I must say I think the amount of fuss there's been over the Russell Brand/Jonathan Ross obscene calls affair to be bizarre.
We've got a global economy which is tanking, we're on the verge of an American Presidential election which is likely to see the first African-American elected to the office, and there are continuing problems in Iraq and Afghanistan and yet the top story on all the news channels is that a couple of performers, who are known for being a bit risque and alternative, did something a bit risque and alternative?
Although I do listen to Radio 2, I rarely listen to either Ross or Brand - their style of broadcasting isn't my cup of tea. I therefore have no idea how bad the obscene calls to Andrew Sachs were. And nor do I greatly care. Yes, I suspect it probably did breach BBC guidelines on taste and decency, but I'm astounded that 10,000 people considered it a good use of their time to phone in and complain. Do all of them actually listen to Russell Brand's programme? If so, then surely they know what it's like. Or are they just Daily Mail readers responding to that rag's hatred of the Beeb? It seems nothing much has changed since the mid-1980s when the sight of bare buttocks in The Singing Detective prompted the Mail's fury and a campaign against the Beeb by right-wing Tory MPs.
But this episode has served one useful purpose, which is to remind us just how shallow and opportunistic both Gordon Brown and David Cameron are. Both of them have weighed into the row, even though I suspect neither actually heard the programme. But neither can let a bandwagon - or in this case a Brandwagon - pass by without jumping on the back of it. It's a good job that neither's got anything important to do like, ooh, managing an economy which is heading into recession or providing a clear alternative to the Government's policies.*
I've got a great idea. I'm going to phone up Brown and Cameron and call them both complete tossers and then get Radio 2 to broadcast it. Yes, it would probably get the BBC into more hot water, but at least it has the virtue of being absolutely true.
* At least, that's what Cameron should be doing as Leader of the Opposition, even though he hasn't managed it yet.
A walk through Montpelier, Bristol
5 months ago