Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Blame it on the Boogie - the search for a new breakfast show

As many of you know, I like a good bit of trash - I watch more reality tv than is good for me and I have been known to spend my hard earned cash, even during the credit crunch, on rubbish magazines which do not increase my intellectual ability. And you can tell, too - my mental arithmetic when adding up prices at the school book fair both today and yesterday was shockingly bad.

My mornings are usually spent waking up to Good Morning Scotland, then watching BBC Breakfast, especially when the utterly wonderful won't hear a word against Bill Turnbull is on. On my drive to work, between around 8:50 and 9:30, however, I have been a huge fan of Forth One's Boogie in the Morning breakfast show.

At its best, this show made the journey to work a pleasure. I would arrive in the office so crammed full of endorphins that I was just the epitomy of loveliness to everyone (heavens, I hope my colleagues aren't reading this). The interraction between DJ Boogie (real name Andrew Bouglas) and his then team of Jill McLaren and "Dingo" Dave Konov was the best I'd heard since the days of Steve Wright in the Afternoon and Simon Mayo and the Breakfast Crew on Radio One in the early 90s.

Basically at some point on my journey to work, you could guarantee I would laugh out loud. Some of the old classic Boogie, Jill and Dingo stuff is here.

Then, around a month ago, the cold chill of Winter set in. With hardly any notice, Jill was sent packing from the show, Dingo was banished to be producer, never to be heard from again and Arlene Stuart was shipped in from Forth 2 to take over.

I hated it from the start. Arlene is not a bad person and I'm sure she's a very accomplished broadcaster, but I just don't think she fits into this genre. She's the woman who's advising us how to cope with the Credit Crunch, or reading the news, she's much more GMS than Boogie. Coupled with that is the fact that she and Boogie have absolutely zero on-air chemistry. They have even had to re-admit Dingo Dave to the fold to try to get the show going.

Basically the show seems as if it's been completely sterilised. I have barely laughed since the changeover happened and never out loud. The riotous, warm and jovial atmosphere has gone.

Anyway, it got from bad to worse this week. They have been going on about Page 3 of the Sun and in particular taking the mickey out of the tabloid headlines that are attributed to her. Now, the first ever uni debate I attended was "This House would ban Page 3." We had even got Clare Short to come up. It was the first real time I had been confronted with feminism and thought about the issue behind this degrading and demeaning treatment of women. So, I wasn't particularly pleased to hear Page 3 talked about as if it were something socially acceptable.

Then, today, to put the icing on the cake, they started talking about David Duchovny's exit from rehab after 6 weeks of therapy for sex addiction and speculated as to what form the treatment might take. Boogie suggested that he might be shown photos of ugly women to put him off.

All of a sudden I felt I was back in the Benny Hill/Carry On world of the 1970s where this kind of stuff was acceptable. So much for 30 years of progress.

There is a serious side to this - there is so much pressure on people, especially girls, to conform to a perfect body image which isn't achieveable for most of us, or arguably any of us without real trouble or potentially risk to our health. When you can be bullied at school for being fat - and fat can be a size 12 - or having spots, it's just not appropriate to legitimise taking the mickey out of anyone who doesn't meet the expected standard of appearance.

Now, it's not as if I can't take offensive. Heck, I read Mr Eugenides which is not for the faint hearted. Most of the time I can forgive him because he is so funny, but the new Boogie is just stale and I feel like I have just lost my connection wtih the show.

Anyway, I got to work in seventeen kinds of rage and decided that I had to do something about this. I rang up Forth One, which I've never done before, expecting to get someone on reception to whom I could very quietly and reasonably say "I know this is not your fault, but I want to register my feelings about......." So I rang the number, and ended up going straight through to Boogie himself. Not live, obviously, but I said how I felt, he said "oh, come on it was only a joke, I said I thought his show wasn't as good any more and he said "you have a choice." I said yes, and I'd be using it.

So, I'm on the lookout for a bit of light and funny trash to listen to on my way to work. Suggestions anybody?

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