Easing into the morning

I remember a time, in the past, when I used to listen to Lyric FM in the morning. This seems to be increasingly hard if not impossible.

I remember a time, in the past, when Marty Whelan was one of the biggest stars in Irish radio. And then he went to Century.

Century was a good station; I regret that economically it just didn’t make it. However, Marty Whelan was well suited for the morning on popular radio. Less so on Lyric FM in my view.

It seems like you have a choice of two distinct styles of radio in the morning in Ireland; news, or chatter with some music thrown in. There is no easing into the morning any more. And when you switch on Lyric, the so called classical music station, it’s a bit regrettable to be encountering, amongst other things, Paul Brady and Bon Jovi. I don’t hear 4FM playing much in the way of Rachmaninov. And 2FM probably doesn’t play much Tchaikovsky either.

So.

What I’d like is a radio show – on Lyric – that doesn’t play music which is pretty ubiquitous on almost every other radio show in the country. I mean, Bon Jovi get an outting on every local station and most of the other nationals as well. I’d like that music to be classical and easing me into the day. And most of all, I want it presented by someone who doesn’t feel the need to be entertaining and banterful and bashing my ears with drivel in the morning.

In Ireland, this is too much to ask. So, if I am within network connectivity at the relevant time, I listen to YLE Klassinen from Finland. They play mainly music, mainly full works and the music is broken only to tell me what it is and to read the news once in a while.

It’s not that hard.

In the meantime, my view is that Marty Whelan belongs on 4FM.

Leaflet drops

Over on the Journal, there is a local election candidate complaining about No Junk Mail notices.

It’s an utterly depressing piece. She hates No Junk Mail notices because she interprets them as meaning 1 of 2 things; you want no unsolicited mail or you don’t want any of the stuff that isn’t political.

I think there is an element of wishful thinking there. Most people who don’t want junk mail don’t want any; they are sick of constantly recycling stuff that comes through their letter box. I have a dustbin inside my front door because at least then, dealing with it takes less effort than it would to be to bring it into the recycling bin in the kitchen.

The issue – as I see it – is junk mail is overdone. I fill the bin every week. NO kidding. And it is only going to get worse because the elections are coming up.

I don’t really know what to do about that. The Secret Candidate wants to know on what basis people make decisions. Well, a lot of them make decisions based on candidate affiliation and no bleating about individuals is going to change that, particularly when you’re a member of Fine Gael

Taking a step backwards though; junk mail causes work for people, work they never signed up to, and work they don’t want to have to do. I’m not short of stuff to do; random strangers causing housework for me isn’t top of my list of acceptable activities on their part.

I don’t feel sorry for political candidates in this respect; the point is they aren’t any more special than my local Chinese take away; they’re only ever really interested in talking to me if a) they want my vote or b) I’m not asking them for something. My experience of dealing with canvassers is not positive in terms of engagement. Terence O’Flanagan did not want to listen to the idea that I didn’t appreciate people nicking money out of my pension.

In my experience, most political candidates or there representatives do not want to engage with me. Their definition of political engagement is me, voter, agreeing with them, votewanter.

So back with the secret candidate’s irateness. Whether they like it or not, their newsletters or VotezPourMoi literature constitutes an advertisement for their personal brand. It’s rarely informative and often it’s tempered. Labour, when banging on about the jobs they created out of nothing to via Job Bridge and whatcapitalstuffcanwedofor cheap, never told me exactly how ┬ámuch of the pension levy paid for that.

Whether the secret candidate likes it or not their election leaflet drops are still adverts, still unwanted by a lot of people.

It is not the only way forward.

Double parking lines and clearways

In the best scheme of things, at 7 on a Friday, it usually takes about 15 minutes to get from my house to Saint Stephen’s Green carpark. It’s not my favourite carpark (actually do I even have a carpark I actively like in Dublin – probably not) but it’s handy enough for the National Concert Hall, I don’t have to figure out how to get to it indirectly because of the oneway system, and it probably doesn’t cost me too much time versus trying to find my way to the carpark at the Conrad.

So the National Concert Hall gigs on a Friday start at 8. I left hope at 10 past 7. Mostly, you’d think that’s more than adequate time to get to the National Concert Hall for 8pm.

I made it in the door of the National Concert Hall at 1 minute to 8. And this happened because I spent a lot of time on the south quays between Matt Talbot Bridge and O’Connell Bridge going nowhere. And that was after two frustrated drivers had tried to kill me on the Matt Talbot bridge by changing lanes in front of me without looking to see whether there was anyone actually in the lane already.

Initially I figured the cause was probably bridge works for the new bridge. It wasn’t.

The only explanation I can see was that someone had parked in front of a bar not too far from O’Connell Bridge, partially blocking one lane. It caused chaos back as far as the Matt Talbot Bridge. I’m sure they were facilitated by having the car right outside the pub they were darting in and out of but it caused chaos for many, many other drivers.

I’ve long been of the view that many of the problems with traffic in Dublin could be alleviated if drivers stopped doing things like this. When I was coming home from the National Concert Hall, having elected to avoid Dawson Street as it has works on it at the moment, Georges Street was a symphony of cars parked in clearways and on double yellow lines. They were parked in bus lanes as well but as it was after 10 o’clock, and most of the bus lanes are not 24 hours that might be probably slightly more forgivable.

I’m not a fan of clamping cars. I think it’s wrong but in any case, clamping is not a solution for people parked in the wrong place.

I used to live in Brussels and there was a bus I used to take to and from work that had a junction which was notoriously difficult for the buses to get around and which was a clearway/tow away zone. Some talented driver of a Volvo parked one day and the bus could not clear the junction. It was a tow away zone, as I said, and the car was taken away as soon as the tow truck arrived.

Maybe we need to consider this in Dublin at this stage. I’m sick of hearing people in Dublin criticise driving in other cities when Dublin is second only to Athens in my experience of poor driving in western European countries.