Wednesday 17 January 2018

The lighter side of Fionn -- but let's not talk about sex

Darragh McManus

Darragh McManus

This week we're looking at two relatively new shows on Newstalk -- and you'll be relieved to find out neither is about bloody politics. Well, one is, indirectly, but not really. If you follow me.

In Davenport After Dark, the titular Fionn -- host of Culture Shock and travel expert on The Right Hook -- takes on a more "general interest" magazine show. The slogan goes, "It's a little bit dangerous", which is probably overstating the case a smidgeon: this isn't Howard Stern we're talking about here.

Still, Davenport After Dark is enjoyable enough. The presenter is a likeable fellow (although his voice annoys the bejeesus out of at least one person I know): he's clever, enthusiastic and quite funny when he wants to be.

I especially like the round-up and discussion of major news stories, which is done with a nice, and uncommon, lightness of touch. None of the usual self-styled "experts", usually unqualified, droning on about the economy or government or What We Need To Do As A Society, as if they know the first thing about it.

But, but, but: one major caveat. The "All About Sex" slot, where Fionn talks to a sex expert -- groan. There's something so lame about all this. There's always something lame about it; I don't know why that is.

In a weird way, even the frankness of language is lame, and reminds me of the risible sex column in Hot Press -- the oldest groover in the room trying to appear hip. DAD's sex slot isn't quite so cringey, but it certainly turns me off.

Orla Barry also found a new home at Newstalk in The Green Room, a light and breezy look at pop culture and entertainment. There seems to be a plethora of arts 'n' ents shows blooming like wildflowers lately -- this one isn't exactly breaking new ground but it's fine.

Her interview with comedian David Baddiel was good, and the chat with legendary US broadcaster Garrison Keillor was, I've no doubt, of great interest to his legions of fans. Personally, I've never gotten the appeal -- I know his shtick is gentle and slow-paced, but for me it veers towards comatose at times.

Maybe Garrison doing a sex slot might spice things up?

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