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Irish Independent
Irish Independent
Declan Lynch Twitter

Some things are just too much to hear on the radio in the morning – and €500k a year for bankers is one

Adventurer Bear Grylls maintains a positive outlook. Picture by Mark Johnson for ITV

It all started on Newstalk Breakfast (Newstalk, weekdays, 7am) with newsreader Shane Beatty mentioning Bear Grylls has advised us not to call it an alarm clock, saying an “opportunity clock” or words of an equally uplifting nature might be better. The response by Ciara Kelly reflected that of the vast majority: “Screw you, Bear Grylls.”

But Beatty had more of Grylls’s wise words on the need for “positivity” in our lives, recommending a cold shower to reset the system, a walk in the rain, or the feeling of wet grass beneath your feet. Screw you Bear Grylls, indeed.

Still, this would not have amounted to anything worse than a few moments of radio banter if we didn’t then have to face the main topic of the morning: the lifting of the cap on bankers’ “remuneration”.

Now, I have never been one of those who claim the News is always too negative, that we should have a Good News paper just to show humanity is not entirely lost. But I think a case can be made that some things are too upsetting for anyone to be hearing on the radio first thing in the morning – or last thing at night, or in the many hours in between.

You lose a little bit of your equilibrium at the thought anyone might regard half-a-million a year as “peanuts”

The lifting of the cap on bankers’ “compensation” is one of those things. You could wake up to the sound of your opportunity clock, followed by a cold shower and a walk in the rain – even a ramble in the wet grass in your bare feet – and still the thought that the government is actually lifting the cap on bankers’ already massive pay, would give you the blues, so bad.

Again I was with Kelly on this – vehemently against it. And in the nature of these things, when Shane Coleman took the opposite position, one of acceptance that this is how the world works, it just deepened the suffering.

This was a pattern which would be repeated for the rest of the day – with Pat Kenny, with Claire Byrne. You would have someone against it, which would maintain your anger; and you would have someone for it, which would raise that anger to a new intensity. Either way you lose a little bit of your equilibrium at the thought that anyone might regard half-a-million a year as “peanuts”.

And you know that high-ranking members of Sinn Féin will be touring the studios, this being the one bit of good news they’ve had for a long time.

On days like this, even Bear Grylls might take to the bed.

VAR reviews a possible foul, before awarding Iran a penalty. Photo: Martin Rickett

Mercifully, the quality of your mental health can also be raised significantly by the same radio that gets you down. Culture File (Lyric FM, weekdays, 6.30pm) on Lyric FM usually elevates the soul, not least when it turns its attention to association football.

A recent feature on the World Cup had presenter Luke Clancy talking to an art writer, a film maker and an author about how the game is going – and as you might expect in this setting, it was somewhat different in style to what Kenny Cunningham, Shay Given and “Nutsy” Fenlon are offering on RTÉ television.

We heard that VAR has created “an aesthetic dissonance”, that the Victorian substructure of the game is being replaced by a technocratic, digital structure – thus the way in which the technology is more important than the referee, reflects a wider culture in which the media is replacing democracy.

Video of the Day

Then again, we were reminded how strange the old TV pictures of a football match can look as the moving pictures had not yet learned how to “read” games.

Perhaps in 100 years we will think VAR has taught us new ways of “reading” games.

But there was general agreement at the end of the day, that “VAR is the opposite of art”.​

In that case Jimi Hendrix would be the opposite of VAR. RTÉ’s Arena (RTÉ1, weekdays, 7pm) was celebrating the 80th “birthday” of Hendrix, with writer and musician Peter Murphy – also trading as Cursed Murphy Versus The Resistance – brilliantly unravelling the majesty of the great man.

Murphy talked about the way Hendrix sounds like he’s playing three guitars at one time – somewhat like bluesman Robert Johnson – and how he has become “synonymous with absolute mastery”. What we are hearing with Hendrix is not an electric guitar, but an orchestra.

On hearing the lyric “excuse me while I kiss the sky”, for an instant Bear Grylls came to mind. But then he was gone.

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