Friday, October 24, 2014

Hating Mike Read

It isn't the fact that the controversial UKIP calypso song might be racist which offends me, nor is it the idea of an anti-immigration party co-opting a musical form brought to the UK by immigrants which makes me despise it.  No, it is the fact that former Radio One DJ Mike Read is behind it which really makes me want to puke.  I could say that I thought he'd plumbed the depths when he did that rap at the Tory party conference a few years ago, but this current affiliation to UKIP shows how wrong I was - he could stoop lower.  But, ultimately, he's entitled to his political opinions, no matter how wrong and crackpot I might think they are.  I could comment on the general shit-ness of his calypso.  But other people have released far worse and far more culturally insensitive tracks.  What it all comes down to is that I have always hated and loathed Mike Read.  I mean really hated him.  I remember him when he was on Radio One - he was pompous, egotistical and generally smarmy.  He acted as if he was some officially appointed arbiter of good taste and morality, imposing his own censorship on the play list.  Despite always affecting an air of superiority toward listeners and fellow DJs, he was always unfailingly obsequious to the 'rock royalty' of the day when they were on his show.

The fact is that I hate him so much that when, some years ago, I heard on the radio that Mike Reid had died, I hoped that they actually meant Mike Read, rather than the comedian, actor and sometime Eastenders star.  Reprehensible, I know.  But I can't help but feel that the late Mike Reid had made a far greater contribution to entertainment that his namesake, who wouldn't have been anywhere near as great a loss.  Whenever people go on about how crap the current line-up of Radio One DJs are, I always refer them back to the early eighties era of the station when the likes of Mike Read, Simon Bates, Noel Edmonds, Steve Wright, Dave Lee Travis and Jimmy Saville still ruled the roost at the station.  Aided and abetted by the likes of Bruno Brookes and Gary Davies, they were truly awful: bumptious, loathesome and talentless - and in the case of Savile and DLT, sex offenders, to boot.  They all seemed to be in the grip of a powerful self delusion whereby they seemed to think that they were doing something far more important that the rest of us mere mortals - spinning records and making inane comments in between them.  Jesus, how I hated them!  The fact that Mile Read, the worst of all of them, has turned out to be some kind of right wing nut job merely serves to justify that hatred.



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