Ricky Blue's Other Life
Ricky Blue
Ricky Blue
is a Montreal-based humorist, singer, and writer. He and partner George Bowser are the famous Bowser and Blue comedy act. Here's his bio from their Bowser and Blue website.

Ricky Blue was born in Liverpool, England, but raised in Maine, New Jersey, and Toronto. He has an MA in English from Concordia University. He has been involved in bands and media music in Montreal for over twenty years. In 1981 he won an international 'Clio' award for excellence in advertising.

He once appeared on television naked.

His life had no real meaning, however, until he began to play with Bowser and Blue. Rick plays guitar, mandolin, and harmonica, and sings in a rather pleasant baritone when George will let him.

He is also a columnist for Montreal's outstanding weekly The Suburban.

His LCC columns are archived here

Posted 07.10.06


Rap Radio, Talk Radio

MONTREAL | It was one of those rare moments of clarity. I was driving with my son, listening to his choice of music.

Rappers were expressing their complaints and their anger.

Each song essentially was the same: We're mad as hell and we're not going to take it any more, Motherf#@%&*r. He seemed to enjoy listening to it.

I found it hard to take. My only defense was to analyze it.

And as I listened closely I realized what they were really doing.

They were ranting.

We live in the Age of the Rant.

That's what so many talk radio hosts do. They also vent their complaints and their anger. Maybe there is a link between rap music and talk radio. Maybe talk radio is simply rap music for old people. Like rap music, talk radio is not pretty. There isn't much melody and very little harmony.

Rappers find a beat and then rant in rhyme over it. Talk radio hosts find an issue and then rant on it.

It's just that talk show hosts don't have to rhyme and they talk a lot slower (most of them).

So maybe there is not so much of a gap between what my son likes and what I like.

I often enjoy the fact that a talk radio host dares to say what most of us think but usually won't because we are too polite.

They will say the politically incorrect things; and in this day and age that is such a breath of fresh air.

Most public figures are buried in committee-speak and qualifications, worried that someone's finely-tuned sensitivities might be damaged by a casual remark or a joke gone wrong.

That must be why my son likes the Rap. It's all the things he has been told in school not to think or say. That is why he is drawn to it.

There is a heroic individualism in those whose opinions run counter to all the self-righteous know-it-alls who inevitably control and regulate our lives.

Some apologists say we should "understand" rap music because of its ethnic or class messages, even as they twist in the wind as some famous rapper advocates violence and denigrates women.

So why don't we try to "understand" talk radio the same way, instead of belittling it?

As rap music's outrages are defended as being part of the authentic language of the socio-economic environment of the rapper, we should see the language and subject matter of talk radio the same way.

Maybe you might hear an occasional misogynistic, homophobic, or racial slur.

But talk radio is just middle-aged rap music. It's just the way the talk radio hosts and listeners authentically express themselves.

In fact, I've noticed that on talk radio you hear the listeners more and more.

For the most part gone are the days when experts were called in and interviewed. Now you are much more likely to hear what I call… Karaoke Talk .

Karaoke took off when club owners realized that instead of paying professional entertainers they could just hire one guy with a karaoke machine and the audience would entertain themselves.

Radio stations have now discovered the same thing.

All they have to do is hire one guy with a newspaper to moderate and the audience will happily phone in and do the ranting themselves.

No one seems to mind that hearing Joe the retired bus driver give his analysis of the causes and effects of the situation in Iraq can be as excruciating as hearing a Sam the plumber sing Living on a Prayer drunk and a semitone flat all the way through.

There are a lot of angry people out there, old and young. And they all want to rant.