Finger on the pulse

Jen and I are off work this week and next. The other day, we found ourselves in what I still insist on calling a record shop. Have you noticed how little music they sell in record shops these days? It's all computer games and DVDs. Music is dead. I blame Steve Jobs.

Anyway, when I'm working, I spend about three hours a day commuting in my car. When you spend that much time in a car, the delights of radio soon begin to wear a bit thin. On my way into work, my main listening choice is between Sarah 'Tory Girl' Kennedy on Radio 2, and the Today Programme with the unbearable John Humphrys on Radio 4. Which is why, a few years ago, I bought an iPod. Thank you, Steve Jobs!

With an iPod in your car, you have the best music radio station in the world. Put the thing into shuffle mode, and you can listen to non-stop music entirely matching your own taste. Eat my iPod's shorts, Radio 1!

But, with an iPod in your car, you also have the best talk radio station in the world, courtesy of the podcast. Thank you, Dave Winer! Over the last three or four years, I have become totally addicted to podcasts, be they ordinary BBC radio programmes available for downloading after the event, or programmes put together especially for the internet by talented amateurs. Thank you, Steve Gillmor! (Vanity feed still in good working order, Steve?)

BUT… What with having access to the best music station and the best talk radio station in the world on my iPod, I hardly ever need to listen to traditional radio any more. Buggles were wrong: it wasn't video that killed the radio star; it was the podcast.

On the whole, this is fine, but it does mean that I no longer have my finger on the pulse when it comes to modern-day pop crooners.

Which is why, when I was in the record shop the other day and heard a rather fabulous new tune, I hadn't a baldy clue who it was. Too embarrassed to ask the trendy, young whippersnapper behind the till, I scribbled down a couple of the lyrics for Googling later. It turns out that the song has been played to death on the radio and has been the UK number one for several weeks. Thank you, Duffy:

Perhaps music isn't quite so dead after all.

Richard Carter

A fat, bearded chap with a Charles Darwin fixation.


  1. Interesting isn't it - this role reversal thing. When did male vocalists surrounding by dancing females to give them a bit visual attraction stop being the main form of promotion?

    Bet you didn't watch the blokes dancing .....

  2. Actually, yes I did. They're not a patch on my dancing. As Jen will happily testify, I've developed quite an impressive routine to accompany this Duffy song. It's wonderful to have natural rhythm.

  3. You are not alone in this pursuit of podcasts. I've had a very similar experience. Why not post a list of those which you enjoy?

    My reasons may have been slightly different, I quite like R4 but I never seem to be listening when my favourite shows are on, R1 is for children these days, R2 too intermittent, great in the evenings (Radcliffe) appalling in the day.

    I want to get BBCs splendid "listen again" to work on my ipod, I had a work around a few years ago but it stopped working. There must be a way...

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *