Thursday, August 24, 2006

Australian Radio

Since we arrived in this beautiful country, nearly a year ago, we've been trying to get into the Australian music scene. Back in dear old Blighty, Radio 1 told us what to listen to if we wanted to be cool and groovy, and down with the kids, man. Jo Whiley would carefully inform us as to what we were allowed to listen to and what we should now sneer at.

Over here, most of the radio stations are total dogshit. They play adverts between each song, adverts during the news, sneak in adverts as part of the traffic reports, they'd probably even put an advert in the songs themselves if there's a quiet bit. When they're not whoring themselves, the songs they do play are crappy Americanized, middle of the road, poppy pap or sphincter-clenching Classic Rock where the music is drowned out by the creaking of the tight leather trousers and you can almost smell the hairspray. If a song does not have a guitar (or sample of a guitar) in it, you won't hear it. Triple M, for instance, pride themselves on the wide range of music they play: "You never know what we'll play next". Yes, I do. It'll be something shit with guitars in.

Don't get me wrong, I love guitar-based music. My tastes run the alphabet from Aerosmith to ZZ Top. It's just that I don't want to hear it all the time. I want my tastes to be challenged. The musical alphabet also includes the Beastie Boys, Chemical Brothers, Divine Comedy, Eminem, Faithless. (OK, I know, some of them have guitars but they're not what you'd call Rock).

So we asked people, they suggested radio stations. They were shit. We despaired. We've been weaned on a constant diet of new music and diversity (ok, Radio 1's version of diversity which is good enough for us, thank you very much - you fans of Finnish nose-flute Gregorian chant death metal can pipe down now), pampered by an absence of advertising jingles. Eventually someone suggested Triple J (no, I don't know what it is with the triples either).

Now, the music on Triple J is really very good. They play a great range of music, and I've heard some quality Aussie tunes (the Hilltop Hoods, as an example). It's part of ABC (the Australian version of the BBC), so there's no adverts. Some of the DJs bore me to tears, but I can live with that. The only problem is one that makes me feel like an old git.

It's the swearing. Apparently, swearing is fine on Triple J. They don't mind it at all. No editing out rude words, no mangling of songs just because someone says "Shit". Quite refreshing. Not so good for the listening to the radio in the car with the kids in the back, or at home.
"Daddy, what did that man mean when he sang about John Howard knowing the taste of George's dick?"
"Spotted dick, son. It's a pudding with raisins in it."

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