Friday, 27 May 2016

Radio Review: 27 May

A weekend of song and mirth lights up the wireless

Written by Louis Barfe
Louis-Barfe-colour-176On Eurovision Saturday (14 May), I found myself preparing for the revels by listening to Jazz Line-Up (R3, Saturdays, 5pm) in the kitchen. I was so enjoying Sebastian Scotney’s report on the connections between British jazz and folk music that I delayed my departure to the Old Spot for a pre-Contest sharpener.

I was particularly taken by the work of Scottish trumpeter Colin Steele, and it’s always a delight to hear June Tabor, whose interpretation of Duke Ellington’s Do Nothin’ Till You Hear From Me has long since become my favourite version of the song.

As for the Eurovision itself, hosted on R2 by Ken Bruce with his customary wit and authority, I thought we stood a decent chance of landing on the left-hand side of the scoreboard this year. Not because the song was any good, but because I thought we might benefit from a bit of political voting to keep us from the brink of Brexit. We came third from last, but I still think we should stay in.

The next day, I was giving The Michael Ball Show (R2, 11am) a chance, and was witness to one of the most joyous and extraordinary bits of radio I’ve heard in a good long while. If I say that Ball’s guest was Brian Blessed, that should give you an idea.

Ball asked Blessed to either confirm or deny various stories about his life. Naturally, Blessed confirmed them all. Whether they were tall tales or not is irrelevant. What matters is that listeners heard about when Blessed thumped Harold Pinter and how to avoid the candiru, an Amazonian fish that shimmies up male swimmers’ urine streams and embeds itself painfully right inside a certain anatomical feature. Ball was quite genuinely laughing his head off and, at home, so was I.

Louis on Twitter: @LFBarfe or email:

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