Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Learning to like Danny Baker

Read an interview with Danny Baker today. That’s something I do every now and again and, when I do, I always think, “oh yes, Danny Baker is a good guy, isn’t he?”, with some degree of surprise. I think this, in this surprised way, because for a time when I was a younger I had characterised Danny Baker as a bit of an arsehole – or at least someone who was friends with someone I considered an arsehole (Chris Evans) and who seemed to me to represent a very dreary 90s male stereotype.

I’ve heard lots over the years about how his radio shows are micro-masterpieces and I’ve read a few articles by him or about him which have backed up the notion that I was mistaken about him, but on the occasions when I’ve tried to engage with him as a result, I’ve not got very far. The zoo format and music bed on his radio show I find not only aggravating but quite stressful; over the years I’ve appreciated quiet and considered TV and radio more and more, and the constant noise and frequent interjections set my teeth on edge.

But having read today’s interview (here) I again decided to tune in, and downloaded a recent episode of his show to my mobile phone to listen to at lunch. Almost immediately, walking out through Chichester on a sunny afternoon, I felt the urge to snap the podcast off – those aforementioned characteristics of the show turning me right off. But I stuck with it and, to some extent, tuned out of the backing music and the matey patter, and began to rather enjoy it. It was more bucolic than I expected, with Baker absolutely delighted to hear a tale from a caller of an overgrown football pitch where the weeds stood as high as the goalposts. He shrieked with pleasure when the same caller described a moment’s pause at a nearby river, when a kingfisher landed on the end of his fishing rod. It’s hard to dislike someone who takes pleasure in such an event.

Might listen to a bit more of the show and see if I can become a fan.

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