In Defense of Radio

We are inundated with media every day in our rich capitalistic Western world: telly, movies, newspapers, podcasts, not to mention the dozens of social media websites us millenials depend on. But one often goes unnoticed, relegated to something that you only engage with if you’ve got a really old car. Radio.

Of course, I’m not suggesting we go back to the 1930s, everyone huddling around the radio listening to the news reports and dull ‘entertainment’ shows. But radio should have more of a presence in our life.

Yes, there are annoying DJs shouting about competitions to win a weekend away to Slough, and you can’t escape incessant advertising, and there will inevitably be tens or hundreds of songs you don’t like, played inbetween those you do. But there’s something for everyone. There are rock and indie stations (RIP XFM), with genuinely amazing giveaways and exclusive gigs. There are dance stations, pop stations, even classical if you’re into that. There’s woman’s hour and comedy on Radio 4. There’s everything! Dare I say it, there’s even a wider range than is on TV!

The best thing about radio is the feeling of community. You can text, email, or tweet in to your favourite DJ and hear their response to what you have to say. They might even call you back!  You don’t get that kind of dialogue with television.

My problem is that I don’t have an occasion to listen to the radio. If I’m on my laptop, I’m probably listening to music on youtube, or watching netflix. If I’m working or reading, I get distracted by talky radio. Even at work it’s illegal to play the radio in a restaurant without a license, so it’s a no-go there. I walk to campus and have no reason to commute anywhere. So I end up missing out on the pleasure of tuning in to the radio.

But the issue is deeper than that. We feel we need to be doing something all the time, we can’t just sit down, close our eyes, and listen. But try it – it’s so relaxing! In our busy busy world, this simple activity is a joy.


Music makes the world go round

Hello and welcome to my new blog! Essentially I’m writing this because I have too many thoughts. Not about any deep depressing stuff, don’t worry. Mainly about music, comedy, and politics. These are the things that go round my head every day.

So why have I started this blog today? Because it’s Christmas eve!!! It’s got me thinking about the year that’s just gone, and especially about the best entertainment of the year.

Enough introduction. Let’s start. The five best albums of 2015.


Florence and the Machine – How Big How Blue How Beautiful


When Flo released the album, you could almost hear a sigh of relief echoing across the country. “Ahhh,” it said, “she’s done it again!” And indeed she has. It is simultaneously haunting and uplifting, weepy and triumphant, and ultimately gorgeous all the way through. Bonus tip: watch her ‘Odyssey’ of music videos on youtube. Thank me later.


Spector – Moth Boys


Spector’s first album included not one belter of a song, nor two or three, but twelve, so it was naturally a hard act to follow. But they did it. They made an album where you want to sing along to every verse, every word, every breath. It made you want to see them live, more than anything, to be dancing/moshing along to the Fred’s dulcet, and remarkable deep, tones. Spector deserve so much more recognition.


Sufjan Stevens – Carrie and Lowell


He’s back, and he’s more depressing than ever. Sufjan’s music never fails to be beautiful, and despite its tacit calmness, each song grabs your attention in a way you’d never imagine. The background to the album is as sad as you’d guess from the lyrics: it’s all about his mum dying. By the time you reach the title song, you just want to reach into the stereo and give Sufjan a big ol’ hug.

The Front Bottoms – Back On Top


This is my favourite. My honourable mention. My claim to indie fame. TFB are gloriously pop punk, ideal for screaming at the top of your lungs and prancing around your room when your housemates are out. Having signed to indie rock label Fueled By Ramen (spearheaded by none other than Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy), some fans thought TFB had gone too produced, and had lost the roughness and genuineness of the last records. But this just means they sound better. ‘West Virginia’ is almost good, musically, compared to the rasping vocals and shoddy strumming of their earlier stuff. They’ve done what all pop punk bands fear and have grown up, and are no worse off for it.

James Bay – Chaos and the Calm


Bay duped the indie world through his first single ‘Hold Back The River’, which didn’t sound out of place on the radio rock shows. But the rest of the album is curiously pop, almost mum-baiting. But it’s no less brilliant for that.