Animal magic

Seems that the future of radio is looking bright once more. You’ll already have heard (here?) of new stations playing music exclusively made by the dead, and by Brits (and sometimes both) but with the necrophile and the Brexiteer catered for, there’s still a segment of society missing out on music while they work / play.

Pets.

And yes, I’ve often feared that animals, being dumb beasts, most recoil in horror when Craig David comes on the radio, but if they register their displeasure in the only way they know, they’re booted out of the house – not an ideal solution with winter upon us.

For pets left home alone, keeping the radio on “for company” is quite common among caring owners, but subjecting them to Radio One may do more harm than good.

Remarkably the idea of a specialist broadcaster aimed at animals isn’t new – Cat Galaxy (run for and, apparently, by cats) launched in 2014, and All Dog Radio and Hound Waves both exist for their canine counterparts. Experts at thepetsite.co.uk say you should treat animals like people – perhaps realising that they are as likely to lie on the couch scratching as they are to sit in a darkened room pondering the nature of existence.

We are a nation of animal lovers after all, with David Tennant recently narrating films for cats and dogs intended to take the pooches minds’ off fireworks on November 5.

I assume that dogs enjoy the work of The Communards and Minnie Riperton given that they can hear sounds too high-pitched for the human ear (admittedly that joke may work better with the over-40s. See also the previous PG Tips reference).

But what else do animals want to listen to? Other animals? Adrian Munsey included a flock of his woolly friends on his ’80s Sparks-produced disco classic ‘C’est Sheep’, but there’s little on the market for domestic creatures.

Fortunately help is hand. David Teie from the University of Maryland has created ‘Music for Cats’ featuring “purring, suckling noises and cello” to calm felines.

But the lack of any more pet sounds may be explained by that old maxim: “Never work with animals”. There’s also a saying among the bat community: “Never work with Ozzy Osbourne”.

And the chimp’s union once went on strike, insisting there’d be no more house removals (no
matter how much PG Tips they were plied with) until Michael Jackson stopped using fellow simian Bubbles as a prop for his ‘King of Weird’ character.

So who better to quiz on the issue than Noel Edmonds? After all, he already created House Party for dumb animals.

Noel’s a complex character, as intricately woven as the mind-boggling patterns on his Xmas jumpers. Some may know him as that bloke that gave us Mr Blobby. Others will remember his suggesting that cancer sufferers should cheer up? Older readers might recall that he was a breakfast DJ, even giving ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ the push it needed to take up residency at the top of the charts in the mid-70s.

Now that humans have given up on him Noel’s had to move on to currying favour with cats and dogs, with plans for a radio station for pets. He even plans to take this to its
illogical conclusion, with a ‘Phone a Pet’ hotline where down-at-heel dogs –
perhaps depressed at their inability to operate a mobile – can get motivational advice.

Until then, Noel’s radio station – set to launch in December – may have to do. No matter how much our pooches are in need of mental health care, they’re still not
allowed on the couch.

(This piece was originally published in the Lancashire Evening Post in October 2016)

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