Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Goats, Apples, and Toned Thighs

A little over a year ago, Jason Barr parted ways with Edge 102, and Chris Biggs and 99.9 Virgin Radio were history. Their losses were HTZ-FM's gain.

I barely listened to 99.9, but I often listened to the Dean Blundell Show on the Edge, where Barr starred for nearly 10 years. There's never really been any exciting reasons given for the end of his tenure, most likely because there weren't any exciting reasons. Had the change not taken place around a long weekend and major concert, no one would probably have cared.

Along with producer Pastey Jamie, Biggs and Barr have been on 97.7 HTZ-FM since the beginning of 2011, and, quite frankly, they're outclassing their previous shows. It's hard to listen to the Edge much anymore - with the occasional exception of Blind Derek, they've been unable to replace the wit and acid tongue of Barr, and Dean and Todd more or less talk about drinking and sleepovers. I can't lie, I do get a good laugh out of them from time to time, but not as often as I do with Biggs and Barr.

And therein lies the problem. As the show broadcasts from St. Catharines, Orangeville is more or less the northernmost terminus of the station's signal. Literally, going up or down a hill can cause the signal to switch from Southern Ontario's Best Rock to Wasaga Beach's Best Wuss Rock. So, I have to enjoy my B&B via podcast. That is made more difficult by the fact that my drive to work totals about six minutes - not nearly enough time to enjoy all of their antics. But, somehow I've found a way, even if I am a little behind.

To hear about Biggs' love for apples, Barr's love for goats (not the bad kind), and Jamie's food issues (not to mention his toned thighs) is the highlight of my drives to and from Alliston. The three of them combine brilliantly to poke fun at the stupidity and banality of everyday life (and Florida), with an exceptional balance of relaxed storytelling and over-the-top hysteria. The humour in stories such as Jamie's pumpkin pummeling (a revenge for a revenge for a punishment for letting down the listeners) sneaks up on you so subtly you have to replay sections because you're laughing so hard.

Even when they go lowbrow - such as, say, the mystery of Jason's ghost fart from this morning - they move on instead of lingering. And even so, when going lowbrow, they're able to describe the situations in such immaculate terms, that you don't really realize they're talking about - in most cases - flatulence or regurgitation.

The three would seem a mismatch - Biggs is a giant, Barr a mountain man depending on his level of grooming, and Jamie is a pastey target for abuse - but their styles mesh and differ in a perfect combination.  The Rush, Ozzy, and AC/DC fans1 of Southern Ontario had better enjoy what they've got - because we'll take them back. It wouldn't be hard. We have cookies.

1 - Sadly, the station's playlist isn't terribly varied, but who's is? If I hear "Sail" by AWOL Nation one more time...

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