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“A few little jinglettes for you…”

Posted 22nd September 2019

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A fun thing happened a week or so back. Radio presenter Nathan Turvey1 posted the following absolutely delightful thing.

And don’t miss Kenny’s little message to Nathan at the end of the reel.

Understandably, this went down extremely well on Twitter. At the time of writing, that video has had nearly a million views, and a ridiculous number of replies. Which is fascinating for such an arcane subject. After all, radio jingles are not exactly the most popular thing to talk about on Twitter. Believe me, I know. I’ve tried to talk about them on there for years.

Which proves one thing: topics are esoteric and simply not talked about… until they suddenly are talked about. People just need a gateway into them. And I don’t mean that in a sneery way at all; quite the opposite. There are plenty of topics I never think about, until I suddenly do.

The reason that has happened here isn’t difficult to figure out. The story of a 13 year old writing to his radio hero and getting back some jingles made just for him is an irresistible one. As a jingle nerd I’ve heard audio of Kenny making jingles for other people before… but for professional DJs, never for a kid who just looked up to him. Combine that story with the presence of Kenny himself – where the word genius really does apply – and you have a story which is pretty much guaranteed to go viral. And quite right too. We all need as many glimpses of pleasure as we can get these days.

My point is simply that subjects can be seen as impossibly nerdy and esoteric, when they actually aren’t at all. To take a similar example: old Radio 1 jingles weren’t exactly a popular conversation on Twitter… until Radio 1 Vintage played some of them, and people remembered how great they were. Or moving away from jingles entirely: chatting about Doctor Who continuity errors was confined to a decreasing section of society… until a certain Russell T. Davies relaunched the show in 2005, and a brand new legion of fans got involved in the UNIT dating controversy.

To be absolutely clear: nobody is better because they talked about this stuff before other people. You can’t do everything at once. My first love is sitcoms, but I only got round to watching Are You Being Served? properly this year. A fair few people enjoyed my observations about the show, but I’m sure plenty of what I talked about had been discussed by people decades earlier. This is not about cultural gatekeeping.

It’s just a reminder not to worry about whether the things you love are important, or popular. Because those statuses can flip in an instant. And then flip back again. And certainly don’t let anybody sneer at you for your interests.

Just love the things you love, and the rest will take care of itself.

  1. Yes, that Nathan Turvey

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