6MUSIC HAS BEEN SAVED! REJOICE! The radio station of wonder and joy will continue to broadcast! The news is dampened by the fact the Asian Network couldn't be saved, of course. It's another example of a thing the BBC should be doing, but there's a feeling that it was one or the other. Or, indeed, possibly neither, when the cuts were announced.
The BBC Trust said there had been "significant public support for the service" and that 78% of nearly 50,000 online responses to a consultation on the BBC's future focused on 6 Music. The trust also received more than 25,000 emails and nearly 250 letters about the station, "the great majority" of which opposed the closure plan.
Now, I don't wish to sound like a wanker, but I sent one of those emails. I filled out one of those consultation forms. How did I find out how to do those things? Twitter. Twitter pointed me towards 38 Degrees and Love 6 Music. Twitter put out the correct email addresses to use, all the while urging people to be polite. There were protests in London of course, which I'd have given anything to be at, but that wasn't to be - but those of us who couldn't make it had plenty of ways to make our voices heard, which is something new.
Twitter (and maybe facebook, I don't know, facebook never captured my imagination and I don't spend hours on it talking to people and making friends and discovering wonderful things, unlike Twitter. Facebook is just sort of... there) gets a bad reputation for being a bunch of left-wingers shouting about injustice and getting things attention but ultimately resulting in nothing concrete - Jan Moir still has a job, for example; the newspapers continue to publish bilge. Okay, so the Nick Clegg's Fault hashtag sort of came true but we didn't mean it to go down like that. We're sorry.
And tweeting alone didn't save 6Music and I'd never claim it did. But Twitter spread the news that the station was facing closure like wildfire, informed people of what action they could take, was able to focus the outcry into something that was actually helpful, instead of either ranting into the ether or a bunch of disparate responses that went to the wrong places. Plus on a personal note, I made new friends dicking about on 6Music hashtags, who send me yet more awesome music just because they think I'll love it (I do). It's all good.
I don't wish to overstate this and say that we're all a band of heroes and it'll all be okay because of the POWER OF THE INTERNET because, you know, it won't. In this case though, I think it - we - did good. Would 6Music have been saved without such a public response? I doubt it. I'm glad to have been a part of it and this just makes it an even more special radio station.
I was only one of tens of thousands who protested, in whatever form that took, but - just this once - can't we say it was nice to be listened to? No matter that most of the time we're barking at nothing, no matter that we didn't reform the government, no matter that it's a "just a radio station" - we won this time! Let us have our victory!
In any case, it's not just a radio station to those who kicked up the dust. Music matters. I'm fortunate in that I have a group of friends who understand this perfectly - they live for music. Music powers them. We need 6Music - or at the very least, we need the spirit in which it broadcasts.
My other writing on this:
A personal post on how 6Music helped save my life. Quite literally
A post in more general terms about why the station matters
When I was a teenager I lived the clichés, man. Lonely, awkward, bullied kid from a small town? Yeah, who wasn't? Nothing to do, nowhere to go, nobody to see. All I had was a radio.
Music was my life. This was before the internet, before you could have any music you wanted at a click, before custom-made radio on last.fm: I had Steve Lamacq and John Peel and that was it. Mind you that was all I needed: a litany of wonderful bands who would never sell a record and it didn't matter. Bands who were, in hindsight, sometimes thunderingly shit, but that wasn't the point. The point was discovering the good stuff. The point was feeling excited about it, feeling like those DJs were sharing something they were genuinely cockahoop about with you. Everything else in life was rubbish, but how many kids in small towns felt that bit better for those radio shows? No small number, I'll bet.
Now I don't want Radio 1 to go back to that. That isn't the point. This isn't some romanticised yearning to be 16 again as I would rather put my face in a blender. It is, however, a way of saying "look, radio matters." Therefore 6music matters, the BBC station they want to kill. The BBC station which is the spirit of my teenage evenings writ large. The BBC station which isn't about bullshit except when George Lamb is on: it's about (and there's a clue in the title) MUSIC.
And oh I know, just go on last.fm you pillock. And I frequently do. It's good but it isn't the same. There's no personal touch. There's no getting to hear the joy someone has about sharing something they're genuinely excited about with you. There's no live stuff, that's for damn sure.
I don't mean to be Indie Bore, when I could shut up and listen to some pop music instead of 10,000 jingly jangly indie schmindie bands. But dammit I LIKE jingly jangly indie schmindie. That and, as pointed out on popjustice.com, if 6music goes, Radio 1 is going to be forced into being all things to all people again. Which means less pop. Which means everyone loses.
I grew up with the radio on constantly. It was a lifeline to a seriously unhappy youngster. When I was a seriously unhappy adult and had the energy for nothing BUT listening to the radio, it was a lifeline again. Discovering a song you love for the first time is one of life's eternal pleasures. Not all of us can go to gigs and find things on our own.
Music matters. Radio matters. That's why BBC 6music matters. I suspect to more than just myself.
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They're not the best songs, they're sure as shit not the coolest. But they're roughly my favourite sixty as of the end of this decade I suppose. Not all FROM this decade, though. I say roughly because I only allowed myself one song per artist, and because I might change my mind. ;)
(One song per artist was ridiculously hard for Belle & Sebastian, Kristin Hersh, Throwing Muses, The Wildhearts, Tori Amos, Malcolm Middleton, Tanya Donelly, The Delgados, Foo Fighters, and so on FOREVER...)
They're below the cut, in alphabetical artist order rather than order of preference because pffft that's impossible.
( Loooooove )
As you know Big Scary Course starts soon. As you also know I have heap big commute every day and I'll have to do a lot of reading on the train. Which is fine. It's just that other people, they won't shut up. I can't believe they don't shut up.
Which is where the magic of noise-cancelling headphones comes in, but you need music to go with them. I've downloaded some classical compilations to have as my background, but I'm wondering if there's anything else I should have. I'm talking mostly instrumental laid-back stuff. I believe this is sometimes called chillout, but I don't really care what it's called...
So yes, basically: music to shut out the background racket that won't distract me too much from reading. If you know what I should be looking for, please tell me. Help is appreciated. :)
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I had two hours' sleep last night. I possibly look like death and I'm dreading what happens after lunch but I REGRET NOTHING. \o/ If I do this once roughly every three months, I get a day of being hyper and giggly and enthusiastic, why this happens I do not know, but anyway it is POP MUSIC DAY which basically equates to me dancing around the office to Girls Aloud and the shiny shiny shiny Mini Viva song. HURRAY FOR EVERYTHING :D
Have I ever mentioned I love Girls Aloud? I love them. They make me happy and dancey and everything. Also Cheryl Cole has a song out. This is why it is pop music day!
By 6pm I will be a zombie, but this morning has made up for that by being ACE FOR NO REASON. FEAR MY CAPSLOCK.
I got to work and realised I was covered in glitter. This is strange because I did not apply any glitter to my person this morning. Did I go out on the lash last night and forget it entirely?