'Begin Again'
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
newsJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Life and Style
It beggars belief: the homeless and hungry are weary, tortured, ghosts of people – with bodies contorted by imperceptible pain
lifeRough sleepers exist in every city. Hear the stories of those whose luck has run out
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
Life and Style
fashionJ Crew introduces triple zero size to meet the Asia market demand
Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini of Arsenal launch the new Puma Arsenal kits at the Puma Store on Carnaby Street
sportMassive deal worth £150m over the next five years
Arts and Entertainment
Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins
musicHolyrood MPs 'staggered' at lack of Scottish artists performing
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Arts and Entertainment
Currently there is nothing to prevent all-male or all-female couples from competing against mixed sex partners at any of the country’s ballroom dancing events
Potential ban on same-sex partners in ballroom dancing competitions amounts to 'illegal discrimination'
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Web / Digital Analyst - Google Analytics, Omniture

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client who are a leading publisher in...

Sales Perfomance Manager. Marylebone, London

£45-£57k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

Social Media Director (Global) - London Bridge/Southwark

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Social Media Director (Gl...

Personal and Legal Assistant – Media and Entertainment

£28,000 - £31,000: Sauce Recruitment: A Global media business based in West Lo...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice