Every couple of weeks I wind up chatting to Russell about radio. Partly that’s because I keep making naive statements like “The future of the web is probably whatever radio did a few years back”, but for the most part it’s because he’s obsessed with it.
A few weeks ago I was singing the praises of the other Russell Davies’ final show on Radio 2, a bloody lovely collection of ‘goodbye’ songs, expertly linked and introduced. On the journey home tonight I’ve had Pete Tong’s tribute show for Tony Wilson from 2007, an outstanding collection of Factory hits. I’ve also had Kieron’s Phonogram playlist on the go at work today. Now that definitely isn’t radio, but it’s felt something close; I’ve been re-reading The Singles Club and I can practically hear Seth Bingo and Silent Girl muttering in the beats between tracks (or, more likely, arguing during the intros).
The link between all these is the curation and framing. I find most radio tedious – waking up to 6music is a miserable invitation to half an hour of yap and poorly sequenced crowd-pleasers – but the bits I do like about radio trend towards the ‘playlist as storytelling’ end of the spectrum. It’s why I found the London Word Festival thing with Phil Jupitus and Tim Wells a couple of years ago so much fun; it was play-listing as performance poetry.