When I was a kid there were lots of places one could go to find and hear new bands. It was easier back then in the late 70s, 80s and early 90s, because there wasn’t so much manufactured pop band shite around. I know, Stock, Aitken and (Dennis) Waterman reared their ugly heads in the 80s but there were stacks of real bands about and they could be heard, not just on John Peel’s Radio 1 programme, but on TV, on the likes of The Tube, Whistle Test, SNUB TV and even The Chart Show and Rapido. But they were all got rid of. (I am not forgetting that the great John Peel died, but even had he lived his show had already been moved around and shoved into a scheduling backwater countless times).
Now, we do have a few shows on Radio 2 to be thankful for, Radcliffe & Maconie, Bob Harris, Mike Harding etc but the other main outlet for decent music – of all kinds – is 6 Music. You can’t just get rid of it! It would be an outrage considering all the money the BBC must spend on making a whole load of utter rubbish TV.
Once upon a time there were decent drama series’ with compelling characters (such as Takin’ Over the Asylum – featuring a young David Tenant, and The Riff Raff Element), that I would rush to tune into, there were documentaries about subjects I was interested in, intellectual things (now all consigned to BBC Four, IF you’re lucky, or not covered at all. I remember a great series called A Skirt Through History among other things), there were gritty black-comedy sitcoms that still make me roll around with laughter at the thought (I’m thinking about Dear John there), but now it is all dumbed-down populist bollocks. Strictly Come Dancing? Strictly F*** Off more like. Wall-to-wall Eastenders with wooden characters, period dramas… yawn! Maybe there is other stuff on and I’ve just stopped watching because all the programmes I hate made me turn off. The Beeb seems to spend a lot of money trying to be like ITV and I’d rather it just gave me what I wanted. I’m happy to pay my one-hundred-and-something quid a year just for Radios 2, 4 and 6 really, but a decent bit of telly wouldn’t go amiss either.
AXE SOMETHING ELSE! Like Radio 3? Or one of the reality TV thingies. Save 6 Music. I’ll do a show on there for free if you like. I am a qualified broadcast journalist and I have experience, so I wouldn’t need a lot of training. AND I’m a woman AND I know a bit about music. You can start paying me when times (and the economy) improve.
Seriously, this is yet another disaster for decent, original music, made and played with real instruments by real people who aren’t just some good-looking young woman or a bunch of chisel-featured young men pretending they are musicians. We need to save this radio station in order to preserve real music made by people who love making it -rather than those who just want to make a quick buck and be famous for singing into a hairbrush/showing their bits off in a photoshoot.
Save 6 Music – it stands not just as a place to hear original music, but as a symbol of diversity and plurality in what’s on offer to us culturally in these strange times. We can’t afford to lose it.