Life is all about doing things that make you happy, with people you love hanging out with. I reckon if you can look back when your body's given up and say "ha! That was all good fun wasn't it!?", that you've pretty much nailed it. As well as that though, I think it's all the sweeter when you've conducted yourself in a way that you're proud of. Ultimately laughter at someone else's expense, or getting what you want by climbing on others, does not enrich the soul...that sort of thing only leaves you empty in the end.
About 10 years ago I decided I wanted to do a radio show that no one had ever really done before - a show where myself and a bunch of mates would just chat shit until the early hours of the evening. A show to make people laugh out loud, to show the strings, to expose the bullshit that the media and the news subject people to on a daily basis. A show where one minute we'd be evangelising about feminism or something of that ilk, and in the next second we'd be falling about laughing because someone made a rubbish "dick-joke". A show that was at NO POINT worthy, or preachy, or up its own ass, but where we were able to make the points we wanted to make, in a way that felt real.
From day one, the response to the show was overwhelming. Consistently it was the most talked about show on Kerrang! Radio, it received rave reviews, (even The Guardian loved it!), and it even notched up some industry award nominations....but most of all, MOST. OF. ALL - what made me happy in my heart, were the people that listened to it every Sunday night on Kerrang! Radio (and as a podcast). I said it a million times on-air, as far as I'm concerned if you listened to the show, you KNEW me, if you stuck around to listen to it, it's likely that we'd have probably been friends in real life if we knew each other. It was me, laid bare, no bullshit, all my insecurities, ego, frailty, confusion, worries, thoughts, feelings and all, every single week.
(From: The Guardian)
Kev, Tommy, Hayley, Louise, Debs, Renee, "topic-writer Laura", Rosie, Leigh, Chris, Renee, "Tony-The-Swear-Button-Pusher", "You Can Call Me Dave", literally tens of others and I, relished every moment that you allowed us into your lives, into your cars, your homes, your places of work - or wherever. You threw open your ears every Sunday night and allowed us to step inside your minds, and that was a pleasure and a privilege that I never took for granted.
For seven years, Kerrang! Radio allowed me to do quite literally whatever I wanted! We pushed every boundary, decimated the lines of taste-and-decency, cursed, took the station off-air, took each other hostage, turned up at listeners houses without any approval to do so, rap battled, killed each other on-air, hired whoever we wanted to, whenever we wanted to hire them regardless of the price (Tony TSBP costs a FORTUNE). We broke all the rules, flirted with the letter of the law, changed the length of the show then changed it again, then changed it AGAIN (without actually ever asking) anyone, we decided to take all the songs out and make it a speech show (on a music station!), missed ad-breaks, bugged people's toilets, didn't turn up, turned up and still didn't do the show because I just "wasn't feeling it", did links that lasted 40 minutes (when most of the time in radio one minute is the absolute MAXIMUM) - and basically, just totally fucked about!! And do you know what? Not once, NOT ONCE did anybody EVER tell me what to do, which is why I will always think that Kerrang! Radio is the coolest radio station on earth.
(Although K! Radio may be the coolest station on earth...we certainly were NOT the coolest people).
The thing is though, K! Radio weren't being reckless - people don't believe me when I tell them this, but in ALL that time, through ALL that chaos, all that madness and destruction - we never received a single complaint....not one! Do you know why that is? It's because YOU GUYS GOT IT! You knew that the show only had a good heart, and that despite the madness, the shows intention was only ever to try and make life a little better for people, and help make the world feel a little less shitty....and do you know what? Knowing that we, even in part achieved that, is the greatest feeling on earth.
There was a moment years ago that crystallised this for me. I was at a gig, standing at the bar, when this lady came over to me and started talking to me...I wasn't really sure what she was on about at first, but it transpired that her daughter (who she'd taken to the gig), was a big fan of the show. "Awesome" I thought! For the next 10 minutes this lovely lady told me how a couple of years prior to that night, her and her husband had been toying with the idea of stopping their daughter from listening to the show, apparently she had been acting up a bit at school and as she was only 13 at the time, they thought the show (from the bits they'd heard of it) was too rude. They originally told her not to listen but they knew that she was listening under her covers anyway and they just couldn't decide what to do about it....
....SO, they started listening to the show...like REALLY listening, not just hearing a few bits here and there and making a judgement call, but listening religiously, every single week. Now, fast forward to that night at the gig...not only had they made the decision to let her listen, but now the whole family listened!! She told me that it brought them closer together, they talked to their daughter about her problems and they all related to each around their shared sense of humour and their thoughts about the silly talking points from the show.
Now, I don't know what it means to other presenters to "be a broadcaster"...but to me, the fact that happened, even ONCE, is the closest thing to "mission accomplished" that I could ever conceive of. I can't think of another radio show that received things like this (this is a video that a group of listeners put together, without anyone asking them to - I actually cried when I received this):
We created over 200 episodes of The Alex Baker Show for radio broadcast and in podcast form (way, way before podcasts were cool!), and I can honestly say, I can look back with pride in my heart and a spring in my step, safe in the knowledge that I achieved EVERYTHING that I wanted it to achieve with it.
HOWEVER...after a few years of the show being on an indefinite hiatus, I have decided to bring the podcast back. There is just TOO MUCH going on in the world, there is TOO MUCH to say, and there are TOO MANY media outlets bullshitting the population and allowing people to develop thoughts and opinions that aren't going to move us, as people, in the right direction. I just cannot sit back in silence and watch it happen.
The all-new Alex Baker Show Podcast will return in March 2019, with a new line-up (apart from Kev...because, well, it's Kev innit!) and the same rampant approach that we had before.