HAS Gareth Cliff gone soft on us?
The former 5FM breakfast star officially broke “free from the shackles of the SABC and commercial FM radio” and went live on cliffcentral.com yesterday, but while there were instances of the old incorrigible Gareth, he was rather sweet.
He may be just easing his listeners in, but there were a lot of thank yous, I love yous, and more thank yous to his loyal followers.
“We’re live on the internet,” he announced shortly after the 7.30am debut. “I always used to think that this would be a horrible thing to end up happening to me, but it’s the most exciting thing I’ve ever done in my life. This is very, very cool.”
Then he shocked us all when he told his team, including Leigh-Ann Mol, Mable Olio and Damon Calvary, that he didn’t want them “to just swear because…”.
He understood that “people are very sensitive” and that the team had to win them over, so they had to “hold back a little”, for fear of “shocking the hell out of them if we suddenly start fu**ing and carrying on”.
What? Who cares, Gareth, you’re now uncensored, right?
He even put to bed rumours he had been fired from the SABC, saying: “I’ve got to say, I had really good times there. We all had a lot of fun. We got to have some really great experiences we wouldn’t have got anywhere else. I have no regrets, at all. I have no axe to grind. I do not hate anybody. I was not fired. They didn’t threaten me with anything. I have to say being at the SABC was not an unpleasant experience for me.”
All so cordial and warm.
Then some flashes of the Cliff who had held down 5FM’s breakfast slot since 2006. To a hater called Ron, who suggested Cliff should have been aborted as a foetus, he hit back: “Ron, I would love you if you unsubscribed. I never want to get any e-mail from you again. I want you to drive off the edge of a very high mountain in your horrible little Datsun, and I never ever, ever want to hear a sound from your fat face again.”
He also did away with traditional news bulletins.
Then later he played a short clip (there’s no music on the show, because “the part of the show that we all enjoyed was outside of the music”) of little-known rapper YG’s explicit song, My Nigga, just to remind everyone who was boss now.
“We could never play this before,” he said. “You know, we’re adults. Nobody’s died. This is fantastic, don’t you love it?”
He found it “ridiculous” that “there’s a guy who sits in an office and decides what everyone else should listen to”.
The show is on cliffcentral.com between 7.30- 9am on weekdays, and Cliff said he hoped they would be 24-7 by mid-May. He also teased an interview with EFF leader Julius Malema for this morning. – Andile Ndlovu