Archive: Iain Lee

About ten years ago I shunned music radio. It no longer reflected my musical tastes, so I turned to speech radio stations instead — all on the BBC.

After a while, I began to get into BBC 6 Music. I was still interested in the speech elements of the station more than the music. Adam and Joe became a regular listen, but I also began to appreciate the music output more. Programmes like the Freak Zone and Jarvis Cocker’s Sunday Service simply would not exist on another station — which is why there was so much outrage when it was suggested that the station would be closed down.

But when considering alternative options in the event that 6 Music closed, I realised that the outlook was perhaps not as bad is it might seem. As a commercial alternative, Absolute Radio wouldn’t be a bad option.

Shedding Virgin Radio’s dad rock image

In the space of just two years, the new owners of what used to be Virgin Radio have given the station a completely new lease of life.

I would never have considered listening to Virgin Radio. Its playlist was limited, repetitive and fusty. It was wall-to-wall dad rock.

Looking back, the transition to the new-style Absolute was quite steady. But the day it ditched the Virgin brand was the day it could move on from that albatross and the Smashie and Nicey image. Today, I think it is easily the most interesting commercial radio station around.

More than music

The key selling point of Absolute Radio, as opposed to Virgin, is that it is now not just about music. Now it’s an “entertainment” station. When you tune in, you are more likely to hear a comedian than a dusty old Status Quo song. Its current presenters include people like Dave Gorman, Iain Lee, Frank Skinner and Richard Herring — all much better known for being funny than being fanatical about what Virgin always called “real music”.

It’s a template that has been successful at BBC 6 Music ever since it started. Its original breakfast presenter was Phill Jupitus, while other high-profile presenters have included Russell Brand, Craig Charles, Jon Holmes and… Richard Herring. And it’s difficult to escape the feeling that Absolute’s weekend morning programming has been heavily influenced by the success of Adam and Joe on 6 Music.

The really impressive thing about how Absolute have gone about it is the fact that Dave Gorman appears to have more influence over the music that is played on his programme than Adam and Joe ever did. As a whole, Absolute is more accessible than 6 Music, but it is a station that is unafraid to step out of the mainstream on occasion.

Determined to try different things

But gradually, Absolute is becoming something more than a commercial 6 Music-lite. Its deal to broadcast English Premier League football matches is a bold move to for a music station to make, particularly since Radio 5 Live and TalkSport are so well established in this area. Apparently it is the first time a music station has broadcast top flight football since Capital Gold brought Jonathan Pearce to the world 20 years ago.

Absolute have launched some interesting spin-off stations as well. In addition to Absolute Classic Rock, there is Absolute 80s and Absolute Radio 90s (that is a way to make me feel old — my decade is now for proper nostalgia!). There is also Absolute Radio Extra. The best thing is that the latter three are all available on DAB.

There was also Dabbl, an experimental station where users chose the content. It has closed down now, but it is nonetheless a sign that Absolute is determined to experiment with radio.

Doing new things with radio

The people behind Absolute Radio have a great website, One Golden Square, which takes you behind the scenes of Absolute Radio. The openness of the website is wonderful. It is a great insight into what makes them tick, and it’s all very encouraging.

Absolute are always at the cutting-edge, thinking about the future of radio and different ways to listen to it. That is no wonder — the traditional 1215 medium wave frequency is very poor quality for a music station, so it helps them to investigate alternative ways of broadcasting.

One Golden Square Labs outlines some of the really interesting things they are up to. There is some nifty iPod Nano integration. They are also pushing ahead with HTML5 delivery.

Compare My Radio - comparison of Absolute and 6 Music

One Golden Square are also behind the wonderful Compare My Radio. This website is a heaven for radio and stats geeks — perfect for me.

It is a treasure trove of stats about radio output in the UK. You can see what tracks and artists are popular, search for artists to find out what stations play them, and even compare the output of two radio stations — with Venn diagrams and everything.

A lot of people turned to this website to learn about 6 Music. Many defended the station on the basis of statistics collected by Compare My Radio. You can see how 6 Music compares to Absolute Radio.

The website is a fascinating service that must take a bit of work to maintain. It’s great that a radio station can take a step back and fairly allow others to compare it with other radio stations.

All-in-all, you get the impression that the people behind Absolute Radio are seriously passionate about radio. As a bit of a radio fan myself, that is a big winner for me.

