Those B***ards at the BBC

Anyone knows that if something ain’t broke it, you don’t fix it. But clearly the Controller at Radio 1 has decided otherwise, because The Blue Room – the Saturday/Sunday 5-7am show hosted, respectively, by Rob da Bank and Chris Coco – is on a countdown to extinction. Yes, come the end of September, the best show to grace Radio 1’s schedule in many a year will be no more. According to audience research, so I hear, young people like to go out and take drugs at the weekend and need some banging choons to help them along, even at 5am on a Saturday and Sunday morning. The Blue Room’s unique mix of dance music, dub, indie, funk, chill-out, dance classics and brief mix sessions – exactly what club-goers need when they come home, especially if they’re on drugs – apparently doesn’t fit the bill.

The success of The Blue Room – and I consider it a success, regardless of Radio 1’s audience research – is not just because it provides the perfect segue from post-clubbing comedown into the morning wake-up call. It’s because, once BBC Radio created the online Listen Again option in recent years, then educated and/or enthusiastic music fans around the world could tune into the Radio 1 Web site any time of the week, and listen to the Blue Room for themselves, in their own time. I’ve been doing this regularly for the last 2-3 years, often starting my working week with the show, and The Blue Room has provided me with more good, new, varied music than probably all the other British web-linked radio shows put together.

As an example of The Blue Room’s commitment to excellence in broadcasting, here’s a list of songs played by Chris Coco on his show last Sunday, September 3:

Tapes ‘n Tapes – ‘Cowbell (Blackeyes remix)’ (XL)
CSS – ‘Let’s Make Love And Listen To Death From Above’ (Sub Pop)
Black Grass – ‘Oh Jah’ (Catskills Records) (Catskills Records? I think I’d better look that one up.)
Lee Perry & The Upsetters – ‘IPA Skank’ (Trojan Records)
The Velvet Underground – ‘Some Kinda Love’ (Polydor)
Peter, Bjorn & John
– ‘Roll The Credits’ (Wichita)
Josh Rouse – ‘Oh, I Need All Of The Love’ (Ether)
The Beach Boys – ‘God Only Knows (Know Thy God LA Trip edit)’ (Heavy Disco)
James Yorkston – ‘Steady As She Goes’ (Domino)
Belle & Sebastian
– ‘Mornington Crescent’ (Rough Trade)
Yo La Tengo – ‘Mr. Tough’ (Matador)
Massive Attack – ‘Safe From Harm (Mr. Dan mix)’ (Virgin)
X-Press 2 – ‘Witchi Tai To’ (Skint)
DJ Yoda – ‘Wheels’ (Antidote)
Hot Chip – ‘Over And Over’ (EMI)

If anyone knows where else we can hear such an eclectic mix of good music in such a short space of time online, please let me know. In the meantime, I’m thinking of recording the last few weeks’ shows… because I’m certainly going to miss The Blue Room when it’s gone.

As a parting shot, Rob and Chris have released a final Blue Room compilation, Listen Again. Featured artists include Hard-Fi, Acid Casuals, Nightmares On Wax, James Yorkston and Jose Gonzales. Order it from here

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October 2021