End of an era…

Last Monday morning, my vicar school alarm went off for the first time in nearly three months and, as I usually do when my phone alarm goes off, I fumbled under my pillow to turn off the alarm and turn on the radio. It wasn’t until I heard the voice emanating from the handset that I remembered what had occurred the previous week.

You see, the thing is that, officially, I’m now too old to listen to Radio 1. Apparently the station’s controllers no longer want people my age and older listening, hence their decision to drop Chris Moyles from the breakfast show. When their final show finished just over a week ago, it really was the end of an era.

Back in my student days, I had no TV in my room and spent my days studying to the sound of the Radio 1 playlist. In those ancient days, Moyles & Co. had the late afternoon slot, which began around the time that I’d awake from my usual mid-afternoon nap. [I was an arts student with 6-8 hours of timetabled classes a week, a mid-afternoon nap was easily accomplished. I’d usually fall asleep mid-way through Mark & Lard’s show and awake around 3pm when the next show began.] By the time they moved to the breakfast slot, I was a post-grad student and their 8 and a half year tenure saw me through my MA, unemployment, four jobs, a year of vicar school and hundreds of commutes. My friends and I have quite literally grown up while listening to their show.

I know opinions are divided on Moyles. (My brother-in-law loathed the show with a passion and my sister had to do some serious persuading to get it on the car radio on that final morning.) Perhaps as a pseudo-intellectual I should have been listening to Radio 4? Or, being the music lover that I am, 6 Music? Or, being the lover of cheese that I am, even Radio 2? But I loved the eclectic nature of the Chris Moyles Show – the lack of music; the reality; the comedy; the stupidity; their love of karaoke; the ridiculous parodies of chart hits; the personalities…heck, it was even a conversation on the show that pushed me into my hunt for disused London stations. I loved the cheesy songs that began every morning and I adored the fact that one morning when it had snowed he played classical music and encouraged people to open their curtains, before mentioning that there was snow on the ground – beautiful.

For the final 14 shows, I listened with the intensity of someone determined to capture every last moment with an old friend about to leave the country. Their coinciding with my late summer essay crisis was a bonus – iPlayering missed shows provided a welcome soundtrack to my writing, and showing the very last shows on the red button prompted me out of my bed at 6.30am to watch and get on with writing simultaneously.

Team Grimmy on the charm offensive at the Radio 1 offices.

But come this Monday morning, things will change completely. Team Grimmy will take to the airwaves and I doubt I’ll cope with the change. My mornings may become a lot quieter as I struggle to find a decent replacement. A two-week holiday immediately prior to the final shows gave us fans an opportunity to search for an alternative, but I found little that worked. The Today Programme is just too angry for my morning routine and I just refuse to succumb to Radio 2 – believing it to be a slippery slope into middle aged-ness.

However, all is not doom and gloom. There are a few lights in the morning darkness…

1) The YouTube archive of happy memories. My personal favourites would include Carrie shouting at her ex from the umpire’s chair on Centre Court and Chris discovering his 2012 birthday surprise. Oh, and McFly’s tribute to many a year of McFly days (Fridays, for the uninitiated, on which their song Star Girl would be played at 8.05am every single week) will be treasured:

2. The podcast archive. I have them all going back to my iPod acquisition in early 2008, but there are ones dating back to 2005 (I think) and chrismoyles.net apparently has them all. 
3. Talking of podcasts, if you’re really desperate you can subscribe to a podcast that releases an archive Chris Moyles show every week day, beginning in 2004. You could almost pretend that it was live – as long as you’re ok with living in a world where George W. Bush was about to be re-elected President…
But I suppose, eventually, we’re all going to have to move on. It was great while it lasted, but perhaps it’s time to be a proper adult in the morning? Maybe this will propel me into a proper quiet time + pilates routine before breakfast? Perhaps I’ll get up even earlier than usual? 
Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps…

A red and worthy Friday of fun

It’s an important date in the British calendar today. Every two years the British population are treated to a wealth of comedic events in aid of a terrifically good cause. Comic Relief culminates in a Friday night telethon that, without fail, contains many memorable moments. Sadly, I’ll be missing tonight’s as I’ve got a date to go dancing, but this does rather appropriately link to my first comedic highlight…

A couple of year’s ago the concept of Let’s Dance for Comic Relief was introduced, in which various celebrities performed dance routines in competition with each other – the prize being performing on the all-important Friday. Without a doubt, the 2009 victor performed an awesome routine. Robert Webb (who’s generally amusing anyway) performed What a Feeling from Flashdance and looked better in a leotard than most women would:

