(Originally posted on k-punk, 17.10.04)
Danny Baker’s breakfast shows on BBC Radio London are delightfully and genuinely anarchic: unscripted, unplanned, interrupted only by the station’s de rigeur News and Weather slots (which, like the nagging awareness in a dream that you will awake, are irritating emissaries from the Real World which you must soon re-enter), the show is held together by the charismatic sorcery and joyful force of Baker’s cracker-barrel personality. Baker is the Borges of breakfast, a connoisseur and inventor of unlikely taxonomies: famous Doctors, celebrity teeth, the greatest ad slogans ever, fictional characters who wear three-quarter length trousers, the strange routines of other families (tiny details which suddenly reveal that Other People’s Houses are really Other Worlds), Baker lures you into fixating on these categories that you couldn’t even have dreamt of. His mind tirelessly pursues these non-topics, which have nothing in common with each other apart from the fact that they are all ‘objectively’ of no possible importance.
The carnival king of a world turned upside down, Baker, thankfully, makes you forget what’s really important. He is genuinely Surrealist in a way that the actual Surrealists - too po-faced and programmatic - seldom were, serious about the silly. It’s the seriousness that Nietzsche recommended: the seriousness of the child at play. What you’re suddenly aware of, when you’re cast out of Baker’s wonderland, is the insufferable adult weight of the rest of the culture, with its neurotic faux-sophistication and prurience. There’s not a trace of irony, not a shred of meta-self consciousness, in Baker’s curatorial craziness. This is radio as a Situationist derrive, wandering without premeditated purpose through London’s unconscious. The only guiding thread through this funhouse London labyrinth is Baker’s enthusiasm.
Enthusiasm, enthusiasm: enthusiasm is obsession gone liquid, its calcified, one-eyed fixity transformed into a foaming, teeming froth.
Exactly what you need in a morning.