splish splash

At some point when I was a kid I encountered the idea of a waterproof radio that could be used in the shower. I’m sure I first saw it on a film or a TV show, but I thought the idea was fantastic. Imagine, being able to shower and listen to music! I’ve always had a determination that I would get one.

Yet it was only this week I attained the goal. I went to my local Lidl, and purchased a shower radio for the princely sum of €7.99.

You know what, it was awesome having a shower and listening to the radio. I left it on as I went through the rest of my daily ablutions, and I got the useful warning from the local weather forecast that I could expect downpours later in the day. This small purchase made me happy in a simple and practical way. Martin commented: “If only all life’s ambitions could cost so little.”

It also happens that I’ve been listening to the new West of Ireland station i102-104fm lately, and enjoying it. The station has a focus on a young audience, so it doesn’t play any tune that’s pre-1990, but that’s okay. I have an extensive library of music for when I want the old skool trax. What’s great fun about i102-104fm are the local accents, the madcap surreal humour that’s a signature of the West of Ireland, the energy of the DJs, and the audience participation (by text and email).

TV presenter Hector Ó h’Eochagáin and comedian Tommy Tiernan do a show on a Friday afternoon for a few hours that has me wondering when they’ll be taken off the air. It’s hilarious, oddball, and pushes the boundaries of taste like worn knicker elastic. Yet it’s infused with the breakneck energy of the two fast-quipping hosts. Since Hector is a native Irish speaker there’s even cúpla focal thrown in, but in that crazy Irilish mash-up that makes it comprehensible to even those of us with a creaking memory of the Irish language.

In fact, several of the presenters speak Irish – such as Fergal D’Arcy on the “I Go Home” afternoon show, and Barbara Nic Dhonnacha on the biligual evening chart show, “Ar Éileamh”. It’s all done in a fluid and non-intrusive way, and it’s wonderful to hear Béarla agus Gaeilge intermixed. I’m even picking up a few phrases here and there.

After a time, however, if you listen to the programmes back-to-back you are very likely to hear several tunes a lot. Mostly, I put up with that irritation. It does cement my opinions about songs: if I can deal with hearing a tune on a regular basis then it’s got something worthwhile.

For instance, I’ve always been baffled by the intense love that Coldplay inspires in people. The band strikes me as being of a lineage of British music that I never warmed up to: Oasis, Dido, and David Grey for example. Yet, because I’m having to listen to “Viva La Vida” on heavy rotation I have to admit that it’s the kind of uplifting number that tends to get your foot tapping against its will.

Just don’t pay too close attention to the lyrics, because I did and now my foot won’t tap anymore. It appears to be about the death of empire and tyranny until you listen to the triumphal Christian messianic tone of the chorus. Having a quick scan of some reviews of the album I see I’m not the only who has noticed the mixed messages in the band’s latest offering.

I’ve no problem with songs that are unabashedly pop entertainment. In fact, I love boppy numbers that you sing along to in your car, or in the kitchen as you’ve making dinner. So, come on Coldplay, just ‘fess up. You don’t really have that much depth, do you? That’s fine, just drop the pretensions, and deliver the melodies.