I was sad to read that Frank Sidebottom — or Chris Sievey, his real name — died today. I have vague memories of him being on television when I was very young, and it was a joy to rediscover him when he made his comeback four or five years ago.

He never returned to the heights of his late 1980s zenith, so I have had to make do with YouTube for my fix of Frank Sidebottom. Although I did buy and enjoy ‘ABC&D’, his best of CD.

I had seen that he was diagnosed with cancer recently, and clearly he was in a very bad way. But it didn’t stop him performing and just last week he released a World Cup song, ‘Three Shirts on my Line‘ (“35 years of dirt, just washed out by me mum”).

His former keyboardist, Jon Ronson, wrote a great article about Frank Sidebottom’s career a few years ago. Fascinating reading, and quite sad too.

I only learnt today that he worked for a few years on Pingu. Via the Cook’d and Bomb’d forum comes this video of an episode of Pingu that he wrote.

Wonderful.

(If you look carefully in the credits, you’ll see that he is even credited as Frank Sidebottom, not Chris Sievey.)

A Twitter campaign to get Frank Sidebottom to number 1 is gathering steam — @MakeFrank1. I think it would be very apt. Because going by the reaction from people today, while Frank Sidebottom disappeared from view somewhat in recent years, it’s clear that many people loved him.

Read on to view a selection of my favourite Frank Sidebottom videos.

Click for more »

I have realised that I’m easily entertained. I have a pile of CDs that I bought back in October but still haven’t got round to listening to. There are a couple of DVDs that I bought before Christmas that I still haven’t watched. And I’m struggling to play all the games I’ve bought in the past few months too.

What am I doing that means I have so little spare time? I would say that it’s all because I currently spend so much time commuting to work (generally around three hours per day, or two if I’m lucky). But my chief means of entertainment while travelling, listening to podcasts, has also been causing me undue hassle due to the rising backlog sitting in my iPod waiting to be listened to.

I guess it’s lucky that one of the biggest problems in my life just now is the fact that I have too much interesting and fun stuff to listen to. But I have genuinely found it a tricky balance to get right, and am trying out creative ways to organise my spare time more efficiently as a matter of priority.

Having too many podcasts to listen to has been the case for as long as I can remember. It’s a bit like having an RSS reader, and before you know it, you have subscribed to so many RSS feeds that you never get them all read. This is okay as long as you don’t let anything get too out-of-date before you get round to it.

However, the mild annoyance of having a huge backlog of podcasts became a major problem recently when, almost without noticing, I ended up being four or five weeks behind on almost every podcast I listen to. This became a major problem with the current affairs podcasts I listen to, particularly just after the General Election had taken place. They had almost all been rendered completely out of date!

So since the election I have been on a drive to listen to more podcasts, weed out the ones I don’t really like, and prioritise the more newsworthy ones. Before, I had around 260 podcast episodes downloaded but not yet listened to. Having unsubscribed from and deleted a few podcasts, I have got that number down to 170, where it seems to have stabilised.

It took me about a month to do it, but I have managed to catch up with all of the podcasts that I deem to be “current affairs”, and have even sub-divided this into high-priority and low-priority sub-categories. Apart from F1 podcasts (which have always been consumed fairly quickly), these are now listened to first.

Of the podcasts that are less centred around the news, I have split these into a ‘B’ and ‘C’ list. Bs are podcasts that either I really enjoy or I think I should listen to. Cs are podcasts that I have assigned the lowest priority to. I am on the verge of unsubscribing from some of these.

I start listening to these podcasts if there are no current affairs ones waiting, with one C being placed after every two or three Bs. Just now, the oldest of these is from way back on 2 April — ten weeks ago. It is certainly interesting to see whether or not I really miss listening to these podcasts.

It certainly feels like I have become a lot more organised, even though there are almost 40 hours’ worth of podcasts waiting to be listened to. And that is just in this list alone.

I haven’t even mentioned the comedy podcasts, which I listen to as part of a different routine. I listen to one Adam and Joe podcast per week (on a Monday, to cheer myself up, geddit?). Then during whatever bits of time I have on Monday or Tuesday I listen to Iain Lee or Barry from Watford. This is a huge backlog of its own, but because the Iain Lee ones are generally around 10 or 15 minutes long, it’s easy to squeeze them in here and there.

There is so much cheap (in fact, free) entertainment that there is simply too much interesting stuff to get through it all. I recently calculated that the amount of podcasts I was downloading amounted to 1½ hours of listening every day. No wonder I was struggling.

