Now this one surprised me. I grew up with Jarvis Cocker (of Pulp fame) and to be honest I never got his humour. I found his skinny, deranged looking appearance a nuisance. And well, his music never really took my fancy. So when his BBC Radio 4 podcast – Wireless Nights – was suggested to me, I was skeptical. Could I bear listening to his sarcastic, know-it-all voice?
Well, it seems I could.
Leaving Cocker to one side, there are clearly talented producers behind this show. Laurence Grissell and Neil McCarthy the peeps in question. The show itself feels effortlessly constructed. Effortlessly, you say? Well, okay, on the better episodes Cocker leads us by the hand as we tip toe from story to character and back again, all neatly woven around the same theme. Be it the dark underbelly of Berlin, the night owls in London or those with their own definition of a night watch. Rejoining our friends at various stages throughout as though we’re working the room at a David Lynch party. Wireless Nights delves into these subjects that wouldn’t normally reach the airwaves but this team unearth the most fascinating of topics and provide honest insights. Together with sound design and music selection that feels as though it has been dug from the reserves of great music and lathered over the piece with such precision and care so as not to dominate. When they strike it right, oh how right it is.
There are admittedly episodes that are not as successful as others, but that is the woes of podcasting. Or any production to be honest. And there is the complaint that Cocker tends to snap you out of your reverie with his self assured audience directed questions. But I like the way he makes us feel as though we are right beside him on these journeys. I enjoy these little asides and, surprisingly enough, his humour. For me they work because they are not overbearing. The producers show clear understanding of Cocker’s voice, humour and style. His melodic tones are soothing, encapsulating the bed time feel of this show. But they ultimately put the listener at ease, something a lots of presenters failed to understand or do.
Start with the latest season and I think you’ll enjoy this world they’ve created. If you like to listen to something at night, well then this is also the one for you. It’s relaxing enough to send you into a docile sleep, should you so desire!
Happy listening x