Danny Baker – you either love him or you hate him. The opinion polarising ex-NME receptionist, longtime friend of Elton John, former record shop assistant and cohort of Mark ‘Sniffin Glue’ Perry is now a must listen on his Radio 5 Live podcast by both the key members of the Rip It Up team. Sometimes irritating, always magisterially self-righteous and at times pompous to the point of impending explosion, Baker nonetheless has the Talk Radio nailed. You have only got to witness the audience participation challenges he sets at the start of every show – last week’s included ‘Times when you underestimated your opponents’, which produced a terrific story from some chap whose amateur league football team [all the best stories on Baker’s show involve non league football, or animals] grudgingly agreed to have a kick about with a bunch of 9-year-olds whilst waiting for their real opposition to show up, only to be hammered 9-0 by the scruffy kids.
And so it is that, when Baker’s self-focus becomes too much to bear, I’m increasingly reaching for the new series of the Weasel Radio podcast, a show recorded via Skype by long-time sport radio guy and some time Screeching Weasel manager, Owen Murphy and the irascible Ben Weasel. Recently back on the air again after a long lay-off, the shows have been increasingly fascinating to me due to their intense, irritable and yet somehow loving exchanges between the long suffering Owen and the always amusing Weasel. I’ve been enjoying their hopeless amateurism, the long silences, lost songs and fallings out on air that in a strange way take me back to the days of Peel and Walters, although at least those two were always civil to one another on the face of it, at least.
Subjects thus far dispensed with have included Guns n Roses, with an hilarious skit on their damaged drummer, Steven Adler, the durability of Avril Lavingne’s teenage girl punk-pop, and the vexing subject of the media’s treatment of foul language on air. With occasional interludes by Owen’s dog, Hoover, and frankly crap choices of music that ALWAYS incur Weasel’s wrath, it makes for compelling listening.
And it turns out it’s not just Weasel himself who gets angry at the choice of music that Owen inflicts upon us. Rip It Up stalwart Hud was so moved by the appearance of a Keane song on the show back in 2008 that he smashed his radio up, and then emailed in to complain. And his message actually got read out on the show, a clip of which we’re trying to find. Here’s his complaint email:
Weasel Radio – weekly Podcast.