It is worth being a bit more discerning with how I spend my spare time. But it is always difficult to make the decision to stop listening to a particular podcast. I have been listening to some of these for three years now. But a bit like a favourite shirt that’s worn out, I’m not sure I can actually bring myself to chuck it out.

Save BBC 6 Music

If the reports that the BBC will close down 6 Music are true, it is a great shame. Of course, this could be seen coming. The BBC has been utterly weak in almost every respect for the past few years, and it is difficult to escape the notion that it is too big, with too many outlets. Of course, when effectively forced to cut back, it will opt to close down the high quality products, rather than those that are merely popular.

6 Music is the only mainstream radio station where you can regularly hear genuinely experimental and alternative music on a regular basis. It is the only station that confounds expectations and delights in challenging the listener.

The Freak Zone is a jewel in 6 Music’s crown, dedicated to playing esoteric music from today and undiscovered gems from the past. For sure, it is a challenging listen at times — but that is the very point.

Similarly, Jarvis Cocker’s Sunday Service is truly unique. One of the most eclectic playlists I have ever heard is mixed with ponderings on, for instance, the sad beauty of abandoned Christmas trees.

I have effused before about Adam and Joe, which I think was genuinely the best programme on radio. These are just three of the must-listen radio programmes that 6 Music has brought us.

6 Music should have broadened its horizons

There is simply no commercial alternative. In short, it is precisely the sort of thing that the BBC should be doing.

In fact, I have in the past been critical of 6 Music for not being adventurous enough in the past. The BBC does, after all, already have three other major music radio stations, each of which is dedicated to playing different strands of mainstream music. There is, of course, nothing wrong with that. But this should have provided 6 Music with the opportunity to explore the outer reaches of music more freely.

Instead, 6 Music has ended up being slightly unsure of its role. It has come to attain a dual identity. One is that of a genuinely exploratory musical agenda, for discerning listeners who are passionate about the music they already love, and are itching to discover new music.

The other is that of a mere weakened popular music station with a vague indie bent. This aspect made it like a transition station for listeners who have moved on from Radio 1 but can’t yet bring themselves to listen to Radio 2. Hence the travesty of George Lamb. There are plenty of commercial alternatives for these people to turn to. This is an audience that doesn’t need to be catered for by the BBC.

Instead of trying to gain listeners with gimmicky attempts to cater for the masses, 6 Music should have set its sights higher by increasing its quality. It could be transformed into a station that is genuinely dedicated to music that you won’t find on other radio stations.

And there is no need to stop at music. It could encompass culture as a whole. Why shouldn’t such a station also champion alternative comedy, experimental drama and the like? It could be like a well funded version of Resonance FM.

Instead, the BBC appears to have taken the coward’s option. Instead of setting its sights towards enhancing the station so that it becomes a great hub for alternative and experimental culture, it has weakly chosen to throw in the towel. Instead of realising the potential of 6 Music and promoting it properly, the BBC has left it in a corner to gather cobwebs and eventually die.

The BBC’s disregard for experimental culture

This would be palatable if it weren’t for the fact that experimental music has been increasingly marginalised on the BBC’s other radio stations over the past decade as well. As if the passing of John Peel wasn’t enough of a blow to adventurous music on the BBC, the corporation appears to be determined to dismantle every last piece of its experimental music programming.

A decade ago Radio 1′s evening schedule was brimming with experimental music. But the station’s few remaining programmes dedicated to experimental music have all been shunted to shorter, graveyard time slots. To take just one example, Rob da Bank’s programme is on at the truly insulting 5-7am on a Saturday. Meanwhile, Mary Anne Hobbs’s Breezeblock is on at 2-4am on Thursday morning.

New experimental music has all but disappeared from Radio 3 as well. Since Mixing It was removed from the schedules, all that has remained is Late Junction, which has itself been marginalised in recent years.

In short, the BBC is doing less of the sort of programming it should be making, and replacing it with the sort of thing that ought to be left to its commercial rivals.

Absolute to the rescue?

The Times suggested that Absolute Radio may be interested in buying 6 Music should the BBC decide to close it down. It seems to me as though Clive Dickens was merely making a point about the inefficient way the BBC has run 6 Music.

