The week in audio: Feast Is Feast With Big Zuu; Remi Burgz; Coming Home With Vick & Jordan & More | Radio
Party is party with Big Zuu | Global
Remi Burgz (Radio 1Xtra) | BBC Sounds
Coming home with Vick and Jordan (Radio 1) | BBC Sounds
Wild Things: Siegfried and Roy | Apple TV+/All-you-can-eat multimedia
If, like me, you’re looking for a bit of joy during the longest January on record, may I recommend the new culinary podcast The party is the party, from Big Zuu? Zuu, real name Zuhair Hassan, “aka Zig Buu, aka Fat Mo Salah” (he’s a Liverpool fan), is a grime artist and rapper with a cooking show about Dave, big meal, where he prepares meals for comedians. Big Eats is also the name of a track Zuu made with his cousin AJ Tracey. On this “poddy”, he is stronger, warmer, more silly: “You say random things! It’s a pod! It is a complete delight.
The show is, at first glance, similar to other well-established food podcasts. Like Table manners with Jessie and Lennie Ware, or Go out for lunch with the Observerby Jay Rayner, or Comfort Eat with Grace Dent, he uses food as a way to understand a celebrity interviewee. But with each of these shows, you have to eat, whether it’s a full meal or a comforting snack. Zuu’s approach is simpler. There is no real food here at all. He is content to discuss with his interlocutor topics related to food: what they ate as children, how they eat today, how they use meals in their work, what turns their stomachs.
So far, he has had two guests: musician Craig David and footballer turned pundit Jermaine Jenas. Both episodes are revealing, not just in content, but in tone. Zuu brings the right vibes, married with the correct respect, and you can hear her guests chilling out. Their professional attitude disappears, replaced by something more pleasant, intimate and honest. You realize how well they made up their complete personas for the general public.
David, in particular, is a brilliant listener. He clearly loves food – not cooking it, but eating it – and his enjoyment is quite contagious. He talks about selling (and eating) chocolate bars at school (“getting high on his own supplies”) and describes how much he loved a chicken roll made in an Ibiza hotel. Jenas is a surprise too, his Nottingham roots much more noticeable than on TV. Born to a Jamaican father and a British mother, with all the culinary variety that implies, his ideal dish is the northern “stodge”: sausage, mash, sauce in a large Yorkshire pudding. But really, this podcast should be heard simply for David describing the complicated way he eats Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream.
I hope you noticed that I went through an entire section on food podcasts without using the words “ambush” and “cake”. In this I am different from Greg James, who on Wednesday asked his Radio 1 breakfast listeners to call in with their personal cake ambush scripts. This is where we are as a nation, politically. I passed from one dial to another at breakfast, and each time I returned to the Today program, I hear another lower-ranking politician carefully analyzing the meaning of the words “party” or “labor” or “rules”. And I switch to another station, again.
Anyway, after Zuu, I decided to extend my happy listening by tuning into 1Xtra in the afternoon, where the new recruit Remi Burgz is in the second week of its afternoon show. Burgz is a born talker, with a giggle, and knows how to surf the music when she occasionally searches for words. His show will grow; for now, she is soaking up the atmosphere of good times. On Radio 1, in the Go home slot, Vick Hope and Jordan North are another upbeat listen. Now, six months into their slot, they easily turn silly conversation into something inclusive for listeners.
And, for us oldies, now that Radio 1 music can be anything and everything, the playlist might feel oddly familiar. At one point Hope and North played a track (Love Peace and Harmony by Ben Hemsley) that was so early in the 90s that I started having flashbacks. Immediately afterwards, they launched into an impromptu riff on the words “-ation,” inspired by Heaven 17’s “higher and higher – temp-ta-tion” sample in the song Hemsley. Later, a bit of silliness on whether you should be able to video call friends from the bath. Listeners responded to both, immediately. A nice way to forget about real life.
I was hoping for more escape with wild things, a podcast about Siegfried and Roy’s crazy act of camp magic with white tigers in Vegas. Sadly, presenter Steven Leckart chose to take S&R seriously, which instead kills the fun. Dry, diligent reporting isn’t what this story needs. It requires more surprise, more sugar. Where are those cake ambushes when you need them?