Friday, 21 April 2017

Radio Review: 21 April

Spending some time in the pleasant company of Kevin

Written by Louis Barfe
At some point in the 1980s, naff stopped being naff. Anything, no matter how dreadful, became a valid focus for ironic veneration. When I was at university in the early Louis-Barfe-colour-1761990s, one band of jokers renamed their junior common room the Desmond Lynam room. It continues today with the elevation of some truly awful people to ‘legend’ status.

So, you can forgive Hollywood actor Kevin Bacon, subject of Kevin Bacon’s Game of Fame (Radio 4, on iPlayer) for being a bit miffed when he heard that three students had invented a game where anyone in Hollywood was connected to Bacon by fewer than six degrees of separation.

The game, promoted on US radio by the original shock jock Howard Stern, came when Bacon’s once-glittering career was in the doldrums, and seemed to be more a celebration of the ubiquity of mediocrity than anything else. Bacon, however, was clever. After the initial upset, he began to play along, and over the years his good grace has helped fuel his renaissance.

Moreover, he’s used his renewed clout to do good works, founding his SixDegrees charity, whereby celebrities attend fundraising events to boost their profile.

Happy to advertise mobile phones over here and eggs in the US (yes, eggs and Bacon), the well-connected man seems at ease with himself. ‘I take my work incredibly seriously and my music seriously, but when it comes to myself as a public persona, I've never embraced the idea of taking myself too seriously,’ he explained, ‘I might have no Oscars, but I have a game named after me.’ This programme, presented by Rajesh Mirchandani, produced by Kate Bissell and originally transmitted last Christmas, was properly nice. A pleasant half hour in the company of that rarest of things, a sane, decent person in Hollywood.

Louis on Twitter: @LFBarfe or email: 

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