Arthur Scargill. Now there’s a name from the past. But, I seem to recall reading somewhere, ages and ages ago, that when the miners’ strike of the mid-1980s was over and he was suddenly ‘yesterday’s news’ and no longer relevant or in demand, that he suffered from a kind of ‘post-activity syndrome’ or kind of ‘exhaustion’ (I can’t remember the official name for this, if it has one). After months and months of appearing in front of cameras, of screaming in defence of his membership, of being quite literally the centre of attention, thinking on his feet to communicate with everybody and rallying his ‘troops’, he was sidelined and no longer needed to make his long speeches and to communicate his ideas and observations. The silence was quite deafening for him, and he went through a kind of ‘grieving’ phase as if he’d suffered a ‘bereavement’.
And this has what to do with Chris Moyles?
Well, it’s just that Chris Moyles has spent the last ten years actually talking with his radio audience, rather than broadcasting ‘at’ them. As the technology changed and allowed ‘instant’ two-way communication such that listeners could join in with comments, and then he could comment on their comments, via text messages or Twitter tweets, the Chris Moyles Show actually became a ‘conversation’ between one and many.
By accident or by design, Chris Moyles became a true communicator, an orator of his era, and so each morning he was faced with having to open his mouth and let things fall out that would engage and interest his audience. Well, most of them, of course, since you can never please the haters.
Yes, he played songs, and yes, he would interview others, and so he wasn’t just a man in a pulpit delivering a daily sermon, but a lot of what he had to say required him to be quick witted, thinking on his feet, and extremely observational about life and the people around him.
Being that person became his job and his job became his life. Love him or hate him, he delivered.
Suddenly Chris Moyles no longer has that outlet allowing him to talk with the masses. Sure, he can spurt things out to his 2.6 million Twitter followers, but it’s not the same. He no longer commands the huge ‘audience’ that talking on the radio commands.
So, as the weeks pass, and then the months pass, will he still be thinking of things to say, to chat, or even ‘rant’ about, and then suddenly get that ‘jolt’ as he realises he no longer has the outlet through which to do it?
He can occupy himself with other projects, like wearing a dapper red suit in Jesus Christ Superstar for a while, or even appearing on his own mini-tour in November to promote his parody album, during which, no doubt, he will feel that buzz again of ‘communicating’ and ‘interacting’ with his audience. But, it won’t be the same as standing there on the radio every morning just yacking about ‘stuff’ to millions of ‘mates’.
So what will he do to cope with that missing outlet?
Yes, he’ll probably come back to somewhere on the Radio 1 schedules next year, and stay for a while, but I can’t see it being structured in the same way as the breakfast show or as free. He’ll be playing a lot of songs and if he is ‘yacking’ it’ll probably be as part of celebrity interviews and nothing at all to do with his ‘observations’ and ‘interactions’ of old. Everything, I’d wager, will be much lower key.
Therefore, I doubt it’ll satisfy the inner beast inside; the beast that actually enjoyed every living moment of the Chris Moyles Show, the beast that enjoyed his life and his gig until they took his toys away and said enough was enough.
Sadly, annoyingly, there’s not a radio station out there that carries the kind of talking format he pioneered, so there’s nowhere for him to go apart from history. How will he cope with the deafening silence, the ‘grieving’, the ‘bereavement’? The listeners will eventually move on as they always do, but what about poor old Chris Moyles himself, eh?
Yeah, he’ll make his fortunes, and the telly will pay his pension. But, inside him, his roots are radio, and now that’s not really there any more.
Cue: Our Tune…!