For some considerable time, I've had this issue with radio. Namely, breakfast radio, and the station that must rouse me from my hard-won slumber and get me on my way to work. Needless to say, said station must be faultless in every respect; from the incredible, inspiring music, to the zero advertising, and first and foremost, hosted by a perfect DJ, a genuinely funny and down-to-Earth human being who's neither ripped to the tits annoying or so full of him or herself that the sound of their own braying voice gives them constant orgasmic spasms. Quite a feat, considering we're talking about fucking radio DJ's here.
DJ's are by their very nature a race apart, totally immersed in every little inch of their inflated egos. Once, when I was a runner/ dogsbody at the BBC, I was standing in a corridor rifling through papers when a man walked past and screamed 'HELLO THERE!' into my ear and promptly walked into the toilets. It was amiable geography teacher lookalike Steve Wright. As I stood there thinking, 'Wasn't that amiable geography teacher lookalike Steve Wright, and why did he say hello when I wasn't even looking at him?' when, from beyond the toilet door, I heard a muffled 'Hello there!' being yelled, presumably, at a bemused man who was probably trying to pee.
My Dad once knew a radio DJ, or more accurately, the bloke who used to report on the 1980's London rush-hour from a helicopter that sadly never plummeted into the King George VI reservoir. (Whose bright idea was it to name a giant outdoor water cistern after a dead monarch anyway?) Apparently, said 'Eye In The Sky' guy had an entire corridor of his house festooned with distasteful black and white photos of himself. And that was just the man whose disembodied voice would cheerfully announce, between the latest releases by Belinda Carlisle and the Travelling Willburys, a fifteen car pileup on the M25 with scores dead, caused by "sheer weight of traffic".
My radio station aversion began after my joyous return to London from those hallowed flat roofs of Bournemouth University. I had been weened on Capital Radio, tittering like a schoolboy (because I was one) as Chris Tarrant made funny comments at his sidekick Kara Noble long before she went on to become a tabloid hate figure for 20 minutes for selling pictures of a very minor royal. To themselves.
As my taste for dance music grew, I became enthralled by Kiss FM and their brilliant breakfast DJ Steve Jackson. Steve had a fucking grating voice - probably still has - which I bizarrely found endearing as the man was funny, plus he played some fantastic music to boot. And don't forget (as if you did) this was the Nineties. Listening to the music was like watching House continuing to evolve in a petri dish, a giant, audible petri dish of fun and hedonism in the musical science laboratory of Youth. And then he went and got himself sacked, by virtue of the fact that his employment up 'til then had made it possible.
Suddenly I was lost. Kiss was changing in direction and morphing into a hideous cock-sucking moneymonster, a gargantuan commercial entity which began crowbarring all sorts of urban pop into the ears of younger and younger demographics. Plus their new DJ was some bastard called Bam Bam. This man was the poster child for irritating DJs. For example - Bam Bam? Is your real name that bad? And who the hell are you trying to appeal to, choosing a name from a then thirty year old cartoon? You, sir, are a Cunt Cunt.
Plus his voice broke all records for irritating my organs out of my body. He was loud. 'ISN'T THIS GREAT? EVERYTHING'S GREAT, EH? EH?', just like a normal DJ then. Plus he thought he was funny when in fact he could be out-gagged by a corpse. Even more grating was his choice of sidekick, a nauseating cockney imp called Streetboy, an ancestor of the modern-day Chav, and dangerously armed with a mobile phone. Back then, Streetboy wasn't allowed in the studio, possibly because he'd nick stuff. Instead, Bam Bam would send 'Street' out into London and get him to wind up passers-by. I vaguely recall incidents of Streetboy being sent into newsagents and starting arguments with the owners, or else blocking cars while Bam Bam instructed him on what insults to throw next. No finesse, no comedy, just harrassment by a yob with a phone, being guided by a giggling dickhead.
Fortunately, I've just discovered that at least one of them got the boot.
I've been in limbo ever since. In my Willesden Green days, I went indie, listening to Christian O'Connell on Xfm, along with the rest of my flat. Christian wasn't bad, a bit too smug and monotone for my liking, but his sycophant Chris News did me in. Polite, fawning, and dull. Plus the music was rather too staid for me.
I moved house. And changed stations. I happened upon London 94.9fm, the radio wing of the BBC's London chicken, and entered a new phase of my all-encroaching old age. Annoying adverts had now, thankfully, vanished, to be replaced by chat. Annoying chat. And a propensity to make London seem like a sleepy little village just outside Yeovil. I only chose this as 94.9 became the lesser of dozens of other evils. Their presenters were the fairly amiable JoAnne Good with a screeching laugh straight from Satan's ringpiece, and the enormous antipodean 'Jono' Coleman who annoyed my own ringpiece clean off me, particularly with his penchant for doing stereotypical Jewish accents for no reason whatsoever.
'What the fuck's he doing that for? became a common phrase in my head, several minutes after being woken up by him.
Fortunately, my dearest wishes have come true and he's buggered off back to Australia to annoy a country a quite beautifully long way away. His replacement is a gay Tennessean called Baylen. Of course.
I don't know why I've stayed listening for so long. And every fucking day, they invite a man in called Dr David Kuo replete with his own irritating jingle to laugh like a drain for five minutes, make a boring observation, then fuck off. Why?
But things have just changed. OH YES. For today, I received an early birthday present from my Mum, Mrs Gonorrhea (formerly Mrs Fwengebola - she remarried), whose loins I spewed from nearly 33 happy years ago. She bought me a digital alarm clock radio.
All this can only mean: GOODBYE Chav fm with your varied musical styles that make me feel old. ADIOS rambling chat about congestion charges and where you can buy a really good latte. And FUCK YOU, Chris Moyles, you hideously obese, massively egotistical, bun-encrusted gobshite waffling fuckflap. In my desperation to find a decent station, I once happened upon Radio 1, 'pop' station to the entire UK, and found myself empathising with pregnant women as I too was waking up wanting to vomit. The only people who like you are a) children and b) the desperate twats you've nailed into the chairs next to you.
Right now, tonight, I am listening to Gaydar on my new digital radio. Oh how I wish they could have a different name, like Decent House Music Station For Discerning Heterosexuals FM, but no, Gaydar it is. Personally, I don't care what the station's sexual orientation is provided its breakfast show is hosted by amazing DJs and they keep playing these tunes. For the last hour, I've been entertained by a non-stop, no-chat mixed house set and my foot's been tapping away.
I think I may enjoy being woken up by this every morning. Just please don't start talking about willies, and clapping enthusiastically. You know. Like they do.
Actually, they can do what they want. Anything will be better than what I've had to put up with for the last decade.