Few things on Fleet Street are as reliably embarrassing as the Daily Telegraph’s efforts to appeal to the Yoof market. Experience is a tough dominie however and, unabashed, the paper still strives to attract a younger, hipper type of reader even though said types of reader should sensibly be banned form purchasing the Telegraph. It is all very silly. We want the Telegraph to be the Telegraph.
Three cheers then for Rev Dr Peter Mullen, Rector of St Michael, Cornhill and St Sepulchre-without-Newgate in the City of London, who has written this splendid, trencant piece asking, with good reason, Why is every BBC programme invested with a blast of pop music? Why indeed and even on Radio 4? As our man in the dog collar observes:
No programme escapes without this unseemly eruption of noise, whether it’s lions on the Masai Mara or the football results. The producers and presenters are in thrall to this trash – but they have no right to suppose that listeners are too. It is a form of institutional philistinism in keeping with the BBC’s relentlessly dumbed down, anti-elitist and faux-proletarian agenda. This is chiefly demonstrated by the fact that presenters do not refer to this noise as “pop music”: they have the impertinence and the ignorance to call it “music”.
But music is Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Bruckner, Elgar, Vaughan Williams and the other great masters. There is also something very appealing which in better days was known as “light music”: Strauss waltzes, The Merry Widow, Hollywood musicals and songs from the shows. But people had the taste and education to know the difference between such pleasant diversions and the aesthetic and spiritual grandeur of classical music.I wouldn’t want to ban pop music, but there is too much of it. Already there are hundreds of radio and TV stations which play nothing else. Surely we might preserve Radio Four as a pop-free zone?
Surely indeed! Quite right too. Newspapers should be as comfortable and reassuring as an ancient pair of well-worn slippers. Reverend Mullen thus provides a vital service in helping ensure that something of the spirit of the Telegraph, much diminished in recent yoof-obsessed years, still endures.