But the idea that Absolute might acquire 6 Music and keep it alive is an interesting prospect. I have find myself being increasingly impressed with Absolute. I am sure that it has taken inspiration from 6 Music as it tries to re-build itself without the Virgin brand behind it.

Like 6 Music, Absolute thinks of itself as a home for good music (although in practice it just trots out middle-of-the-road dad rock). It mixes this with the use of comedians like Dave Gorman, Frank Skinner and Iain Lee as presenters.

This is the exact model that 6 Music has used throughout its existence. The station was launched by Phill Jupitus, who presented the 6 Music breakfast show for several years. Since then, 6 Music has been home to several comedians.

I find it doubtful that a radio station like 6 Music would flourish as a commercial operation. But if anyone can pull it off, it is Absolute. It would be fabulous.

The BBC has failed to convincingly promote digital radio. The lack of publicity is the real reason why 6 Music has so few listeners. Fewer than 10% of Radio 1 listeners are listening on a digital platform. When 6 Music is only available on digital platforms, it is no wonder it appears to perform so poorly. Only one in five people in the UK have even heard of the station. Hence Adam Buxton’s joke that it is “the secret station”.

Yet, over 54% of Absolute Radio’s listeners (approximately 31 minutes in) outside of London now listen on digital. The BBC, with all its supposed marketing might, has failed to generate anything like this sort of result, despite having shedloads of cash dedicated to the exercise.

The BBC is now weak and ineffective. It has failed digital radio, and it is now failing to commit to the very adventurous programming it is supposed to be dedicated to.


The country lurches back into its usual routine this week. But with the new year comes changes, and a vital part of everyone’s daily life — the radio — will seem very different.

My parents are concerned about what will happen to Radio 2 after the departure of Terry Wogan from breakfast. They were not happy to hear that his replacement will be Chris Evans. My parents originally stopped listening to Radio 1 when Chris Evans took over the Radio 1 breakfast show. (Quite how they tolerated Steve Wright before this is beyond me though.)

I get the feeling that they will stick with Radio 2. Chris Evans is a very different broadcaster to what he was ten or fifteen years ago and has apparently pleased most people with his performances on Radio 2 so far.

While Terry Wogan’s last show was the one that caught all the headlines, the end of two other radio programmes will be far more disruptive to my routine. I was not a listener of Terry Wogan’s, though I don’t suppose I am really part of his target audience.

The end of Adam and Joe

Much bigger news in my world has been the end of Adam and Joe’s programme on BBC 6 Music. They are raising the drawbridge at the Big British Castle for an indefinite period while Joe Cornish focuses on his new career as a film director.

This programme has been a core part of my week for the past two years. It is also unusual because due to its Saturday morning time slot, it has been the only thing that has managed to get me to wake up at a decent hour on a Saturday.

Adam and Joe have an excellent knack of doing a type of humour which is silly but not stupid — a balance that very few manage to strike. This made it ideal listening for the start of the weekend. It was perhaps something to gently lift you out of a mild hangover. The accompanying podcast was also excellent for lifting spirits during your journey into work.

Their gentle humour was mixed with sharp observations on popular culture. Increasingly, towards the end of the programme’s run, listener contributions were a larger part of the programme. Combined with the programme’s elite listening force Black Squadron and the STEPHEN! phenomenon, there was quite a tight-knit community feel to the show.

This was no doubt helped by the fact that it was on BBC 6 Music, jokingly referred to by Adam Buxton as “the secret station”. Even though it was the most popular programme on the station by quite a long way, due to its location in the outer reaches of select DAB sets, Adam and Joe’s was a cosy and understated programme. It is difficult to imagine Adam and Joe’s programme working so well on another, larger radio station.

Adam and Joe’s replacement will be Danny Wallace, who is not quite in the same league. It will leave a huge gap in my Saturday mornings. What else can I listen to? Saturday Live on Radio 4? Sorry, not for me. Jonathan Ross on Radio 2? Possibly. Or will I return to my old ‘default’ radio station, Radio 5 Live, for Danny Baker and Fighting Talk?

Changes at Radio 5 Live

Speaking of Radio 5 Live, that is the source of the other big change to my radio routine. Richard Bacon has vacated the late-night slot to take over from Simon Mayo, who is moving to replace Chris Evans on Drivetime at Radio 2.

I was a fan of Richard Bacon during his first stint on 5 Live in the weekend late-night slot, and he continued to delight when he returned to the station to do weeknights. Given his background, he is surprisingly good at dealing with big issues as well as light-hearted stuff.

