Darragh McManus on radio: The greatness of King George lasts, 30 years on – Independent.ie

Ever feel like you're getting old? This listener for one was mildly horrified to be reminded, courtesy of Arena (Radio 1, Mon-Fri 7pm), that George Michael's great album Listen Without Prejudice is 30 years old this month.

hich means that all the brilliant pop songs George threw out with Wham! for several years before this are now closing in on 40 years old. As I said, feeling old. Wake me up (from my afternoon nap) before you go-go.

Anyway, Sen Rocks described Listen Without Prejudice as "a modern pop classic", and it's hard to disagree. His guest, DJ Kelly-Anne Byrne, explained how the record was a huge change in direction for George, although his first solo album, Faith, had hinted that there was much more to the guy than the blonde mane and tight white shorts of Wham!

Listen Without Prejudice was downbeat, pensive, even gloomy. But the songs were still great, in and of themselves - melodies, lyrics, arrangements and that once-in-a-generation voice - and 'Praying for Time' is the kind of thing people will still be listening to in 100 years. ('Wake Me Up...', maybe less so.)

Speaking of enduring art, You're Dead to Me (BBC Radio 4), the history podcast "for people who don't really like history", looked at vampire characters in 19th-century Gothic literature. Deathless in both senses of the word, then.

Vampire legends long existed, but our modern conception of the bloodsuckers was born two centuries ago. Iconic characters such as Dracula, Varney, Carmilla and Lord Ruthven imprinted the idea of vampires as suave, cold and brooding.

The last of those, written by John Polidori during the famous night in Geneva in 1816 when Mary Shelley came up with Frankenstein, is regarded as the first literary vampire. As it happens, I read this story only a few months ago - part of a Gothic collection that had been glowering at me from the bookshelf for a decade - and it was horrible.

Not in the scary sense; rather it was so overwritten, the thing was almost unreadable. This show, by contrast, was as zippy and entertaining as it always is.

Meanwhile Talking History (Newstalk, Sun 7pm), another inevitably zippy and entertaining show, has been knocking it out of the park over the last few months, with a massive diversity of subjects under scrutiny. We have had everything from Jane Austen, stealth bombers, the later years of the Cold War and Vincent Van Gogh, to the Battle of the Bulge, Thomas Hardy, Raphael and ancient cities.

Patrick Geoghegan's curiosity seems endless, and thank God for that - you get weary of history shows obsessing about early 20th-century Ireland, important as it was.

Indo Review

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Darragh McManus on radio: The greatness of King George lasts, 30 years on - Independent.ie

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Reviewed and Recommended by Erik Baquero
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