BBC 6 Music Chief needs to get a clue

// 19 February 2008

Leslie DouglasLeslie Douglas, head of popular music at BBC 6 (and also Head of BBC2) has said

“”It’s partly how you talk about music. Men tend to be more interested in the intellectual side of the music, the tracks, where albums have been made, that sort of thing. For women, there tends to be more emotional reaction to music. “

From Guardian Music

George LambApparently this follows complaints about the appointment of George Lamb who was deemed “female-friendly” (one can only surmised on what grounds – maybe he isn’t a misogynist?). Apparently complaints were sparked when BBC 6 Music attempted to tackle the marginalisation (one assumes they mean low listening figures) of female listeners.

So there you go, yet again we have the men=logic/intellectualism, women=emotion/irrationality. You know for such a supposedly irrational group of people women do an awful lot of serious intellectual stuff. Amazing really…. Now ‘cuse me while I go find something loud, stompy and feminist to be “emotional” with maybe some L7 (did you know Bricks are Heavy was produced by Butch Vig who also produced Nevermind for Nirvana and Let Your Light Shine for Soul Asylum and is drummer for Garbage) or maybe some Indigo Girls (yes that is Michael Stipe on Cape Fear and yes they did appear on P!nks Dear Mr President).

Wait, hang on, does that make me a man! Or does it disprove the nonsense spouted by Leslie Douglas – get a grip and a clue – women’s engagement with music isn’t just about “emotion” or dance floor classics (mind who doesn’t like a bit of Gloria Gaynor now and again). It’s all about the music. Male music fans are from earth, female music fans are from earth, go deal with it.

Comments From You

Andrew // Posted 19 February 2008 at 3:51 pm

Still trying to work out why she thinks George Lamb is female friendly, as the few bits of his show I (unfortunately) heard seemed very “Lad culture” to me.

Vicky // Posted 19 February 2008 at 4:24 pm

What puzzles me is why Douglas describes supposedly ‘male’ responses to music – ie knowledge of where albums are made etc – as intellectual in the first place. I used to dj indie nights on a pretty regular basis and found the tendency of some men to endlessly parade their infinite knowledge of this kind of trivia very tiresome. Surely the acquisition of obsessive but frankly inconsequential detail is more anal than intellectual? It *should* be about the actual music!

Hazel // Posted 19 February 2008 at 5:36 pm

At the risk of being far too intellectual for a girl, I have to point out that Michael Stipe appears on “Kid Fears” not “Cape Fear” from 1989 album Indigo Girls.

Jo // Posted 19 February 2008 at 6:08 pm

Radical thought- if you want ‘female friendly’ why not an actual female? Oh because there can’t be any women out there who know their stuff, indie music-wise, can there?

Genevieve // Posted 20 February 2008 at 1:49 am

And what, praytell, would this dude think of emo bands, which are almost entirely fronted by men?

Louise Livesey // Posted 20 February 2008 at 12:45 pm

I consider my hands rightly slapped for getting the title wrong – glad it was right enough for you to get which one I meant though!

Hannah // Posted 20 February 2008 at 4:47 pm

This has me furious…I used to love 6music because it was so female-friendly, there are several djs, Steve Lamacq in particular, who constantly play and promote talented female bands. The best thing was that on that station it seemed normal to play back to back female fronted bands for half an hour or have an all-woman band in session – very rarely do they point out that there are women in the band in that patronising “and now we’ve got a song from a lovely female singer-songwriter” way. George Lamb, however, appears to be a total idiot and I can’t stand to have him on for long enough to work out if he’s sexist or not although he sounds like the type to make sexist jokes. Also I’m fairly sure that Nemone (a woman) used to have that slot, which as someone else said is surely more female-friendly?

I also completely agree that the obsessive fact learning of some indie men as some sort of proof of their superior love of music just marks them out as irritating losers. The time some of my friends spend on the “intellectual” side of music I spend learning chinese (and of course reading about feminism!)…but I listen to and know as much music and go to as many gigs. I think my way is more intelligent and dont regret may lack of masculin intellectualism.

Chloe // Posted 20 February 2008 at 5:12 pm

I love that she says, “Men tend to be more interested in the intellectual side of the music, the tracks, where albums have been made, that sort of thing.” What the hell she means by ‘the tracks’ is beyond me – I thought all music lovers were interested in the tracks?!

