Joe’s Crow Country

WHEN looking for something to listen to on the radio, I go through the same pattern every weekday morning.

I wake up at about 8am, and flick on the radio from my bed. It’s a better option that television at that time of the day because my eyes aren’t ready to deal with Adrian Chiles.

It’s usually the blokey banter of Chris Moyles and ‘Comedy’ Dave (after years of on-off listing to Comedy Dave, I genuinely still don’t know if it’s an ironic nickname) that first greets me.

The recapping of last night’s television and tabloid tales these two ‘everymen’ and their team is a sprightly, but rather unfulfilling option. The snob (and the journalist) in me then rises, and says I should be eager for the day’s breaking news.

So, when I get into the car, I flick to Radio 5live for news, sport and interviews. My problem here, which is admittedly down to me, is that I am not interested in enough of what they are talking about.

The Pope’s visit to the UK, although a momentous occasion for so many, dominated the station’s output for several days,And with the extensive coverage of Andrew Flintoff’s retirement from cricket, what’s it going to be like when he eventually goes to that great pavilion in the sky??

Talksport is my next port-of-call. I’m looking for a comprehensive review of the last night’s action, with key players and journalists giving original and insightful opinions.

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Instead, I get an ex-cricketer (Ronnie Irani) and a geriatric pundit (Alan Brazil), arguing the toss about a few rehashed footballing topics. It usually involves something like foreigners in the English game, dangerous tackling or dry debates about the standard of Scottish football.

The Talksport format is simple. One presenter will put forward his argument, and the other will invariably disagree. Usually, a few listeners will be so enraged by one of the opinions expressed, ring in, and shout a bit. How two sport ‘experts’ never share the same opinion amazes me so much that I have to switch over, and give the monotonous Absolute Radio a shot.

Repetition is the name of the game here. They offer a ‘no-repeat guarantee’ for music between 9.30am and 5pm, and they stick by it, but this just means the same set of songs are repeated the next day between said time period. Middle-of-the-road rock (Brian Adams, U2) combine with ghastly adverts to produce an experience that actually makes the listener less intelligent.

By the time I get into work I have given up and plugged in my iPod. I look forward to the same cycle occurring the tomorrow.

I was lucky enough to interview Robin Plummer last week, a Royston man who was kept as a hostage in Libya for nine months in 1984.

It was great to be able to try and gain an insight into the situation he was in, especially as I had no previous knowledge.

Apart from gaining the chronology of the story I tried to keep questions fresh, and avoided asking how he felt and what he was thinking. To my surprise, I even asked him a question he said he had never been asked before.

“What is it about you that meant you didn’t go insane while you were in solitary confinement for ten weeks?” I said.

After pondering the question for a moment, he said: “I became fluent on the saxophone. I learnt several songs in my head and played with an imaginary instrument.”

When I asked if the hours of practice transformed over onto an actual saxophone, he confirmed that it didn’t.