| 6.5°C Dublin

Darragh McManus on radio: Happy to be stuck between a rock and a hard (edged) place



The Lizzy frontman Phil Lynott

The Lizzy frontman Phil Lynott


The Lizzy frontman Phil Lynott

'Tis an ill wind, and all that. One unexpected change to schedules, due to Covid-19, has been the welcome arrival of John Kenny's Classic Rock Hour (Radio 1, Tue-Thu 10pm).

It's a temporary replacement for Late Debate; obviously you can't have studios full of squabbling politicians and self-regarding pundits during current restrictions, so Katie Hannon's programme is parked for now.

Many listeners will have fond memories of Kenny's Metal Show, which ran on 2FM for several years during the 1990s. That really was hard rock's heyday - I think all electric guitars were destroyed in a controlled explosion sometime in early 2000 - and Kenny's show was mandatory listening for metallers, headbangers and moshers of all stripes.

These days he's better known as one of RTÉ's sports commentators and reporters, but he has been keeping his hand in, musically speaking, with indie/alternative show The JK Experience on digital station 2XM (Sun 2pm) since 2007.

The Classic Rock Hour seems to land somewhere between that and The Metal Show: harder-edged than the indie average, not quite the full-on "this goes up to 11" noise-fest of the 1990s incarnation. And check out this for a random playlist from just one episode alone: Public Image Limited, Metallica, Thin Lizzy, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Everclear, Marc Bolan. Dust down the old air-guitar and rock out.

Staying with 1990s music, How to Burn a Million Quid (BBC Radio 4, podcast) is a dramatisation of the amazing story of how best-selling band The KLF did just that. Bill Drummond and pals went to a Scottish island and set fire to a million in cash as an artistic statement.

It caused consternation, controversy and plain old "how dare they not give it to charity!" fury. This entertaining drama captured how weird, surreal and, in some ways, admirable the whole thing was.

Consistently brilliant documentary-maker Patricia Baker delivered her latest fine piece, the intriguingly titled Art/Rage (Newstalk, Mon 11am), an exploration of the exciting and fast-evolving street art scene in Ireland.

If you initially thought "graffiti by a fancy name", well, you're wrong: that term tends to conjure up grubby stupidity scrawled on bus shelters by antisocial morons, and street art is a lot more than that.

As we discovered here, expertly guided by Baker and a number of interviewees - including well-known artists Will St Leger and Maser - it's political, it's aesthetic, it's kinetic, it's the private sphere meeting the public, it's form for form's sake and form as function… There's a lot going on here.

Street art is also, in the lovely words of contributors, "an Easter egg hunt for the observant" and a way to take "the cultural temperature" of a city.

Indo Review