INTERNET KILLED THE RADIO STAR
FM radio often seems stone-age to me. A Jurassic Park of Smashy & Nicey clones. A once loud and rebellious medium destined to end its days as the yawn of a million pensioners quietly idling in traffic.
Observing its demise is horrible. It is Mick Jagger since the 80s. Sometimes “old fashioned” can be brilliant – Radio 4 is often better than anything on TV – but the majority of my radio “fix” has been internet based for a decade now. There I can find whole stations that are genre specific. Better yet, most are bereft of the one thing more horrible than having to witness FM radio being slowly poked up Simon Cowell’s arsehole. Mainstream radio DJs are by and large dreadful people. Most don’t seem fully formed, existing somewhere between Alan Partridge and that bloke who used to turn up on the public footpath next to our school armed with puppies and packets of sweets. Statistically of course not every radio DJ is a paedophile. Some of them just think women should “keep their knickers on” to avoid rape. Others just hate babies and tits.
Do you remember that point in the late 70s/early 80s where alternative comedy and “old fashioned” stand-up clashed horribly? Rik Mayall and Ade Edmondson would turn up to set their trousers on fire as Lenny Henry stood flanked by men in blackface telling “Englishman, Irishman, and Scotsmen” jokes to confused audiences who had only turned up to see Harry Enfield’s latest xenophobic rant. It was a scary and confusing time, not least for the “old fashioned” stand-ups who seemed bemused when their jokes about Chinese mother-in-laws stopped getting laughs outside of Masonic lodges and parts of Kent. So I feel for Alex Dyke. Really I do. I genuinely believe he was trying to connect with his audience when he lazily stole a Daily Mail article about lady horns, stranger-danger, and the vile moustache-lipped chav-spawn suckling their teet. You can’t listen to the show anymore because the BBC have pulled it, but the bit where he accused a young mother on the bus of feeding breast-milk to swans was recounted with such breathtaking narrative prowess I could actually taste the colostrum and hear the poor birds honk. What was perhaps odder was his response when cornered on social media. A discussion, occurring beneath a photo of Timmy Mallet, saw him take a break from likening public breastfeeding to public intercourse and simply abuse fat women instead.
I suspect beneath Garth from Wayne’s World’s hair and glasses lays an arch-satirist. Alex Dyke does such a well honed “Katie Hopkins with a cock” routine he must surely be angling to bring idiocy down from the inside by replacing Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson or UKIP’s own Haemorrhoid Farage. The alternative, a sad out of touch man flailing around for attention like a hungry baby, is frankly as depressing as the retort: “Alex Dyke dur dur dur…. freedom of speech!” Yes Alex can say what he wants – so can the people exercising their freedoms of speech as they hold him to account for it. Words are powerful. Words expressed on a medium with the potential to reach a great many people more powerful still. When the gallery you’re playing to is the Daily Mail comments section it’s very dangerous to open your window to the world and shout things that are (a) untrue (b) selfish (c) pig-shit ignorant. This wasn’t an overreaction. The internet rose on behalf of Alex’s target because the things he was shouting at – the things that would ultimately suffer for the benefit of him having a better view on a bus or being forced to freely turn his head to avoid looking at something that is pure, and natural, and beautiful – are themselves voiceless.