He is also unafraid to use humour. It could be so embarrassing (and some would probably say it is), but I think it works well. The interesting bit after 12:30am was entertaining and brave. I can’t think of many other presenters who would get away with completely doing away with news for half an hour every day on Radio 5 Live.

I am greatly regretful that I never managed to get my hands on one of those badges. It was nevertheless an honour and a privilege to listen.

Richard Bacon’s irreverence is what makes him good as a broadcaster, but it’s difficult to see how he can leverage this in his new mid-afternoon slot, one of the most important in 5 Live’s schedule. Most disappointingly, it will be on during the daytime, meaning that I won’t be able to listen to it.

The replacement in the late night slot will be former Daily Sport editor Tony Livesey. I will reserve judgement until I hear the programme. I gather he is actually quite good. But if I don’t take to it, I might take the unusual step of switching to a commercial radio station during weeknights to listen to Iain Lee on Absolute Radio.

Richard Bacon’s move is part of a wider shake-up at Radio 5 Live, which also sees Gabby Logan getting a daily slot. With the day going from the Nicky Campbell Speak You’re Branes hour to Victoria Derbyshire to Gabby Logan, it’s not difficult to see why some people have started to nickname the station Radio 5 Lite.

It’s not quite the quality station I loved just a few years ago. Just now Radio 5 Live seems utterly bereft of ideas, aside from attempting to stealthily change it into a 24/7 Mark Kermode station. At least Up All Night is still good.

If I was being uncharitable, I might suggest that the presenters that remain at the station are the ones who are prepared to make the move to Salford when the station relocates there next year. The logic behind moving a radio station that covers news (most of which happens in London) to Manchester is still beyond me, I have to admit.

On the bright side…

It’s not all bad news on the radio front. In addition to his new daytime Radio 5 Live slot, Richard Bacon has a Saturday afternoon programme on 6 Music. He promises to take some of the jollity of his late night 5 Live show to 6 Music. But who listens to radio at that time? Not me.

I might make space in my Sunday afternoons for 6 Music though. Jarvis Cocker will have a new programme alongside the already-excellent Freak Zone.

But weekend mornings will still be a problem. And I’ll need a new comedy podcast to replace Adam and Joe. Does anyone have any suggestions? (Not Collings and Herrin — I tried it, and it was crap.)

Last week Channel 4 celebrated its 25th birthday. John asked in the comments about people’s top ten Channel 4 programmes. I would have written this at the time anyway, but I didn’t have the time and figured I’d just let it slip under the radar. However, since the question was asked, I will answer it anyway.

Bear in mind that I am actually younger than Channel 4 is. As such, you won’t find me waxing lyrical about Max Headroom or Minipops. This is, I’m afraid, strictly 1990s onwards.

These are in no particular order, just what I thought would flow well.

Brass Eye

Following The Day Today, Chris Morris took the skewed news concept a step further with Brass Eye. The programme was sometimes controversial, with everybody specatcularly failing to ‘get’ the paedophile episode. Brass Eye highlighted and parodied media wrongs. Here is a clip about the Bad Aids.

Jam

Most people seem to be choosing Brass Eye in these lists, as have I. But I was more fond of one of Chris Morris’s other Channel 4 programmes, Jam. This disturbing sketch show was shot with strange visual effects and set to a constant background track of ambient music. Quite unique and strange, it really set itself apart from other sketch shows.

The programme often dealt with subject matters that might be seen as taboo. But you can’t help thinking, “doesn’t he have a point?” It would be irresponsible of me to compare this sketch to any recent news events.

4Later

4Later was a strand of late-night programming that ran for a few years earlier this decade. The range of programmes was pretty eclectic. Low budget games and DVD review shows Bits and Vidz were cult classics. Disinfo Nation was an “alternative news programme”. 4Later was the home of the last series of Babylon 5. Late Night Poker was the original poker programme that started the craze. A remixed version of Chris Morris’s Jam was perfectly suited to the late-night vibe.

It is such a shame that 4later was unceremoniously axed, taking with it all of its good programmes. Late nights on Channel 4 simply haven’t been the same since.

One of my favourite programmes on 4Later was The Trip, which mixed archive film footage with arty music. I’m so delighted to have found some clips of it on YouTube! It was just perfect for the late-night slot, and well worth staying up for, especially since the feeling that you were about to drop off just added to the vibe. It is probably fair to say that, combined with Jam, this programme shaped my taste in music a lot in my mid-teens.

