A Canadian in New Basford on Trent FM

Words: Rob Cutforth
Illustrations: Rob White
Sunday 06 January 2008
reading time: min, words

"I thought James Blunt fans were rare, but a Posh Spice fan? Give me strength!"


When LeftLion asked me to spend a week listening to the Jo and Twiggy show on Trent FM for this column, I didn’t really know what to make of it.

I’ve never been a fan of morning radio. It comes on early in the morning, the music is atrocious and the scripted banter makes me want to stab myself in the ear with an ice pick. The last thing I want to hear when I awake is some chirpy twat’s cheesy jokes, followed by some spoiled teenaged brat’s pop song about how much her million-dollar life sucks.

However, the first day of listening to Jo and Twiggy had me thinking they were quite charming. Dim, but charming. Like an old, arthritic mutt that you’ve had since you were a kid, who would roll over onto its back looking for a tummy-rub from a burglar. It might sound like it’s being recorded in someone’s garden shed, but it’s nice to hear a vaguely local accent on the radio for once. Also, it’s certainly better than the honk-honk-wocka-wocka bullshit that is North American morning radio. Or so I thought…

My introduction to Twiggy begins with a story about his family trip to a stately home.  He moans that, after paying for admission, food and parking, he was out close to £50. My God, I think to myself; this story could’ve come directly out of my mouth. He then does this thing called Twiggy’s Songbook, where he sings excerpts from a book to a popular tune and asks callers to guess what the song is. In this case it’s a book on raft-building sung to I Will Survive. I laugh my ass off. I call LeftLion and warn them that I am in serious danger of becoming a Twiggy fan.

Having said that, I don’t have much time for Jo. The woman has (by her own admission) never been in a relationship, lives with her mother and is obsessed with the X Factor. She’s not exactly what one would call complex and strikes me as the type of woman who goes to McDonald’s in Mickey Mouse sweatpants and orders a Big Mac and a Diet Coke, thinking they balance each other out. But like I said, this is morning radio; complaining about it is like beating up a kid in a wheelchair, or going to Rocky IV and complaining about the monosyllabic dialogue.

The next morning rolls around, and I find myself actually looking forward to the show, waiting to hear what Twiggy is going to do for his songbook. I even start referring to it as ‘the Songbook’, as I feel Twiggy and I are now good buds. Twiggy doesn’t disappoint; his singing of The Mysteries of Egypt to Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go is fantastic. Afterwards, he disses Jo for liking the X Factor (yes, she fucking brought that up again) by saying it exploits people Testify, brother!

I’m thinking about getting an ‘I ♥ Twiggy’ tshirt printed up until he says a couple of things that give us a glimpse into his dark side. He admits to liking James Blunt and refers to the Daily Mail as ‘The Mail’. Liking James Blunt is pretty sad, but referring to the Daily Mail as ‘The Mail’ is downright crazy. It’s like referring to Mein Kampf as ‘ol’ Kampfy’. Alarm bells start ringing, but I ignore them. This is the happy guy that tells jokes to children and sings silly songs! Daily Mail reader or no, I’m willing to cut the brother some slack.

Then ‘Father Twiggy’ makes an appearance. He recites a poem with a lisping Irish accent, dissing Gordon Brown and the inheritance tax, while pumping up the tories and David Cameron. If that isn’t bad enough, he finishes it with ‘I once bit the pillow when I was on a man-date.’

Did I just hear that right? Pillow-biter? I’m all for taking the piss out of people, but resorting to homophobic slurs? Damn, that stopped being funny some time in the early eighties, didn’t he get the memo? I imagine many of Twiggy’s favourite jokes start with ‘A poof, a Rabbi and a Polack guy walk into a bar...’

Listening to the show seems less of a joy and more of a chore after that. I set my computer up to record the next three shows and listen to them at once, just to get it over with as quickly as possible. In that time, he and Jo take potshots at gays twice more, slight the Chinese, point out that the French ate their own faeces, make a couple of tit jokes and then have the nerve to call Americans ‘hillbillies’.

I’d been told by LeftLion that this show has won a Sony breakfast show award and think to myself ‘who listens to this shit?’ The minute the question passes my lips, it is promptly answered by a caller who says she thinks Posh Spice ‘looks good’. I thought James Blunt fans were rare, but a Posh Spice fan? Give me strength!

I have been listening for three hours straight, skipping past the commercials, music and weather reports, when my wife comes in and puts her arms around me. I shrug her off and snap, ‘Go away! I’m doing something!’ It’s then that I realise just how angry Twiggy and Jo are making me. My teeth are clenched and I have the mouse in a death grip. I have a few more hours to listen to, but I turn it off, go downstairs and apologise to my wife instead.

She says I am hereafter not allowed to listen to Jo and Twiggy anymore. She has nothing to worry about.

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