Big Issue Vendor

BBC 6 Music is my musical tonic in crazy times

Sick of endlessly negative radio chat, Sam Delaney has rediscovered his love of a good song thanks to BBC 6 Music

I think BBC 6 Music might just have saved my life – or at least spared my sanity – over the past couple of months. They kicked off the new year with a reshuffled daytime schedule. I kicked off the new year feeling glum, pessimistic and a bit fed up about everything. Then I made a decision to switch off the unrelenting blizzard of news, talk, opinion and football that had blazed out of my radio for the past few years and calm down a bit. There’s only so many on-air rows about Brexit, Trump and disputed refereeing decisions a man can listen to.

So I thought I’d give music a go. I used to love listening to music. In fact, for a long time, I considered it the very best thing a human being could do with their time. It’s just as soul-enriching as reading a book with the bonus that you can do it while washing up. Music is what I needed to clean out my brain, replenish my soul and remind me that, whatever else is going on in the horrible real world, there are some sources of joy that remain consistent, no matter what.

The people at 6 Music seem to have a firm grip on good music,

People say there is no objective definition of good music, that it’s all in the ears of the beholder and that one man’s Radiohead is another man’s Coldplay. But we all know that’s bollocks. There really is such a thing as objectively good music and – although it’s difficult to define in words – the people at 6 Music seem to have a firm grip on what that actually is.

Since I started listening to 6 Music again, I have become significantly more happy, optimistic and (I’m pretty sure) physically attractive. I feel like a teenager again, busily noting down new songs that I’ve heard and adding them to Spotify playlists. I keep trying to talk to my 11-year-old daughter about all the hip new bands I’m into but she, quite rightly, thinks I’m a dick. But so what? Rather a happy middle-aged dick dancing to Lizzo in the kitchen than a miserable old bastard shouting at John Humphrys about the Irish backstop.

Lauren Laverne is probably the best broadcaster on the wireless right now, nailing that tricky sweet spot between exciting cool and disarming warmth with daily aplomb. Mary Anne Hobbs weaves a hypnotic musical dreamscape every mid-morning that can put a smile on my face even while I’m completing a VAT return or cleaning out the vegetable drawer of the fridge. Huey Morgan at weekends plays the best music in the whole wide world. All of them have taste so impeccable that it would be borderline obnoxious were they not all so bloody personable.

Anyway, this is probably very old news to those of you who’ve had the good sense to be tuning into the BBC’s flagship music station for the past two decades. But for someone who spent the last few years accidentally distracted by the real world, it feels great to be lost in music once again.