A couple of weeks ago I had to undertake a few long car journeys, and took the opportunity to keep tabs on the Nation's Favourite (i.e. BBC Radio 2) as I did so. A curious station, its eclectic output in the evenings can accommodate Paul Jones, Mark Radcliffe, Desmond Carrington, The Organist Entertains ("I bet he does" says the missus), Charles Hazelwood and Matthew Wright. However, during the day, mediocrity reigns supreme. And unfortunately I was driving during the day.
Which is why I was subjected to Steve Wright, the Lowest Common Denominator in British radio. It just so happened that the Kaiser Chiefs new single is on "heavy rotation" as they say. Now I'm not going to suggest that they're going to save the music industry (though the Mark Ronson-produced Never Miss A Beat is a perfectly serviceable blend of Glitter Band stomp and new wave blankness à la The Regents). Equally, Ricky Wilson's lyrics are not going to give Andrew Motion any sleepless nights. Despite this, the single contains a few witty observations, succinctly expressed, chiefly the line What do you want for tea?/ I want crisps. Unfortunately, the subtlety of the line eluded Wright, who, chortling after playing it, reprised the line as What do you want for your tea?/ I want a packet of crisps, the dumb insolence squeezed out and all sense of metre and scansion excised.
The next day the moronic and dull Dermot O'Leary also played the single and remarked on the same line. It is pretty good. But, as usual, O'Dreary missed the point by a country mile, mangling it to What do you want for dinner?/ I want crisps. Dermot, you twunt, the whole point is that the characters being portrayed wouldn't have dinner like some BBC ponce on expenses. They'd have tea. Dinner's what you have at lunchtime. Give me strength.
Okay, like I said, it's not Auden, and maybe I shouldn't get so het up about it. I'm sure Wilson doesn't care (and actually, now I think about it, doesn't their drummer write all the songs?). But it's rather like listening to people paraphrasing Monty Python. As all comedy aficionados know, you've got to get the words exactly right, otherwise it's not funny. Same with a David Mamet play. There's no room for improvising.
OK, sermon over, and I've learned my lesson- avoid daytime Radio 2 if you've got half a brain. In the meantime, here's the video. And yes, Chris Cunningham should be calling his lawyers.