On british humor, rock and the fact that they all meld so well

One of my favorite activities when working is to listen to music, or even better, a smashing radio show from the UK called the Geoff Show. Virgin Radio UK have a live webcast of all their shows available around the world, and I must say they do quality programming... Consider a list of activities which this 3 hour show spans :)

Regular features of the show include:

  • The Phone In: listeners telephone the station with their ideas, views and experiences concerning a choice of 101 different topics from the website.
  • Porting Controversy: a humourous, self-opinionated, debate against widely held beliefs by Annabel Port, such as 'the Mona Lisa is a good piece of artwork' and 'reading is fun'.
  • Drunk versus Stoned: a quiz in which someone who has been drinking alcohol competes with another listener who has been smoking cannabis in order to win a menial prize.
  • The Dirty Book at Bedtime: an erotic story read by Annabel Port
Annabel Port of course, is the fantastically hot DJ who co-hosts the show with Geoff Lloyd, and a picture of whom got me listening to the show in the first place. Her voice is rather melliflous, and if you notice the last activity of the show ...

But whats interesting is that the music scene in the UK is still dominated by genres which have almost faded out in most parts of the US. All the shows on Virgin, for example are liberally sprinkled with genuinely good Indie bands or the golden oldies - specifically people like Morrissey, The Smiths, The Killers, Oasis, and whathaveyou. Now most people who know me know my penchance for such music - to the extent of having listened to some of them on constant repeat - specifically a song called 'Strange Powers' by the Magnetic Fields. Brilliant song, I highly recommend it. (courtsey - TheHuang).

It was thus highly unsurprising to suddenly come across a bunch of music festivals happening almost every month all around the UK - specfically at Wembley, Leeds and other such, which have top bands headlining - I don't mean top in terms of their popularity, because a large number have regionalistic fan bases, and exceptionally good music. The Proclaimers, who shot to fame with their song '500 miles' are on too. Looking at the two brothers who lead the band - bespectacled, geeky hairstyles, 70s clothes replete with checked shirts and short trousers, leather shoes and flaring scarves, a "wee ye highland lass" accent - you wouldn't think they would be a rock phenomenon. Oh well.

Coming to humor heard very often on Brit channels - here's a small sample:

Knock, knock.

Who's there?

Interrupting Cow.



I don't know about you, but I cried lauging. Seriously. I'm not even sure if its that funny, buts its just so typically knee-jerkfully-british, that - well, it bests even the most stoic of us.. :) Of course, radio ads on the channel are a totally different story, which in my opinion, warrants an entire blog entry all by itself. Looks like I've got material lined up for the next instance hehe.

Anyway, all this got me wondering about the british music scene, and how its still the home to most of the best selling acts out there. Is there some magical ingredient which exists in the british isles that is missing from the rest of the world?

Consider, yet again -
The Kaiser Chiefs - Scotland, Glasgow
Belle and Sebastain - Scotland
The Smiths - Britain
Franz Ferdinand - Scotland
OMD - Britain
Depeche Mode - Britain
The Cure - Britain

And I've just spanned about 20 years of rock history there..

Sure funk is good, and the Black Eyed Peas have their fans jumping over backwards whenver they perform. Ludacris can rap his heart out, and incite cheers and applause from all sorts of crowds, as I noticed at his performance at Yale a couple of months ago. Of course, half the people there had no idea who he was, but welcomed the opportunity to randomly move around campus in hooded sweatshirts! But - why haven't there been more of these bands headlining all sorts of shows outside the UK? Should be an interesting thing to look at!