A solid start, but Ivan needs more oomph
IT’S that time of year again when the airwaves are full of men talking about football. I’d be lying if I said I shared their enthusiasm, but it does seem to make them happy, even, or perhaps that should be especially, when they’re complaining.
Wednesday’s Off The Ball featured one text from a Newstalk listener which moaned about the ubiquity of “that Welsh windbag Robbie Savage”, before adding that “he’s annoying, but in a good way”. The footballer was duly up after the break to discuss Ireland’s loss to Georgia the night before. “It was a bad night for Ireland,” he explained. It’s insights such as this which make a life of travelling football punditry so lucrative for its tireless adherents.
Ivan Yates too seems to enter a blissful state of consciousness when chatting to “my old friend Phil ‘Thommo’ Thompson” about the football. The ex-liverpool player has followed Yates to his new home on The Hard Shoulder, which from last Monday occupies the slot once presided over grumpily by The Right Hook.
Ivan is more agreeable. Too much so? Possibly. His interview with Sinn Fein’s Mary Lou Mcdonald on that first programme was a bit too chummy and comfortable. His chat with Pantibliss about the upcoming plebiscite on same sex marriage in Australia on Wednesday was equally safe. Yates will need more oomph and edge than he demonstrated in his first week, and I did find myself wondering if he’s better on a daily basis with a foil such as Chris Donoghue from the old Breakfast days to work against; but it’s early days. Not sure about that name, though. The Hard Shoulder ticks the requisite road theme (because it’s drivetime, geddit?), but has unfortunate connotations of being stranded, stuck, rather than in motion.
It would be equally churlish not to welcome John Kelly back to The Mystery Train, his legendary RTE Radio One music show now going out on Lyric FM after an 11-year hiatus. It’s a brilliant, unique, eclectic programme, but it does drive another nail in the coffin of classical music radio in Ireland. Two more hours of the evening have now been lost to rock and jazz. Some of Kelly’s comments about his previous afternoon show, The John Kelly Ensemble, also suggest that his time there was some sort of penance, rather than an evolution. That’s great for him, but what about listeners who actually don’t want to hear Radiohead or The Rolling Stones? Lyric is increasingly a no go zone for us.
Finally, Sunday’s Mooney Goes Wild risked Watch provokingIT NOW thousands of listeners into switchingHardy Bucksoff by is devotingon the RTE the programmeuntil to rats. Those who stayed were treated to descriptionsSix Nations of Rugbythe effectis on 3Playerthese “wantonuntil killers” December have 16; on the bird population of the Saltee Simply Islands, Nigella as is theyon BBC use iplayer their - privilegedcurrently not position, available withoutto viewers naturalin Ireland. predators to keep their numbers in check, to leave “thousands of dead chicks with their wings chewed off, legs chewed off, heads chewed off ”. Nice.
The one refuge is Tory Island, which is rat-free as a result, according to local legend, of holy clay sanctified by St Columba 1,500 years ago. Oh to be in Tory now that the rodent season’s here.
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