Guest Post: 7 Reasons Cash Peters is Awesome
It’s Saturday and, as is traditional at the weekend, the 7 Reasons team are off somewhere avoiding DIY and trying not to see the inside of a shoe shop. So, sitting up straight in an immaculately pressed dinner jacket on the 7 Reasons sofa today poised to inform, educate and entertain us, is regular guest poster, Dr Simon Percy Jennifer Best. Take it away Simon.
Many of you won’t have heard of Cash Peters. If you are one of these people, you’re missing out. He is awesome. Here’s why.
1. Television Reviews One of Cash’s jobs is reviewing US television for the BBC Radio 5 Live programme, Up All Night, though sometimes reviews appear to be an afterthought during his weekly twenty five minute slot. He talks about a seemingly random assortment of stuff including; the neighbours he suspected of being in a witness protection programme, burying a lady’s dog behind his garage, the ghost in his house, celebrity encounters in LA, the space shuttle and Idaho. But it is when reviewing television that he is at his best. He described Downton Abbey as “Upstairs Downstairs with a bit more upstairs” and the ABC show Skating with the Stars as “Rather like Dancing with the Stars, except with no dancing and no stars”. He has also managed to mock Piers Morgan about the slump in his ratings. Cash Peters is awesome because his TV reviews are laugh out loud funny.
2. Longevity. Cash’s regular BBC 5 live slot has been running for thirteen years. This is an impressively long time for any radio feature where things generally last for a few weeks or, if they’re really special, about a year before being dropped. The only other slot that has been running this long on late night radio is Dotun Adebayo’s Virtual Bookshelf.* Despite this Wogan-esque longevity Cash still has all his own hair, has never worn a cardigan, and the slot still feels fresh and interesting. Cash Peters is awesome because his slot – though long lasting – remains vibrant.
3. Location, Location, Location. Cash is probably most famous, worldwide, for his all-too-short-lived travel show: Stranded with Cash Peters. In this show, he travelled to lots of exotic locations and basically lived rough. However, that isn’t why he’s is awesome, it’s his radio broadcasting that marks him out. After using a studio in LA for years (where he was basically squatting) he switched to broadcasting from home. At first he did this from inside his sauna, until it was discovered that this made him sound like he was talking from inside a small wooden box.** He now broadcasts from his living room floor surrounded by cables and his laptop. He has to put up with numerous technical difficulties but despite this he always entertains. Cash Peters is awesome: He is his own sound engineer, producer and studio manager.
4. Timing. Cash’s slot on BBC Radio 5 Live is broadcast on a Tuesday night/Wednesday morning at 2:35 am. This is not exactly a prime time slot. It is, however, the prime slot for insomniacs, lorry drivers, shift workers and milkmen. All you get on TV at this time is Quiz Call, reruns of Bergerac and Countryfile with sign language. However, the fact that he is on in the middle of the night and doesn’t get the recognition or listenership that he deserves doesn’t diminish his enthusiasm or the originality of his material. Cash Peters is awesome because he’s brilliant on radio when the rest of the world is asleep.
5. Diet. Cash Peters likes cake. “Big deal” you might say, “So do I”. Cash eats a lot of cake: Then every so often he does a liver flush or a master cleanse, which is basically a two week regime of torturing your body to discover you have been walking around with a conga eel, a vat of grease and a sizeable quantity of Inca gold in your gut. Cash purges himself, blogs about it, and tells you how healthy he feels as a result. He’s so evangelistic and compelling on the subject that he gets right up to the point of making you think it is a good idea, before he returns to the cake, hamburgers and buffet food, which makes everyone else feel better despite not having been through a liver flush. Cash Peters is awesome because, unlike other celebrities, he is not on a constant guilt inducing diet.
6. Travel. Cash is also a travel writer and broadcaster (or rather he was, he’s now given it up for life in LA with his partner, his cats and his ex-ghost***). He has authored two books, Gullible’s Travels and Naked in Dangerous Places. The second is connected with the TV series Stranded with Cash Peters (currently showing on Discovery Travel and on Living at 5 am and 5:30 am respectively (see what I mean about a milkman’s prime time viewing?)). In these books Cash went to such enticing places as the Museum of Dirt, the Precious Moments Chapel and even further afield to Vanuatu and Alaska. He says on the cover of one book that he eats little and is allergic to just about everything, but still he went and, what is more, he wrote about going. I don’t think he features on the Solvang, California tourist board’s Christmas card list but that is a small price to pay. Cash Peters is awesome because he visited lots of inhospitable, godforsaken and frankly boring places so that you and I don’t have to.
7. Listener Engagement. Cash often jokes with Rhod Sharp (the venerable presenter of Up All Night) that, given the timing, their slot only gets fifteen listeners. This isn’t false modesty but their genuine belief. Sort of. One day Cash set out to find these 15. Not only did he find them (via the medium of Twitter) but he assigned them numbers and established a list. Unsurprisingly the list grew beyond the original 15. Cash has promised to use these listeners to storm town hall meetings, picket book-signings by celebrities, or just to disrupt a taping of Strictly Come Dancing. I for one am looking forward to going for Craig Revel Horwood with a pitchfork. So what if you’re not on the list? Well this is just an example of how Cash engages with his listeners . He’s responds to those fans who tweet him and write into the show. Last year a listener – Brit Homes – wrote to Rhod complaining about the “rubbish programmes” Cash reviews. Did Cash listen to her points and respond in a calm and reasoned manner? Not a bit of it. Cash’s response was the withering: “Well Brit, you clearly have no taste”. Cash Peters is awesome because he engages with his listeners, both positively and negatively but always to the benefit of those he interacts with and always in an entertaining manner****.
*Actually it’s only be going for about six months it just feels like it’s been running since Jimmy Young was on the BBC home service.
** This shouldn’t have come as a surprise. He was doing exactly that.
*** They don’t have a ghost anymore, they had their house cleansed.
****Yes Brit I do believe that you needed to be told you have bad taste.