Book Review – Good Morning Nantwich

Good Morning Nantwich

While reviewing books would usually fall outside of the remit I’ve set myself for mgr, I’m pleased to make an exception for Good Morning Nantwich, which I’ll happily argue falls into the “geekery” category.

The book tells of Phill Jupitus’ exploits as Breakfast DJ at 6Music, how he got the job, how he approached it, and why in the end he felt he had to leave. When 6Music started it had a remit to be a radio station with the same eclectic approach to music that John Peel had. Whilst signing Jupitus up to be the breakfast DJ may have seemed an odd choice, he’d already had a sucessful run at GLR with his producer Phil Wilding and had impressed enough people to get him the gig.

Jupitus talks about his approach to radio with great honesty, especially his absolute desire to stay as far away from fake bonhomie and Coldplay as humanly possible.

I came to 6Music and Jupitus’ show about two and a half years into his tenure. For me it was an utter joy, new bands alongside classic tracks by The Ruts and The Clash, alongside a whole slew of new ska tracks I’d never heard before. And Jupitus and Wilding made a fantastic double act. They were honest, funny, surly, supportive, dismissive, excitable and depressed, sometimes over the stretch of one show.

They had a fantastic interaction with their listeners, because those of us who “got it” would text, email and quite frankly stalk if they had the opportunity. For me this was what I had always wanted from breakfast radio but never had before (or since, sadly).

Of course such an attitude can breed a level of insularity and complacency and in the latter stages of the book, Jupitus admits that perhaps he and Wilding ddn’t do too much to bring in more listeners. Somehow without being overly “matey” they had built up a connection with their listeners of being mates (or at least someone who tolerated your company in a marginal fashion).

The book also delves a little into Jupitus’ background, although it is far from a full-blown autobiography. (Can the next book please be “My Life in A Dress” – his story of playing Edna Turnblad in Hairspray…). Key moments include him talking movingly about Terry Wogan’s breakfast show, and turning his ire on terrible terrible commercial radio breakfast shows. At the end of each chapter, a list of songs to reflect it’s mood. I think I’ve heard of about 50% of them, know about 75% of the artists.

If this comes across as all a bit fangirrly from me, I admit it is. Not only did I learn a lot more about music, but my then five year old daughter became a huge fan of Billy Bragg as a result of listening to the show. (Once when Bragg was on the show, I emailed the Phills to let them now she did a fab version of “New England”, Barking accent and all. Sadly I missed the reply that asked if they could phone us so she could sing down the phone at Billy)

If you’re passionate about music, if you love 6Music, if you loved Peel and the kind of things he tried to achieve, if you HATE commercial radio with a fiery and intense passion, then this book is definitely for you.
For those who miss Phil and Phill’s banter, check out the Perfect Ten podcast, if you miss their music choices, check out Playdio on Spotify.

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~ by moviegrrlreviews on September 4, 2010.

2 Responses to “Book Review – Good Morning Nantwich”

  1. Great review. Thanks for the podcast and music links. Checking them out now.

  2. We too like Phill.

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