My XFM long-weekend of horror

My wife was away this weekend. If you recall from my earlier quest for a decent breakfast show, we normally wake up to the sound of Chris Moyles abusing the population, interspersed by clips from John Craven’s Newsround… sorry, Radio 1 news (“Tony Blair is a very important man. He’s the Prime Minister of the country you live in.” Dumbing down? Not a bit of it). But this weekend was going to be different. It was time for weekend XFM.

XFM is my radio station of choice. I have reservations about it. I imagine its executives think they’re at the cutting edge of music even while they file around in their management suits. They probably even have The Killers’ “Glamorous Indie Rock and Roll” as their constant, looped mental backing track. Never mind that every other track is The Foo Fighters.

Since I needed to get up early on Sunday, I tried to set the alarm on Saturday night. Unfortunately, my attempts to find XFM failed because I was looking in completely the wrong place. Well, actually, I was looking in completely the right place (104.9) but since our alarm clock is stupid, that corresponds to about 102 on its display.

Thwarted, I set the clock back to Radio 1 and went to sleep on Saturday night.

Sunday morning I woke to the sound of nightmares. Imagine one of those nightmares where you wake up but you’re actually still in your nightmare. That’s what happened to me.

At first, it just seemed like a regular bad dream. I woke to the sound of R&B. Horrific, I know, and I was quite traumatised, but I hit the snooze button and it went away.

Five minutes later, and I woke again… to the sound of R&B. Again with the snooze button. Five minutes and more R&B.

Over and over again.

Then I realised. I hadn’t gone back to Radio 1 at all. I’d unintentionally tuned the alarm clock back to an R&B station.

Oh God, why hast thou foresaken me?

The truth flooded over me and I woke with a start. I got up, switched the alarm clock off completely and assumed that would end by insipid music ordeal.

How little did I know.

A little later, I headed off for the gym. Driving along (you can see I’m not going to be doing an iron-man triathlon anytime soon with that kind of dedication), I switched on XFM.

First up, a track by Neil Young. Very puzzling. The next track was by Sheryl Crow. Had I tuned into Radio 2 by mistake? But then the horror. The DJ came on. I recognised the voice.

It was Jimmy Carr.

Who ordered that? Who could possibly have thought that was a good idea? Jimmy Carr? Admittedly, a Sunday morning slot means that most of XFM’s target demographic won’t even be awake yet, but it just isn’t a laughing matter to give that man any money. All he does is spout those sentences of his that have all the semantic qualities of jokes but none of that oh-so-vital humour normally required.

Worse still, on a station dedicated to indie music, he puts on Neil Young and Sheryl Crow. Executives: turn off your that backing music and listen to Jimmy “sound of silence instead of laughter” Carr; realise what a mistake you’ve made. Please. He’s not just a rubbish comedian: he’s a rubbish DJ, too.

Later that day, driving from the gym to pick up my wife at Clackett Lane services, I tried XFM again. Carr was gone… and Lauren Laverne was back. She wasn’t half bad. I’ve realised her the problem is. She’s completely knackered during the week. She must be an evening person. I’d be playing rubbish music and talking very slowly if I had to be up at 4am or something equally improbable. Lauren love: get some sleep and a cup of coffee and your breakfast show will pick up.

That should have ended my weekend of horror. But I was driving back from Sainsbury’s earlier this evening and I heard something horrible. To coincide with the release of The Arctic Monkeys’ new album on Monday, XFM are going to play a track from it every hour.

Isn’t that illegal under Geneva Conventions or something?

Still, that’s the other great thing about XFM: if a bandwagon goes passing by, you know they’ll be priming their pogo sticks within minutes…