Friday, 28 October 2016

Radio Review: 28 October

Against the odds, the end of this story was uplifting

Written by Louis Barfe

Fifty years ago last week, thousands of tonnes of mining spoil, heaped up over several decades, slid down into a primary school in the Welsh village of Aberfan. The villagers knew it was a disaster waiting to happen, but no action was taken. Louis-Barfe-colour-176

Radio 2 marked the anniversary with The Voices Of Aberfan (on iPlayer), in which max boyce went to visit the village and sing with Ynesowen Male Voice Choir, a grouping formed in the aftermath of the tragedy, in which 144 died, 116 of them schoolchildren. It was harrowing to hear one of the survivors talk of that day, on which he said he aged from seven to 22. I began to doubt if I could make it through the hour.

Then, though, came the story of the choir, still containing several survivors. It’s a story rich in camaraderie and joy. On their way back, by coach, from organised engagements, it has become the norm for them to give impromptu concerts wherever they stop for a pint. It was an unexpectedly uplifting end to a difficult day, wireless-wise.

As the God-awful midweek (to use its full title) began, I turned first to BBC Radio WM, where a Danny Kelly other than the one who works with Danny Baker was fielding mean-spirited calls about Gary Lineker expressing a liberal opinion. So I went to Five Live, where an unpleasant person was being nasty about immigrants.

Finally, out of desperation, I turned to BBC Hereford & Worcester, where Malcolm Boyden (weekdays, 10am) was chuntering on about lettuces and preparing to interview a composer who had written a symphony for cats. Not inspired by cats. To be listened to chiefly by felines. An agreeable host, his aptitude for silliness masks considerable broadcasting skill. On his patch, he’s world- famous, and the love is justified. He does proper local radio.

Louis on Twitter: @LFBarfe or email: 

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