Private Passions

4-march-2009-jakarta-indo-009

I used to think that all those complaining about dumbing down were a load of old farts who had nothing better to moan about, but this morning I listened to “Private Passions” on Radio 3 for the first time in months. Dear God, how long has it been this awful? It makes “Desert Island Discs” sound positively classy. What has happened? In past programmes (sorry, shows) the conversation between Michael Berkeley and his guests was often stimulating and enlightening. However, this morning’s programme plumbed depths that I never thought that I would hear on Radio 3, not because it featured a “celebrity” as such, but because it was so embarrassing hearing him justifying his new found taste for classical music, and then going on to play all sorts of things that don’t need to be on Radio 3. And now, to top it all, at 3 p.m. I’m listening to Beethoven’s “Moonlight” Sonata requested by someone in Canterbury and presented by a person who sounds as if she’s on 60 a day – even Natalie Wheen is better than this!

I’m afraid it’s no good complaining any more – I’ve listened to Radio 3 for the best part of 30 years, but with all the appalling things that are happening in the attempt to bump up the listening figures, an old friend is now so terribly disfigured that I’m fear I don’t recognize them any more. If today’s showing is anything to go by, I don’t think anyone can continue to complain quite so vehemently about Classic FM. There’s not that much difference in the two!

The worrying thing is that somebody will think it worthwhile asking Gordon Brown about his taste in music, and make a programme which will then be trailed before, during and after every other programme on Radio 3.

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