Radio 4 Listeners

Radio 4 is a channel on the BBC which features a relatively wide variety of mainly talk programmes. I assume it had its origins when the BBC took seriously its remit not only to entertain, but also to educate and inform. It is a channel one switches to when one reaches the age at which Radio 1 becomes far too shouty, and plays the type of music your mum and dad complained of, involving comments about it being too much about sex and “you can’t hear the words”. This is a phrase which entered the lexicon of musical critique in 1954 and is repeated every decade by those whose teenage years are but distant memories and whose prostates are larger than their willies.

Radio 2 is a gateway channel between the two, and carries its own risks. At first one may tune in to Radio 2 once a day at breakfast time, but if the move to Radio 4 is not quickly made, one is liable to be trapped within its soul sucking vortex of the Jeremy Vine show, the anodine ‘Pop Masters’, which features questions about ‘popular music’ that only the institutionalised in secure units of a psychiatric or care establishment can answer, and endless traffic reports about sheep pile ups on the M6 in Cumbria.

Aficionados of the Vine show will know that ‘topical’ issues are discussed. I say discussed, I don’t think there is a word in English that adequately captures the full level of the depth of ignorance, ill thought through opinion, bluster and stupidity that passes for comments on periennial topics such as the Royal Family, Boris Johnson’s hair and the price of biscuits. The sort of people who phone in might well be honing their skills, insularity and middle england, middle class prejudices in order to promote themselves onto Radio 4 programmes such as ‘Any Answers’.

Local radio, in my case Radio Cornwall, boasts its own ‘talk shows’ on which any number of slack jawed yokels, inbred slope browed countryfolk – the pride of ‘rural idiocy’ – and the retired gentlefolk of the Tory Shires, bored with spouting boorish comments at any passing tradesman in the Home counties and so moved West for a fresh less critical audience, feel entitled to drivel banality upon cliche upon shit. This is the lower leagues of stupidity, whose players lack the ambition, or the energy or the ability to piss straight enough to move into the Championship League of Vine on Radio 2.

An average Radio Cornwall phone-in features calls from neurotic cat ladies who think they are being spied on by the Chinese, a goat hugger from Tintagel and ex farm labourers who can still remember the horse and plough but not what they had for breakfast. Presenters, for what reason I know not, often give them 10 minutes to say something that could be said in 10 seconds or preferably not at all. I would not dare to bore a sharp clawed tom cat with the complaints that issue out of the radio. Many of these folk cannot progress to Vine let alone Any Answers, they are the sort that gives Norfolk its reputation.

And yet.

On Any Answers today, within 5 minutes, the quality of call from three ‘listeners’ was poor enough to cast any residual doubts I had about humanity’s right to continued existence, into oblivion. The level of deference to Authority would make a Feudal Lord blush and his peasants mutter ‘have some respect for yourselves’. The presenter made it known that the majority of callers wanted to discuss the goings on of a millionaire couple whose lives resemble their own as much as a skipful of dead kittens resembles a toddler’s ball pit.

On Iran, basically the call was “meh, nuke the fuckers”. When asked why by the presenter, the answer was a different version of “meh, nuke the fuckers’, all said in the sort of no nonsense northern accent of a middle manager of a pie factory in Wigan. Knowledge of geopolitics, history and diplomacy is seen as a distinct disadvantage for this type of caller who suspects only the ‘liberal lefty pooftahs down in the smoke’ need recourse to such. Why bother with reading anything when you have nukes? A Mrs Trellis of North Wales phoned in to say that “If that nice Mr Trump wants to bomb Iran, I would be willing to polish his missile to ensure maximum penetration, and thats something the late Mr Trellis always talked about.”

Voltaire was a French Enlightenment writer, deist and philosopher who perceived the French bourgeoisie to be too small and ineffective, the aristocracy to be parasitic and corrupt, the commoners to be ignorant and superstitious. He also distrusted democracy which he saw as propagating the idiocy of the masses. Radio 4 phone in shows would only confirm him in his prejudices. In 2020, we do not have to look very far, just tune in any day to hear English bourgeoie commentators blathering on about civilising the fuzzy wuzzies by bombing them, English aristocrats dribbling about tax while clubbing fox cubs into furry red soaked pulp and the commoners asking to ‘get Brexit done’ by kicking out the foreigners and force feeding fish and chips to the French.

The average Radio 4 caller is a c*nt.

Published by Lance Goodman

Freelance writer, bon vivant and all-round good oeuf.

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