Tuesday 20 February 2018

Radio: Friday, I'm in love with these anthems

RTE 2fm presenter Dan Hegarty
RTE 2fm presenter Dan Hegarty
Darragh McManus

Darragh McManus

On a recent Friday evening, I sent an annoyed text to a friend, reading: "Just heard Guns N' Roses' 'November Rain' being played… on Friday Night 80s. Eh, that was released in 1992. Schoolboy error, Today FM. For shame!"

This was accompanied by a cross/unhappy emoticon. He replied, "Phil Cawley must be off - it'd never have happened on his watch. Shocking."

Today, however, I must - in the sight of God and my fellow citizens of this great nation - apologise on the double. To Today FM, for wrongly accusing them of making a mockery of the longstanding and venerable Irish radio institution that is Friday Night 80s. (Like, the show's raison d'être was in the title.) And to the guy I texted, for wasting his time with this nonsense.

It turns out that Friday Night 80s is no more. It's been replaced by Friday Night Anthems (9pm) - a crucial difference. Still presented by the redoubtable Phil Cawley, the show need no longer limit itself to the biggest-haired decade of all.

It now includes songs from the ones that have followed: anything from 'Here Comes the Hotstepper' (1990s) to 'Around the World' by Daft Punk (2000s) to the Dizzee Rascal song off that movie Kingsman (2010s). And yes, some Guns N' Roses.

Anyway, the mystery has been solved; the world is aright once more. (And who says this column doesn't cover the important issues?)

Another music show I'm partial to is Dan Hegarty - The Alternative (2FM, Mon-Thur midnight). I guess you could, if you were my vintage, view Dan as the modern-day equivalent of Dave Fanning: good tunes from somewhere off the mainstream, delivered by a guy who's equally knowledgeable and passionate about music. Old and new, rock and hip-hop, popular or very obscure - it's all in there.

Hegarty also does a nice Buried Treasure slot, wherein he shines the light on an unjustly forgotten or unheralded album. (This inspired a very good book, by the way, published by Liberties last year; a second volume is coming in late September).

The Olympics is now closer to its endpoint than its beginning, and this week saw good and bad from the Olympic Games in Rio. Annalise Murphy added a silver medal to that won by the O'Donovan brothers last week - but the boxing team's dismal run continued, as first Katie Taylor and then Michael Conlan crashed out.

Michael Carruth reckoned on The Last Word (Newstalk, Mon-Fri 4.30pm) that Katie had been robbed. But that was as nothing to the reaction which greeted Conlan's defeat.

Pro boxer Andy Lee explained on Off the Ball (Newstalk, Mon-Fri 7pm) exactly how and why the Irishman had won his bout. That's the great thing about having the likes of Andy Lee on for analysis, as opposed to, say, a waffler like me or my fellow journalists: they know what they're talking about.

They've been there and done it, literally, giving their words a real weight. They can get into the specifics of a thing. They are, in short, experts in the field.

Still, articulate and all as Andy Lee is, there's only so much you stomach on bad refereeing and official corruption and doping and all the rest of it. It's all so dismal, isn't it, and that's without even getting started on the ticket-touting scandal.

I switched to cinema instead: writer and actor Mark O'Halloran, being interviewed by Mary Wilson on Drivetime (Radio 1, Mon-Fri 4.30pm) about his new film, Viva. The Ennis man was interesting and humorous and well worth the listen, as he usually is. The arts, unlike sport, will rarely let you down.

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