Tuesday, March 02, 2010

A salvo from the invisible demographic

You know what? If you're me, you qualify for practically nothing. I mean, there's stuff for all of us, the NHS, waste collection, public libraries, swimming pools. But all the stuff on top, the targeted things... what do I get? Pretty much fuck all. I pay full tax, and don't get any credits. I'm too old for a young person's railcard and too young for a senior railcard. I earn part time money but pay a full time union subscription. I get the bus just often enough for it to be expensive and just seldom enough not to be worth getting any kind of bus pass. I have seen my pension contributions go up, and the consequent benefits get smaller and further away. I don't get 10% off at B&Q on a Wednesday. And I don't have any children, so I've never had maternity pay or any of the things that come the way of the 'families' whose requirements the Tories are so keen to prioritise.

But I won't be voting for them anyway, obviously. As a good Marxist, I believe in to each according to their needs, and I guess I don't need much. And that's something to be happy about. But I do, every now and again, feel a bit overlooked. I work hard, and I do my bit. Who's looking out for me? Who's taking care of the people who contribute more than they get back? We're important too, you know.

And then, in 2002, came 6Music. Unbelievably, a radio station that was designed for the invisible demographic: the 30, 40 and 50 somethings whose lives have been defined and soundtracked by independent and alternative music from many decades, and the slice of the younger generation coming up behind them who want to find their tribe. I loved it immediately. It's the reason I bought a DAB radio. We listen to Freak Zone in the kitchen while cooking dinner on Sunday evenings, Nemone has taken me through many a long afternoon at work, and I've lost count of the number of live gems from the BBC archive I've happened upon and enjoyed. It's about celebrating our alternative past and giving the people who want to be part of an alternative future (and I define alternative here extremely broadly) a place to feel all right, and if that isn't a public service I don't know what is.

This is about the only thing this country has done for me this century, and now they want to bloody close it, in order to pour more wet reality-makeover-nanny-location cement down our throats, with more banal/offensive comedy, shitty quiz shows or ritual-humiliation-by-overpaid-presenters by way of 'alternative'. To say I am pissed off is putting it mildly.

Here comes the future. Please don't let it be playing Keane or I might just leave on a jet plane.



Blogger Ben said...

At least we can say there's only a 50/50 chance of it playing Keane, because another of the Beeb's great ideas is to make Radio 2 be 50% voice. 12 hours of the equivalent of Jeremy Vine every day. Whee!

9:16 am  

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