Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Sound Salvation

My appreciation of BBC 6Music, a station I have consistently lauded over the years, is vaguely diminished but intact. My word, I miss Andrew Collins hosting the early evening show. His engaging banter and undiluted pleasure in all types of popular music were satisfying and welcome. I looked forward to his programme as I drove home every afternoon. Here was a guy my age, spinning discs that I consistently dug (or would grow to dig) and yarns that I could relate to and nod appreciatively and sagely to. His replacement Steve Lamacq is dandy but just a touch too ‘indie’ in his tastes; when this gaunt presenter does embrace other musical genres I always sense it is because he has to, not because he wants to. Perhaps I am being unfair.

The other 6Music ‘jewel in the crown’ was Phill Jupitus and his engaging breakfast show which I loved thanks to his affable naturalness and ability to sound, at times, as if he’d just climbed out of bed and didn’t quite know where he was. He never seemed to try too hard and was just himself for a few hours; this, I admired. His unabashed enthusiasm for music never failed to win me over, especially his passion for old ska and reggae. I miss him. The new guy, Shaun Keaveny, is an adequate replacement but I consider that, unlike Jupitus, he views the show as a tasty career move rather than a labour of love. I rarely determine any real love of music in Keaveny and always think he’s trying far too hard to impose ‘personality’ on proceedings. He can’t ad lib to save his life either and there’s nothing worse than feeling you are being read a comedy script with a certain desperation. What I have always respected about 6Music is the integrity of the presenters and that, above all, they should ‘know their stuff’. I don’t think Keaveny ticks that box, frankly.

Adam Buxton and Joe Cornish are hosting the breakfast show for a fortnight and my heart verily soared to hear them on air this morning. These are natural comedy performers who, like Jupitus, are just themselves on air and one is left with the sensation that one is overhearing a pair of witty popular culture freaks indulging in brilliant banter. They are into their sounds too and seem to have (charming and intelligent and humorous) opinions on everything. I used to enjoy their TV programme. I wholeheartedly wish they were on 6Music every morning between seven and ten but realise I should just make the most of this two week holiday from the mundane alternative.

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