(Also, surely, the intellectual side of music is in the interpretation of the music itself, the lyrics, etc., rather than pointless trivia?)

June // Posted 22 February 2008 at 1:57 am

I think I puked a bit when I read this, first on the page. Then I looked up that Leslie woman and found this lovely page.

I’m planning on spending the rest of my life playing music. I’m hugely insulted by these assumptions.

Music is an emotional and spiritual experience at times, but the intelligence aspect is always there when I listen. I appreciate the music better simply because I can understand, or at least appreciate the majesty of it. I’ve played with some jazz ensembles where the entire piece is a series of phrases scratched out on a sheet of paper and about creating a feeling and the group representing it their own way. We didn’t understand what was going on, not at all, but the way the music “happened” anyways, and all the connections that were made at least show that level of comprehension can be reached despite gender.

All I can do is shake my head and wonder how such a person could end up on a radio station with the opportunity of reaching such a multitude of listeners and to fill their heads with this.

Anyways, That’s my rant.

Tracy K // Posted 22 February 2008 at 8:56 am

Try listening to Lamb and try not to be offended. He persistently objectifies women, especially “boss-eyed birds”. He treats talented female musicians with contempt, eg Cat Power, who he persistently asked had she been “tonguing” an actor. He spent his whole interview with Duffy amusingly confusing her with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. See what he did there?

Lesley Douglas is using the man vs woman thing as a smokescrenn to continue promoting presenters who are like Chris Moyles clones, and we all know how he treats women. It’s so disappointing, 6 Music used to be a place for ALL music lovers to feel represented and welcomed. Now there are swathes of loyal listeners switching off because of Douglas’s pushing of her own agenda.

Dom // Posted 22 February 2008 at 10:32 am

Yes, please note that this whole issue was raised as a defence of the execrable George Lamb show on 6Music, weekdays 10-1. Recent ‘female-friendly’ behaviour by gorgeous George has included describing a female musician who had just played live on the show as ‘well up for it’, asking another female musician if she had kissed an actor ‘with tongues’ and describing Kate Bush as ‘a woman who likes to be touched’.

Baron Von SealPuppen // Posted 27 February 2008 at 1:15 pm

BB6 music Listeners react to George Lamb’s extended contract.


BBC 6 Music listener’s have responded to Lesley Douglas extending the contract of the ‘lad’s mag’ style presenter George Lamb’s contract until October 2008, by organising a monthly text and e mail protest.

The protest is due to take place on the first Monday of each month, with disgruntled listeners texting and e mailing George Lamb’s show between 10am and 1pm the lyrics from a well known song, with the aim to completely overload the show’s communication systems.

The text protest is a response to Douglas’ claims that a shows success is currently judged on the interactive feedback during its broadcast:

” they get lots and lots and lots more emails and texts than they ever have done in that slot, being actually really positive about the show”

However listeners have pointed out that texting the word ‘Shabba’ (George Lamb’s catch phrase) does NOT reflect a quality music programme, and that producers should increase the number of songs broadcast during the show and lesson the inane chatter if they wish to broadcast a show that fits the station’s remit.

The first text e mail protest will be on Monday 3rd March with ‘Hang the DJ’ by The Smiths humorously chosen as the source of lyrics. ‘Mediocrity Rules’ by New york band Le Tigre is the song chosen for the protest on Monday 7th April, and is a further response to Douglas’ claims about male listener’s analysing music more ‘intellectually’ than female ’emotional’ ones.


Online petition:

Message board responses to Lesley Douglas’ comments: to listen again to the interview go to 21 minutes and 45 seconds

To listen to George Lamb’s ‘lad’s mag’ style show and his comment about Kate Bush listen again to the first 3 minutes of Friday 15 February’s show:

Reviews in the press of the changes at BBC 6 Music:


gigill // Posted 6 March 2008 at 10:50 am

Hey there – this is Gillian here from, the new sharp and smart pop culture website for women. Here’s a link to an article on the site about Lesley Douglas’s comments:

If you’d like to add to the discussion please do sign up for the site and have a look around while you’re at it.


Gillian x

Marco // Posted 16 June 2008 at 10:33 pm

George Lamb’s show is boring and poor, I was miffed when he took over from Gideon Coe spot, I wish the powers that be would switch them again.

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