Thursday 23 November 2017

Twelve notes that triumph over triviality

Comedian: Neil Delamere gives it his Sunday best
Comedian: Neil Delamere gives it his Sunday best

Eilis O'Hanlon

For those who may have miss, miss, missed the 'Miss, Miss, Miss' sketches on 2FM's Breakfast Republic, don't worry, because you're miss, miss, missing nothing.

On Wednesday, the boys went camping. This is a flavour of the dialogue: "Do you want a hand getting it up?" "Looks like it's up already." "Miss, he couldn't get his up last night." "That's only 'cos my tent pole's bigger than his."

There's no harm in a bit of innuendo, but this relentless parade of lowest-common-denominator idiocy makes Beavis and Butthead sound like Oscar Wilde in comparison.

Get through that ordeal, and your reward as a 2FM listener is Tubridy, which, on the same day, featured an interview with a dwarf who makes a living being chained to drunken revellers while dressed as a leprechaun.

If this is symbolic of anything, it's the triumph of triviality. Today FM's Anton Savage Show spoke to a man from a pornography website about the first adult movie to be filmed in space. Dermot and Dave gave away tickets to next week's Taylor Swift shows in Dublin by playing a game called 'Shake Him Off', in which Dermot (or is it Dave?) sang a song and Dave (or is it Dermot?) had to put him off by shaking him. Hence the name.

Is it all just light-hearted fun or a dispiriting insight into modern attention spans?

The awkwardness is probably best exemplified by Neil Delamere's Sunday Best, also on Today FM, which attempts to marry the traditional news-review format with a comedy vehicle for Delamere, but doesn't succeed at either.

'That's a Bit Irish' is the name of the segment where Neil and guests discuss the "folks and yokes that are unique to this great little island of ours". Last week, it was those old-fashioned 'Telefon' boxes. Sure, they're Irish, but hardly integral to the national character. It's the sort of hackneyed observational material a stand-up would only insert into his act if he was seriously short of jokes one evening.

The big news of the week for Irish media was RTE Radio 1 and lyric fm jointly winning the prestigious Broadcaster of the Year award at the New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards for the third time in four years.

It would be churlish not to congratulate them on a huge honour. Having said that, are the jurors listening to the same shows as the rest of us? Lyric fm has a solid schedule in the Classic FM mode, but tends to adventurousness; while - some laudable forays into drama aside - Radio 1's regular line-up sounds increasingly dated. The same voices. The same words.

Of course, it doesn't have to be that way. BBC Radio 3's Jazz On 3 featured a tribute to saxophonist Ornette Coleman, who died at the age of 85 earlier this month. It began with a timely quote from the man himself: "I never worried about chords, melodies or keys. Only sound. And the thing about it is there's only twelve notes. Twelve notes that satisfy the whole world. Either you make something of it, or you don't." That should be as true of talk as music.

Sunday Independent

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