Marty in the Morning
Lyric FM, weekdays, 7am
If you were listening to any radio station last week, you’d have heard about The Man with the Tesco Clubcard Tattooed on his Arm. A father of seven from Sussex, he kept forgetting to bring his Clubcard on his visits to the supermarket – and since he visited two or three times a day, he was losing out on many amazing offers. Even more amazing is the fact the tattoo actually works at the checkout.
There are many things radio needs – strong presenters, diligent researchers, technical excellence and all that – but above and beyond these things, radio needs The Man with the Tesco Clubcard Tattooed on his Arm.
He and his ilk are the essential workers in this medium. Usually their barmy exploits are first reported in a newspaper, but they only really come to life on the airwaves. Not only did The Man with the Tesco Clubcard Tattooed on his Arm get “the mention” on every “fun” breakfast show in the universe, he made the News on Newstalk Breakfast and he even made an appearance on Morning Ireland, on ‘It Says in the Papers’.
He was a breakout success in this fiercely competitive field, in which someone, somewhere, is always doing something “mad” nobody ever thought of doing before – perhaps with good reason.
The Newstalk newsreader Shane Beatty discussed the minutiae of the story with Ciara Kelly and Jonathan Healy. All the great issues were ventilated, how The Man occupies that crucial space between stupidity and genius, how he may eventually be thwarted when Tesco change their system.
I wondered why he was going to the supermarket two or three times a day. Could he not make one big list? Or would that be too much to fit on a tattoo?
Then there are the “mad” ideas that lack this crucial element of levity, but that keep coming back again and again. The Border Poll is one of these; invariably triggered when a Sinn Féin leader makes some speech about it, and then the media feels obliged to have a “debate” about that.
Thus Mary Lou McDonald recently restated her nationalist ambitions in Australia, at which point you see United Ireland trending ominously on Twitter again. Soon RTÉ1’s Today with Philip Boucher-Hayes is chairing a debate between Pádraig Mac Lochlainn of Sinn Féin and Senator Emer Currie.
In this Currie will clearly be making all kinds of sense, pointing out at least some of the complexities of the situation, while Mac Lochlainn will broadly suggest he’s already thought of all these things – and they can be done, without necessarily destroying the lives of about five million people in the process.
Video of the Day
It doesn’t really matter who “wins” these arguments; Sinn Féin has already won by putting the idea out there incessantly, and having it framed as some kind of inevitable destination on Ireland’s journey.
They are very good at this, but then our media is so easy-osy about it, really they don’t need to be.
U2’s reported residency in Las Vegas sounds a bit “mad” when you first hear about it, yet on The Last Word, on Music, Matt Cooper with Dee Reddy and John Caddell found some original thinking at the heart of it. Not only will there be a reduction in our old friend, the carbon footprint, far from being a very old-fashioned pension scheme, U2 in Vegas may be quite futuristic in its vision.
Caddell believes that in times to come, our descendants will be astounded at the notion that rock and roll bands would travel the world with a load of articulated trucks, building a massive stage, then taking it all down and hauling it away to the next city, and building it up again. Ideally in future times, bands will play these residencies in one city, maybe a couple of gigs a week.
I like to hear such things that never occurred to me before – and listening to Barry Devlin and Jim Lockhart of Horslips on Marty in the Morning, I felt I had something to contribute to this new dispensation. Now that Horslips have left their 35-disc boxset, More Than You Can Chew, to the Irish nation, wouldn’t it be fitting for them to be the “relief band” for U2 in Vegas?
Devlin produced U2’s first demo. His band’s influence is incalculable. I rest my case – or at least my flight case.