Strangely enough, despite his limitations – he’s hopelessly out of his depth when it comes to politics – the rotund DJ does illustrate something about the level of discourse in the North. Billed as a shock jock, Norn Iron’s equivalent of Stern or Imus I presume, the only times Nolan deviates from conventional wisdom is when his heroic ability to miss the point kicks in. There is no break from the sycophancy that surrounds our political class – you have to go to The Folks On The Hill for that. Steve makes up for this, however, by affecting a permanently raised voice which is meant to give the impression of anger.
I happened to catch a little of Nolan Live on BBCNI last week. The topic for discussion was anti-social behaviour, arising from the small riot in Bangor a few days before. The local media have been pretty unanimous in avoiding the pertinent point, which is that the drunken youth involved had gone to Bangor for a big Orange hooley. The Orange brethren have escaped totally unscathed. Did Nolan break with the consensus? No, he did not. Instead, he vox-popped some kids from, er, Poleglass, who I am fairly confident in saying were not in Bangor following the Orangemen. What made the interview even more hilarious was that the Poleglass youth had obviously been prepped by some community worker.
The interview went something like this:
Nolan: “Oi! What have youse anti-social youth got to say for yourselves?”
Poleglass youth: “We need more youth centres. Gissa grant.”
And that’s without going into our shock jock’s shockingly sycophantic tête-à-tête with Big Ian…
You would think one dose of Nolan in one week would be enough for anyone. But last night I was innocently flicking through the wireless when I happened to catch the chubby chatterbox on Five Live. The topic of conversation was the gallant sailors of the Royal Navy who had gone on a pleasure cruise, iPods in pockets, only to be picked up by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard who subjected them to cruel and unusual punishments such as, well, forcing them to play ping-pong and calling them Mr Bean. Then the Iranians showed a flair for PR that made Britain look like a banana republic.
This is ripe ground for anyone with a sense of the absurd. Gorgeous George, filling in for Gaunty on talkSPORT last week, was especially funny. How did Nolan perform?
Punter: “These sailors. What a bunch of big jessies, eh?”
Nolan: “They were in fear of their lives! They could have been killed!”
Punter: “Didn’t you see them playing ping-pong?”
Nolan (approaching apoplexy): “That was edited footage! It was PROPAGANDA!!!”
Then we drifted off into a discussion of Prince William’s engagement, something that interests me not in the slightest. I got as far as
Punter: “I think the girl is well out of it, she’s already wasted four years on this twerp.”
Nolan: “They might have been in love you know!”
before having to change channels. Lord give me strength. If you have the endurance, Angry Steve can actually be unintentionally hilarious, but I find he works best in small doses.