A solid start, but Ivan needs more oomph

Eilis O’han­lon

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Living - - GUIDE -

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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