It’s official. I’m an old git.
Mark Damazer wants to get rid of BBC Radio 4’s “UK Theme”. I am enraged, in the manner of a retired colonel or blue-rinsed WI matron.
I first heard the theme when I had about a month of getting up every morning at 5.30am to go to Norwich for an IA gig. It’s whimsy is just what you want while trying to pry your eyes open and rouse yourself to the service of late-capitalism.
More evidence I am an old git – the best explanation of why so many people are upset by the decision is in the Torygraph:
“What shall we do with the drunken sailor, early in the morning? This question has been put to listeners of Radio 4 at 5.30am daily for 33 years. Or rather, it is not put in words, but in music, as part of the late Fritz Spiegl’s brilliant UK Theme, incorporating traditional airs from the British Isles.
If this country has a folk memory, these songs without words tap into it. Whatever the day ahead brings, we shall meet it with our co-heirs to the complicated heritage of our still united kingdom.
Wordlessness is the point. Music speaks more directly than words. Who has not had the experience of listening to the full weather forecast and yet missing the section devoted to our own area? And yet the Controller of Radio 4 wishes to extirpate the UK Theme in favour of “a look ahead to stories likely to develop in the day”. Not even news, then, good or bad, but inchoate babble. So leave us music, for a few minutes, just till we get started, early in the morning.”
p.s. I really like the name Damazer. It reminds me of Mazinger.