Friday 19 January 2018

Radio: Super Nova is a real rockin' good time

Matt Cooper
Matt Cooper

Darragh McManuse

I'm going to really show my age here, but…Radio Nova's great, isn't it?

Oh, I know you're supposed to keep up with current musical trends. I know it's probably a bad thing for young upcoming bands when radio focuses too much on the music/acts of yesteryear. (Though, to be fair, Nova does play some new stuff too.)

I know it's a pity that, for instance, TXFM went belly-up recently, mainly because people like me didn't tune in often enough, because we were tuning into stations like Nova instead.

And I feel bad about that, honest. But Radio Nova's great, isn't it?

Seriously. Classic rock song after classic rock song, round-the-clock and all week long, spanning the decades and genres and countries and stars and legends and styles and duration of finger-shredding axe-hero guitar solos (or, in the case of grunge, the studied absence thereof).

I actually think there's something wrong with anyone under pensionable age who doesn't find solid hours of ass-kicking music to be a total blast: morally wrong or psychologically or something. I love all types of music, from the sturm und drang of orchestral to the minimalist dreamscapes of electronic avant-garde to the scraped vitality of bluegrass and most points in between.

But a good rock song hits a certain part the others can't touch. So, when in the mood for music on a long drive, Nova is the righteous, rockin' choice. And a one-two-three-four…

I'm also going to show my age by admitting that social media is a mostly alien landscape to me. I literally can't figure out how Facebook works, am bemused by Instagram and confused by Tumblr, and quit Twitter because it's a soul-devouring circle of hell. The Last Word (Today FM, Mon-Fri 4.30pm) saw Matt Cooper discussing social media with Hugh Linehan and Aingeala Flannery. It was nosed on that recent 'fake news on Facebook' story, and the most depressing thing was that I couldn't fully understand what they were talking about.

I mean, I got the general gist of it, but on some elemental level - partly chosen or self-willed, if I'm honest - I felt I was outside the conversation, so to speak.

This is not my world. I have no place in it. And I don't want a place in it, really.

I may well be turning into the proverbial "old man shouting at a cloud for no reason". But sure, how bad? At least I won't be tweeting about it.

BBC Radio 4 had two typically quirky and appealing shows this week: on that great actor and unhinged berserker, Richard Burton, and on why boredom is very underrated.

How Richard Burton Got His Voice (Tue 3pm) saw Antonia Quirke visit Wales, where she discovered that the young thespian had a weak voice and pronounced Welsh accent - not what we remember from all those great films.

However, once his adoptive father realised the kid had a talent for acting, young Richard was encouraged to lose the accent, and strengthened his voice by literally shouting across the Welsh valleys.

Meanwhile, Being Bored: The Importance of Doing Nothing (Sat 8pm) was an amusing examination, by comic Phill Jupitus, of how and why we should treasure boredom in this age of countless TV channels, ever-demanding and distracting smartphones, and yes, social media.

At one stage the "happily bored" Jupitus showed how boredom had had a profound impact on the culture: everything from punk music to Sherlock Holmes.

So, showing my age one final time - things really were better in the old days, weren't they?

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