Red Nose Days were always a highlight of my childhood – anything that got us a non-uniform day at school and was an excuse for high-jinks is a good thing in my book. One of my earliest memories is from 1989, when French & Saunders (plus Kathy Burke) joined Bananarama in a cover of Help! [you’ll be pleased to hear that it resulted in weeks of me playing my Dad’s Beatles LPs]. Classic comediennes, classic 80’s pop and a classic tune…

Dawn French is also responsible for another highlight, one in which half the population turned green-eyed with envy. The people of Britain raised £1 million and she got to kiss Hugh Grant (this was in the mid-90s when he was still foppishly lovely). Continuing the kissing theme, there was also the lovely moment two years ago when Davina McCall got to lock lips with the luscious David Tennant. (I’m jealous of this too, but I at least know someone who looks a little bit like Tennant – though Welsh – who I certainly wouldn’t say no…)

If you’re at a loose end this afternoon, or over the weekend, you could pass quite a considerable amount of time delving into the Comic Relief archives on YouTube. Or, catch up on the marathon broadcast Chris Moyles has been undertaking on Radio 1 – there’s 50 hours of radio to listen to over the next 7 days. (I’m really disappointed that it coincided with two days when I wasn’t desk bound and therefore missed out on a lot of it.) Definitely an impressive feat and, even from the snatches I’ve caught, quite hilarious.

Do not pass this Friday Fun by

Firstly, it’s Friday, take a deep breath and repeat to yourself “the weekend is nearly here, the weekend is nearly here”. If that doesn’t calm you down, watch this – repeatedly – and all will be serene:

If your week’s been rather stressful (for example, last night saw me actually yelling at an e-mail), or you have a tendency to make an idiot of yourself on a night out, just remind yourself that there chances are it won’t be as embarrassing an experience as Dominc Cooper & Rosamund Pike had at the BAFTA’s on Sunday…

Thanks to church, I missed the entire BAFTA experience, which is sad – I just wish I knew someone with Sky who’d be up for watching the Oscars next weekend. Yes, it means staying up on a Sunday night which isn’t particular sensible and yes, they’re not really all they’re cracked up to be, but I do love a good awards ceremony. My sister and I share a rather morbid affection for the ‘people who died this year’ segment, without fail surprised that someone’s death had passed us by and that someone we thought long-dead had only actually passed away in the last year.

As it’s Friday, you’ll also be in need of a musical gem (which does not, for once, refer to a ‘musical’) that has rhythm, gospel harmonies and rap. Oh, and God – he’s important, right? This was played – quite out of the blue and to my immense delight – by Chris Moyles on Radio 1 this Tuesday. I danced around my room like a mad thing and was gleefully happy for a good hour or so afterwards:

You might be surprised to hear that I know all the words to this – including the rap – plus harmonies and appropriate choreography (or inappropriate at moments). All thanks to my years in a Christian youth choir with a diverse repertoire for which I’m immensely thankful. In fact, this song was particularly special as our version segued into Amy Grant’s That’s What Love is For – goodness only knows why, but it was widely regarded as a favourite.

With all these gems (and I use the term loosely), you may be interested in thanking me. If that’s the case, don’t leave me a comment – send me a card, this card to be precise:

Oh, and don’t forget Tom Hanks is a Lot of Animals

Scary revelation

Had a very scary moment this morning, whilst lying in bed (half way between asleep and awake & having pressed snooze for the 4th time), listening to Radio 1. There’s a competition at the moment to win tickets to Star Wars, with questions that really only true Star Wars nerds should be able to answer. This morning’s asked which character spoke the first line in Episode 4, and for some reason, despite being barely awake, I came up with the right answer. (C3PO in case you wanted to know!)

Truly horrifying as until 2 years ago I’d never watched them. Well, apart from Episode 2, which I watched the night it came out with a group of die-hard fans in a cinema full of people who I think would’ve lynched me had they known I was a star wars virgin (was about to write a cutting remark, but it would be mean so I’ll leave it to your imagination).


Two of my closest friends love Star Wars utterly, even going as far as owning Star Wars monopoly & all the tie-in books (altogether: “looooooooosers”!) but they insisted that I watch them. Actually, not just watch them, but receive a detailed education in the ways of Star Wars and why they’re so important. And it seems that they’ve succeeded. I’m not a Star Wars geek, and wouldn’t generally choose to watch any of the films on my own, but obviously they’ve penetrated my consciousness on a deep level – to the extent that I can answer obscure questions in my sleep. It’s a scary, scary place to be.

Maybe it wasn’t such an obscure question, but I was just shocked that I knew the answer. Detailed knowledge of Friends and Dawsons Creek I may have, but Star Wars?? Although to finish in true Star Wars style: “you have learned much you padawan, but you are not a jedi yet…”