With perfect timing, whether intentional or not, Radio 1 has scheduled an hour-long special on gangsta rap, presented by Mark Tonderai, at the exact moment the already heavy scene took a seriously nasty turn.
Earlier this month, J. Dec of Da tench Mob was sentenced to 29 years for the murder of his girlfriend’s flatmate. Dee is part of the new breed of rappers who live a life of ultra-violence and misogyny far beyond rap’s previous tlirtations with ‘guns and bitches’ imagery. In the same week rapper Tupac Shakur was sentenced to up to four years for sexually assualting a fan.
The most successful rapper associated with the gangsta scene is Snoop Doggy Dog who is interviewed for the Radio 1 show Taking the Rap with his musical collaborator Dr Dre. Snoop’s alleged involvement in an
armed robbery in August 1993 forced him into hiding, only to appear in an act of bravado on an MTV award show, before finally giving himself up. Rounded by the police, Snoop was caught in the media’s spotlight appearing that month on the covers of Newsweek and Rolling Stone. Despite mentioning his parole officer on his album sleeve, his trial date is set for July this year.
The number of charges outstanding against gansta rappers has become alarmingly high. In addition to J. Dee and Snoop, T. Bone (also of Da tench Mob), Flavor Flav, Slick Rick and lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopez (TLC) have all been centrally involved in violent incidents. With lyrics that reflect their personal lives rather than documenting the ghetto environment, the records keep on selling. Snoop’s album was the fastest selling debut album ever. His ‘ new work won’t be released until the trial has started. Surely a coincidence. . (Rory Weller)
Taking the Rap is on Sunday 26 Feb at : 7pm on Radio 1.
I Janice Forsyth (Radio Scotland) Sat 25 Feb. 10am. Cross-dressing stand-up comic Eddie lzzard takes time out from his Scottish tour to chat and compare shades of nail varnish with Janice.
I Feast or Famine (Radio Scotland. FM only) Mon 27 Feb. 12.20pm. Does the
church really meet people‘s needs. or does ;
it simply feed neurosis? Bishop Richard Holloway and psychiatrist Brice Avery battle it out in anew series timed to coincide with the start of Lent.
I Forties Season: Film in the Forties (Radio 3) Sat 25 Feb. 1.02pm. Citizen Kane, Casablanca. Brief Encounter. Betty Grable. Rita Hayworth. Bogie and Bacall. Radio 3 revives the ‘golden age of cinema’ with a look back at the ﬁlm industry throughout the 40s. The ﬁrst programme in the series takes a look at the ways British ﬁlmmakers depicted the war and how they imagined peace would
I Kitchen Cabinet (Radio 4) Sun 26 Feb. 10.15am. Presenter Susan Marling takes her place in the ‘kitchen cabinet‘. where six women aged 20—80 come together once a week in their East End of London homes to share views on money and men. politics and power. race and religion and the changing face of their own surroundings in the deprived isle of Dogs area.
I The Art of Travel (Radio 4) Wed 1 Mar. 7.20pm. Novelist Laurie.Lee is the ﬁrst of six well-travelled people reflecting on their personal experiences of globe- trotting during this new series. Lee talks about two extended journeys he made round Spain in his youth. and the dreams and nightmares that ensued.
I The Road Goes on Forever: The Tour Bus (Radio 1) Sun 5 Mar. 7pm. Life on the road is one big holiday. ﬁlled with adoring groupies and buckets of champagne. right? Not so (at least not all of the time) says producer Lis Roberts as she follows the tour bus with bands like Suede. Elastica and East 17. and digs up the truth about life on the road. Rat Scabies of The Damned will present the ﬁrst show in the series.
I Time and Changes (Radio 3) Mon 6 Mar. 10am. A musical journey with leading jazz musician Stan Tracey. as he chats with Geoffrey Smith about a 50-year career that began at sixteen. working with
Dut out, Damned drummer: Rat Scabies
and four-wheeled friend in The Road Goes on Forever
Kenny Barker. Ronnie Scott and Ted Heath.
I Beat Patrol (Radio Scotland) Sun 26 Feb. 5pm. Best of Scottish new releases presented by Peter liaston. 'l'onight‘s session is from indie-poppers and Japanese comic fans Uresei Yatsura. whose debut album All Hail was released recently.
I New Spies for Old? (Radio 4) Tue 7 Mar. 8.30pm. If the Cold War is over why are we still watching the KGB? Christopher Andrew takes a trip to Moscow in the ﬁrst programme of this new series that investigates the role of intelligence and security services in the 90s.
I Gosling on Main Street (Radio 4) Wed 8 Mar. 10am. liW. Woolworth may not be the ﬁrst name that springs to mind when thinking of great pioneers of social change. but his advances in the ﬁeld of dirt-cheap pick ’n‘ mix take centre stage in this new series about ‘legendary Americans‘ who are held to have created new freedoms and opportunities for the common people.
