Sunday demands good radio. And it’s strange because though you’d think that anyone could tell you what kind of atmosphere you’d expect at this lazing hour – it turns out, for entertainers it’s hard to pull off well.
You want what snooker does for telly. You want to be entertained but not overawed, engaged and drawn in but able to float around and avoid actually doing any brainjogging. It’s complicated stuff.
Which is why I’d like to use this first post of the year to tip my cap to a man who got it spot on. I’ve heard it said that popstars make for shoddy presenters – all ego, no warmth – and I’d agree with that. But Elbow’s Guy Garvey is different, he’s a bloke you want to have brew with and listen to his records.
Recording his show in his house in Manchester is a nice touch – quite possibly more for convenience sake, but the show has that homeliness about it: it’s familiar, it’s quirky and it’s never in your face.
This week Garvey was digging out some of his favourite records featuring female vocalists and it was a delicate mix, he avoided weighing the show with too many folksy numbers, but brought out some gorgeous tracks from the likes of Headless Heroes, Joanna Newsom and Joelie Holland (the last one was new to me and I loved it).
Since 6Music was threatened with closure it’s rather perversely come into its own. What it does well, and what a lot of listeners I think came back to was a willingness to have shows that had character. Ask a lot of music-lovers of a certain age where they come across the music they love and they might well say Bob Harris or John Peel. Garvey is clearly different, but what they all have done well is bring honesty and enthusiasm to a music show and they do it effortlessly, without eclipsing the music.
Anyone who caught Garvey’s show about Mancunian music a couple of months back will know that Garvey’s roots, both musically and geographically are a big part of his appeal. See, I’m a soft southerner and I’m still impressed.
I’d like to add (before you start to this is going to be one long 6music love in) that this being my first post, I wanted to start on a positive note. I want to spread the praise and tear to bits the unworthy in equal measure, but starting with Garvey’s Finest Hour makes sense to me because, at least as far as music-based radio shows go, it’s a fine way to spend a couple of hours on a Sunday.
Guy Garvey’s Finest Hour is on 6Music 10-12pm on Sundays. Also available on the BBC iPlayer, in case you’re getting your haircut or something.