amongst them, Trevor the sheep.
October 28, 2020 10:59 PM   Subscribe

The full run of Chris Morris' dark comedy radio program Blue Jam is available, in mp3 format, at the Internet Archive. (previously and in AskMeFi)

(Apologies if this counts as a dupe. But, as far as I can tell, it's been 16 years, and the last one is dead links and multi-part RealMedia files. I was excited to find a high quality archive.)
posted by eotvos (14 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
Excellent find!
posted by mykescipark at 11:13 PM on October 28 [1 favorite]

So many dark and absurd moments, and so much great brithop and late 90s music. Highlights for me include the suicide journalist and Jerry Springer interview in season 2. Morris was definitely deep into some Will Self when writing the more absurd bits.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 11:20 PM on October 28

I missed this weird-radio world, but I think I should start listening. Thanks for sharing this article.

Does anyone do weird-radio anymore? Is radio dead?

I was hoping that in this world of popular podcasting, there'd be a rebirth of weird sonic experimentation, but it feels like 90% of podcasting is three bros talking about whatever was in the New York Times last week, but poorly.
posted by sixohsix at 1:46 AM on October 29 [4 favorites]

Timely find, thanks! Ever since hearing Blindboy extol Blue Jam as one of the kernels from which his own (quite unique) podcasting grew (at about 50 minutes into the rather “meta” Krapps Last Jape ep), and then Adam Buxton’s two-episode ramblechat with Chris Morris, I’ve been intrigued...
posted by progosk at 2:01 AM on October 29 [2 favorites]

(Blindboy also unearths the same connection Sticherbeast pointed out, to the work of Joe Frank - incidentally one of the earliest influences behind the radio work of Ira Glass and David Sedaris, as the two discuss here...)
posted by progosk at 2:24 AM on October 29 [1 favorite]

I don't want to be seen as a wuss, but I think someone should point out that [Blue] Jam* requires a trigger warning for everything. I mean, if you'd like a warning about pretty much anything at all, consider yourself warned.

It's the apotheosis of edginess - a craze for intentional shock comedy which was quickly swamped by nasty but unimaginative boys. I'm convinced that Morris himself is driven by a fairly powerful moral sense - what he does is satire, but a satire of the same kind (and often at the same level) as Swift's Modest Proposal. Babies come out of [Blue] Jam especially badly, if occasionally professionally plumbed in.

*My attempt at a portmanteau that covers both the radio series and the Channel 4 TV version.
posted by Grangousier at 2:27 AM on October 29 [11 favorites]

This is excellent, thanks. I have fond memories of listening to this on, if all places, Radio 1 sitting in the dark with a friend, stoned and amazed. As noted, there are real affinities with Will Self whose work I was reading at the time and was, and also remain, similarly amazed by. Self, of course, has been considerably more prolific in the years since - I kinda wish Morris had kept pace with him. I haven't listened to the radio show since, I don't think.

For completists/masochists, the DVD of the TV series, Jam, has a complete remix of the series, called Jaaaaam, which has all the same sketches with added FX, digital manipulation and general weirdness which captures something of the hallucinatory quality of the original radio series.

While not amazing by any means, partly because of Morris' non-participation, Lucian Randall's biography Disgusting Bliss is similarly worth a read for those interested.

Finally, Morris was able to collaborate with one influence not yet mentioned, Peter Cook (from memory not too long before the latter's death) in a series of improvised conversations called Why Bother. This last is probably the most essential of the three suggestions I've given.
posted by deeker at 5:35 AM on October 29 [3 favorites]

Does anyone do weird-radio anymore? Is radio dead?

Nothing will ever come close to Blue Jam and it's "flu groove" as Morris called it once, but The Beef and Dairy Network is in an adjacent neighborhood sometimes.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 6:03 AM on October 29 [2 favorites]

Beef and Dairy is not technically made for radio, though I think the BBC broadcasted a few (and one of Ben Partridge's other projects).
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 6:04 AM on October 29 [1 favorite]

I was hoping that in this world of popular podcasting, there'd be a rebirth of weird sonic experimentation
Everything is Alive is the most recent thing I've found that tickles the same part of my brain as Joe Frank, Blue Jam, Over The Edge, etc. It's a lot more tightly themed, but surprising in a way few podcasts are. I'd love to hear more suggestions.
posted by eotvos at 9:59 AM on October 29 [1 favorite]

erm, Have You Heard George’s Podcast?

Some Love+Radio episodes reached a kind of medium-aware artistry (but sadly they’re walled off, currently).

Then there’s the extreme of situationist podcastery that is The WALKING Podcast...
posted by progosk at 12:13 PM on October 29 [1 favorite]

Thanks, progosk. I'm ashamed to realize that I've been ignoring Love+Radio because I somehow assumed it was made by a production team that I personally find unbearable. It looks like it has nothing at all to do with them and is made by different people, in a different place, about unrelated topics. (Though, its name is very similar to something they made in the past. So I'm not entirely off the wall in that assumption.) I'd never heard of the others before and am very much looking forward to checking them out. Thanks!
posted by eotvos at 3:25 PM on October 29

(Actually, Adam Buxton is someone else who’s medium-aware enough to give his podcasting work a number of idiosyncratic touches, so though his principal focus is the art of conversation, his absurdist audio stings really enrich his work, and even some of his homemade impressionist ads are singularly on point.)
posted by progosk at 7:06 AM on October 30 [1 favorite]

Thanks, progosk, for the Blindboy tip! My partner is a diehard Beckettian and that Krapp's Last Jape episode has given us some quality conversational fodder.
posted by whuppy at 12:28 PM on October 30 [1 favorite]

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