I Paradise Lost in Space (Radio 4) Thurs 9 Mar. 6.30pm. New spacebound comedy series written by producer of radio mini- series Guslz and television's satirical news quiz Have I (In! IVL’H'S For You. Tony Robinson is one of the bumbling earthmen let loose amongst the awfully nice inhabitants of Oblivio. the perfect planet. (Ellie Carr)
()f a Friday evening. with Brook-it) over and all small children safely tucked up in bed. Channel 4 becomes unashamedly young, urban and pop culture-literate. The irony-heavy stream ofentenainment. from the thirtysomething American angst of Ellen onwards. forms what the schedulers at the station like to call a ‘zone'. Viewers switch on knowing what to expect — it‘s assumed that any lost sheep taking a wrong turn at Doctor Finlay will quickly realise their mistake.
This ‘zone‘ idea allows. for instance. The Wsz to show one hapless chap drinking a liquidised. protein-rich shake of worms and chopped liver. The pay-off line — ‘1‘“ do anything to get on television' — reassures the disgusted viewer that this is simply an iii-joke about the excesses of the medium. It’s all in context - no need to get offended. folks.
The BBC has a wider outlook for its start of the weekend entertainment. But they liavejust hired Channel 4‘s master of the raised eyebrow. Clive Anderson. whose Friday night talk show was probably the closest thing to that Holy Grail of commissioning editors — a British Letterman. Anderson has switched sides to present Our Man in . . . (BBCZ). a documentary series about foreign parts. but the bald barrister‘s presence ensures it never takes itselftoo seriously. Gags ﬁrst. issues later — if there‘s time.
In his ﬁrst witty postcard home. Anderson reported from Goa. a narrow strip of a region on the west coast of India — famous for hippies, mile upon mile of golden beaches and now. increasingly, ﬁve~star country club developments. The point of the Goan adventure was to show the impact of tourism on a fragile. developing region in danger of being over-run by golf carts and their plaid-clad occupants.
Hippies ﬁrst arrived in the late 60s because of a plentiful drug supply, benign climate and minimal Western influence. Since then a whole industry has grown around selling drop—out culture back to second-generation slackers looking for an authentic (read cheap) Eastem experience. However. as local traders became more dependent on the rupees that accrued from flogging gaudy embroidered waistcoats to students on their year out. businessmen with bigger ambitions saw a bigger buck in taking the Goan tourist trade up market. The beaches are being cleared of traders and the original
hippies are fast becoming an endangered species. as Anderson illustrated with an inspired Attenborough-in-the-undergrowth routine. Investigative journalist John Pilger needn‘t worry about the competition. but this is entertainment with a couple of ideas thrown in.
Earlier that evening there was another new Friday show which promised. and delivered. precious little entertainment with absolutely no idea. Given the right slot. sorry zone. on Channel 4, it would no doubt be seen as a hilarious send-up of the panel game format, but Do the Right Thing (BBC 1) is sadly for real. No one but Terry Wogan could muster the mass-audience appeal to make such a shameless star vehicle roll. Perhaps this one will prove that even his banal blarney has its limits.
The panel was made up of low-grade celebrity. the likes of which would have barely made it onto the subs bench for Blankety Blank. Left to right. we had: Tony Hawks a comedian whose routine is Julian Clary minus the camp (ie pointless); Vanessa Feltz. who may or may not be an Fleet Street agony aunt, and Ken Livingstone. of whom more a bit later.
Their task was to debate a ‘dilemma of the day'. before a yes or no question was put to the studio audience. and then you. the viewer. via a phone-in. The ﬁrst dilemma was whether pupil- teacher sexual relationships are acceptable. The teacher‘s seduction by a floppy-haired. Milton-quoting student was dramatist in cheesey Mills & Boon style. The outcome was decided by the ‘interactive' phone-in. for which Wogan claimed there had been ‘thousands‘ of calls. Let‘s hope they were really trying to complain at the shameful waste of licence-payers' money.
Fresh from this debacle. Ken Livingstone nipped across the channels to appear on The Mrs Merton Show (BBCZ) for more ritual humiliation. Mrs Merton is a Mancunian OAP. a sort of Dante Edna Everage-on- Boddingtons character created by comedian Caroline Hook. Ken was. as ever. dragged on to talk about his famous hobby — newt-fancying. while the other rent-a-guests included Mandy Smith ne’e Wyman and wotsisname who plays Curly on The Street. This tired pastiche had none of Alan Panridge‘s obsessive attention to detail or Dame Edna's high camp pizzazz. The worms and liver diet suddenly looks more appealing. (Eddie Gibb)
75 The List 24 Feb-9 Mar I995