Sir Terry Wogan – May He Rest In Peace

On the TV news they are referring to Terry Wogan as a presenter, which he was, but only accidentally. In truth he was a performer who was often a lot more talented than the performers he "presented." He was an improv comedian of the highest calibre years before improv became the in thing. He could seemingly riff on any subject his listeners threw at him turning the most mundane of things (a traffic cone, a duck pond, a home for the bewildered) into delightful suburban mythology. He saw silliness everywhere, especially in bureaucracies and the entertainment industry, but he celebrated the absurd and ridiculous as much as he sardonically mocked it.

Nowadays Radio 2 plays some reasonable tunes that even a cultural style guru like myself might admit to liking. But back in the early 1980s the station played wall to wall crap. Much of the musical content was pre-rock and roll. It was dreadful. At the time I was driving over sixty miles each way in my commute to and from work and much of the journey time was spent in a twenty mile long traffic jam. To ease the stress of this daily dose of living hell I chose, during my morning journey, not to listen to Radio 1 or a cassette, but to put up with Radio 2's dire record selections just to listen to Terry Wogan talking between the tracks. And I was not alone. As you sat there in the M1 traffic jam going nowhere you could not help but notice that every few minutes or so most of the people in most of the cars that were hemming you in all laughed, out loud and joyously, at exactly the same time. We were all listening to Terry. My guess is that the number of ante meridiem road rage incidents on the roads of Great Britain increased considerably after he retired from the breakfast show.

Good old Wogan. He was a blankety blanking good geezer and we shall miss him.

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