The Big Breakfast

Kudos to Channel 4 for trying something different with the morning slot. Normally, if you don’t want news or children’s programmes, you can forget about morning television.

It was a tricky balancing act though. It was sometimes unwatchably chaotic, and sometimes seemingly the whole programme was on the verge of complete collapse. At times it also seemed as though they were all just having fun for themselves and completely forgot about the viewer. I found this particularly during the Johnny and Denise phase.

I was quite fond of the programme in its later years. But for whatever reason, the viewing public switched off. Channel 4 tried something similar with its replacement, RI:SE, but it completely misfired. The Big Breakfast had some kind of magic ingredient that made it work for a few years in the 1990s. But today, we are back to the usual diet of news and children’s programmes. Anything else would just feel wrong.

This isn’t a particularly special clip, but it is typical of the kind of material that was featured on The Big Breakfast in its later years. Nigel Buckland, presenter of late-night film show Vidz, reviewed some Christmas DVDs in 2002. You might see what I mean when I say the programme was a bit shambolic.

The 11 O’Clock Show

It is true that The 11 O’Clock Show was sometimes embarassingly bad. This was bound to happen when it was broadcast daily (soon cut back to three days a week). I still thought it contained more good jokes per week than just about any other programme. Still, it was all too easy for the programme to lapse into telling easy cock jokes.

Let’s not forget, though, that it was the early home of Sacha Baron Cohen and Ricky Gervais. The huge writing team also had some great names working for it. Charlie Brooker leaps out in my memory. So it’s not as if it had unfunny people working for it. It was worth tuning in to wait for the good bits.

At the time, the programme was perhaps most famous for Iain Lee’s vox pops. Sometimes I got the feeling that the people in the vox pops were told what to say, but they were still funny nevertheless. This one doesn’t look like it has actors, but it does contain lots of dirty jokes about bodily fluids.

Whose Line is it Anyway?

I guess with the improvisational nature of the show, it was bound to be hit and miss. But when it was hit, Whose Line was hysterically funny. It has also stood the test of time rather well. The American version is screened regularly on Five US, and recently the UK version began to be shown on Dave. I find that it’s well worth giving it a look whenever it’s on because there is likely to be at least one laugh-so-much-you-cry moment.

Here is a ‘hoedown’ game from one of the later series of the UK version. Tony Slattery is obviously near his lowest point here which isn’t good to see, but nevertheless it is very funny.

Father Ted

This programme surely needs no introduction. The silly sitcom is the best of the past fifteen years in my view. Here is the classic moment from the Christmas special when Ted, Dougal and others get lost in Ireland’s biggest lingerie section.

The Chart Show

I can just about remember a time when The Chart Show was not The ITV Chart Show. A few months ago I found myself getting very nostalgic and watching lots of videos of old episodes of The Chart Show on YouTube. It was so different to the other music programmes on offer, with nothing in the way of live performances, and no presenters apart from quirky Amiga graphics.

Of course, nowadays most music programming is like this because it’s the most cost-effective way to do it. But even watching The Chart Show today, it has its own little quirks. The whole ‘FFWD’ / ‘RWND’ stuff was a bit gimmicky, but remained in one form or another until its last show in 1998.

For some reason, all of the Channel 4 versions have been removed from YouTube, while many ITV episodes remain! Here is a clip from not long after the change of channels in 1989.

The Crystal Maze

Is this the greatest gameshow ever? Yes. The Crystal Maze also must be one of the very few programme adaptations to be better than the original it was based on. Fort Boyard was good, but bland in comparison to The Crystal Maze.

Partly this is down to the ingenuity of the puzzles, and the different zones. But a lot of it is also down to the charismatic Richard O’Brien. His sarcastic comments just sum it up whenever the team messes up, which it invariably does. And of course, he had that harmonica to hand whenever he felt like putting the team off. And then there was that strange relationship with the computer in the futuristic zone…

Popworld

While the staid BBC subjected the nation’s youth to Fearne Cotton’s asinine interviews with boring boy bands, over on Channel 4 you could watch Simon Amstell being sarcastic to them. Some bands played along with it, while others took great offence. And who would believe it, it was those wankerish indie bands who were worse than the bubblegum pop groups. Essential viewing for weekend mornings, as I have already written on this blog.