Saturday, November 11, 2006

Little things I loathe No. 4: Bob Harris

Before I get to Bob, and I don't actually loathe him per se, let me put my cards on the table. The Private Eye headline when John Peel died - "Man who played records on the wireless dies: a nation mourns" did strike a chord with me. I liked Peel, but couldn't see why he had such a godlike status among the public. It seems to me that being a radio DJ, or reading the news, or commmentating on football are easy and undemanding jobs for anyone with a modicum of articulacy and common sense. I'm certainly not persuaded by those who claim, as I seem to recall Huw Edwards doing, that reading an autocue is a really pressurised job - they should try working down a pit.
So it seems to me that Bob has an enviably cushy job - he plays records he likes, gets free tickets to gigs, goes off to festivals at the public expense, and is paid a lot more than you and me for his trouble. What I find really objectionable is his inability to complete a sentence without uttering the two most frequently used words in his vocabulary: "Bob" and "Harris". Typically, you tune in and you hear: "That was some fantastically obscure American woman, who I met when on a BBC jaunt to Austin Texas here on the Bob Harris show with me, Bob Harris. Coming up later on the Bob Harris show, some ancient T-Rex track and some more obscure Americana. Check the playlist on bbc dot co dot uk slash bob harris and don't forget to tune into Bob Harris Country next week when I'll be meeting some grizzled country veteran shortly before his imminent death. I'm Bob Harris. George from Nether Stowey writes "Dear Bob..."
- and so it goes on. Quite often, I note that the letters he reads out are obviously new to him: people say "Bob, could you play some Counting Crows at about 12.30 as I'll be driving home from Milton Keynes after the Southern Region Arm-Wrestling championships?" and Bob will say- "Oh sorry, it's 1.30 now, a bit late with that one, and we haven't any Counting Crows tonight, so here's Natalie Merchant on the Bob Harris show..." I mean, how difficult is it to prepare? And why does he have to read out the entire request, including the bit with his name? Do you think he really thinks he's important?

2 comments:

Anglepoise said...

I'd never seen Whisperin' Bob that way before. I'm listening to the repeat facility, and now I'm just waiting for him to say his own name....I was more concerned that his kind of show would be taken from us in favour of Russell Brand shouting about pants. He does have scary teeth though, has he no mirror? They look so much like what my dad would call 'National 'ealth gnoshers'.

Rob Spence said...

Just after reading your reply, I heard a trailer for a Radio 2 programme, presented by the toothsome one. He concluded, unnecessarily, ..."with me, Bob Harris."