Friday, 14 December 2018

Review of 2018: 1 - BBC 6 Music

I can't remember why I started listening to BBC 6 Music on a regular basis but I know I started around May of this year (2018 AD), a few weeks before their Biggest Weekend in Belfast. I'm quite an avid radio listener and have gone through various phases over the last few years, especially as far as listening during my one-hour (or more) morning commute to work is concerned. I've listened to various Italian stations (including a unusually entertaining economics/politics show on Radio 24, the host of which suddenly and mysteriously 'disappeared') but they are on the whole dominated by annoying adverts, which are a pet hate of mine, even on UK commercial stations. You can't avoid them here because they're on the state broadcaster radio & TV stations too.

A few years back I moved on to BBC Radio 3, especially the Breakfast show, and became particularly fond of Clemency Burton Hill, who much to my chagrin found a rich husband, bore a child and then moved off to NYC. Clemmy aside, I enjoyed at least trying to listen to and appreciate classical music via R3 (a lifetime goal, still unrealised), also due in part to the fact that I was disillusioned with the state of modern music, which seemed of little interest to me.
I've also been through various Radio 4 programmes, especially the quizzes, plus In Our Time etc.. For most of 2017 my morning listening routine was Farming Today, Tweet of the Day, Today ...then over to R3 Breakfast. I had become the perfect late middle-aged, cultured, listener of 'posher' radio.

I had approached 6 Music listening on an irregular basis over the last 7/8 years or so, but what they were playing seemed a long, long way from my musical tastes, which were sadly very much connected to stuff I'd been listening to during my late teens/early twenties. I just didn't get new 'alternative' music just as I didn't get the mainstream pop/charts music. However, for some unknown reason I switched on to BBC6 last Spring and have been hooked ever since to some of their regular shows. The early-risers Chris Hawkins and Sean Keaveny* have become my favourites over the year, but even via the youngster Tom Ravenscroft (imagine my surprise when I discovered who his father was) and others such as Lauren Laverne. Nemone and the somewhat more annoying Steve Lamacq and Radcliffe & Maconie, I have at last got my finger, at least partially, on the pulse of modern 'alternative' music which seems to be in a fairly healthy state.

For the first time in many many years I have been able to create a decent playlist of songs from a  current year. I'll be reviewing a few of the best from 2018 over the next few posts, so, er, stay tuned.

*It was announced a few months ago that BBC 6 would be undergoing some major changes in 2019, including Sean Keaveny leaving his breakfast show slot to move to the afternoons. Apparently after 11 years and 8 months he was knackered. This was quite a blow for me as his show really did make my morning commute a lot easier. The man has even read out some of my 'earworm' emails over the past few months, even choosing mine to be played on one occasion. We have also exchanged e-mails, which I thought was really good of him. As I write, I am listening to his last ever Breakfast Show. Thanks Sean - it's been a privilege and a laugh.

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