‘BBC Scotland’s Music Problem’ or — A Potential Cultural Dead Zone?

There’s an area off the Gulf of Mexico where the oxygen levels of the ocean are so low that no marine life can survive in the waters. This is known as ‘hypoxia’ and results in an aquatic ‘dead zone’. I was reminded of this because with the recent news of the cancelling of both its classical music and jazz radio programs I realised BBC Scotland is currently engaged in wilfully turning itself into the cultural equivalent of the Gulf of Mexico’s Hypoxic Zone, i.e. a cultural wasteland. And that’s me being kind!

Sure, admittedly I am a poncy, classical music listening, jazz loving dickhead of the sort that BBC Scotland obviously thinks doesn’t exist here in Scotland (here’s a secret — we do, and we are legion!) so I’m heavily biased but there are issues here that need to be urgently addressed.

What’s most contemptible about all this, as well as highlighting the already widely known fact that the people working at BBC Scotland are as culturally compromised as you can get (after all, the only qualification you need to work there is to be a self-serving coward willing to to throw your own nation’s culture under a bus for personal gain), is that the Scottish jazz and classical music scenes are world class and punch well above their weight. The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland consistently comes 5th in the world rankings for performing arts education but you’d never hear anyone at BBC Scotland mention that fact, let alone celebrate it, because they don’t know how to get a “taps aff” gag out of it.

Since this news broke BBC Scotland have claimed that they are actively involved in promoting “all genres” of Scottish music but this is an outright disingenuous lie; what they have actually been engaged in is the ghettoisation and, ultimately, eradication of the arts and culture within their own nation. They’ve also claimed the cuts are due to budgetary reasons but, again, this is a disingenuous lie. Why? Because they can certainly find more than enough money for their countless bloody football programs.

With that in mind I have a solution for BBC Scotland’s current, deep-seated, institutional problems (I can’t believe I’m having to tell them how to run their own organisation again!) and how they can easily find the money for both a classical music and jazz radio program.

The solution is this — put ‘Off the Ball’ out of its (and our) misery.

For those of you fortunate enough not to know what it is then ‘Off the Ball’ calls itself “the most petty and ill-informed sports programme on the radio!” but that’s only partly correct because it’s also, and more accurately, a badly made, sonically pedestrian (at best!), misogynistic, tedious, puerile, infantile piece of crap that gleefully wallows in its own excrement like a toddler that’s just filled its nappy and is desperately looking around to see if everyone’s noticed like some form of shit-covered attention seeker. It’s been running for almost thirty years and its fine, I guess, if you want to listen to two talentless, middle-aged, boorish white men make ad hominem remarks in place of genuine wit or intelligence.

The money saved by cancelling such a piece of sonic shi… I mean, “radio show”, would be more than enough to produce not only a classical music program plus a jazz show but there’d also be enough left over to give both Stuart Cosgrove and Tam Cowan the several psychotherapy sessions the two of them so obviously badly need.

The good news is that both Scottish jazz and classical music will be absolutely fine and will outlast, and by several thousand years, BBC Scotland which is quickly, and by its own hand, becoming nothing more than a pathetic cultural cesspit slowly poisoning its own nation.

Defenders of BBC Scotland (all of whom are always the people who work there or who are looking to be commissioned by them so, again, we come back to the recurring major issues of cowardice and disingenuousness within the system) will state that they are only giving the “people” what “they” want. But this argument doesn’t hold water because just as the human body needs a varied diet in order to avoid developing irreversible physical ailments it’s exactly the same when it comes to our culture — every nation needs a wide-ranging, varied cultural diet and this is vitally important to nourish us all. By neglecting to do this, and undergoing such intense nutritional deficiencies, BBC Scotland has now developed a severe case of cultural rickets. Now wonder it doesn’t run properly.



Comedy writer, radio producer and director of large scale audio features.

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Colin Edwards

Comedy writer, radio producer and director of large scale audio features.