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Radio

An Apology

I’d like to express my profound regret to everyone reading this post for any offence I might have caused by thinking of writing this post while listening to Radio 2 in the shower at the same time as rubbing my naked body with shower gel. In mitigation, my Webcam was switched off at the time—and in […]

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Jurassic Car Park

There’s a US marine biologist on BBC Radio 4 talking about the leatherback turtles that she and her team have been tagging. Apparently an adult leatherback grows to the size of a Volkswagen Beetle. Wikipedia concurs—and also points out that this makes the leatherback only the fourth largest reptile, after some crocodilians. I’m scared now.

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Top Brand

Further to my last post about this, Russell Brand makes a proper apology to camera here. I can think of several politicians (amongst others) who could learn from it. He doesn’t mess about with words like “inappropriate”, which these days is used to describe everything from ironically referencing a passage in the Koran to trying […]

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Aural Sachs

Andrew Sachs has just been on BBC Radio 4, walking around London Zoo with Tim Samuels and reminiscing about how he used to sneak in there during World War II. Sachs was born to a Jewish family in Berlin in 1930. He and they fled Germany in 1938. He witnessed Kristallnacht—“Goodness, those Stormtroopers are going to get into trouble […]

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Temper Temper / Pro Tempore

I keep meaning to write something about the response of the liberal Left media to the selection of Sarah Palin as the Republican candidate for Vice President of the United States—there are parallels with the way parts of the Right responded to Bill Clinton’s sexual incontinence—but, as I bring my fingers to the keys, I […]

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Future News: Headlines Of 2108

NASA ASTRONAUTS ARRIVE ON CENTAURI IV AND ENCOUNTER POPULATION OF HUMANOIDS SO PRIMITIVE THAT THEY STILL HAVE FACEBOOK ACCOUNTS. PANEL OF HISTORIANS VOTES ON MOST HATED FIGURES OF 21ST CENTURY. SADDAM HUSSEIN, CLONED HITLER, HEATHER MILLS-MCCARTNEY TOP POLL. HUMPHREY LYTTELTON FORCED TO STAND DOWN AS PRESENTER OF I’M SORRY I HAVEN’T A CLUE AFTER EXPOSURE […]

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Poll: Top BBC Radio 4 Turn-Offs

Following the success of the last one—current Messiah: Christopher Hitchens—and because I am again busy, it’s time for another poll. As an experiment, I will allow you lot to add extra answers to the choices available: Which of the following is most likely to make you switch off Radio 4? the sound of John Humphrys’ […]

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Bitches From Hell

I’ve observed before that there are good reasons to criticise Cherie Blair, but it’s revealing that those aren’t the reasons why most people in the media criticise her. It’s worse than that: they hate her—and for the oldest human reason of all: she’s “not one of us”. Cherie Booth was a poor north-of-England Catholic girl […]

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Passenger Ships

Also at that party the other day, one of the Young People told me that Passenger, featuring Richard Brincklow on keyboards, are high up on BBC Radio 2’s playlist. The next day, one of my spies inside the Passenger camp also passed on to me a delicious factoid. Whenever Richard and I write or perform any music […]

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The Decline And Fall Of Radio 4 Comedy: Part XXV

Right now Jo Caulfield is on, doing a routine about Friends Reunited—you know: that Website that was all the rage in 1999. An actor is putting on a nasal voice and pretending to be the school nerd reciting his online profile while she reads between its lines. No, the programme isn’t a repeat. Next week: […]

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Missing The Point

I had to go into London yesterday morning. Before I set off, I foolishly put on The Today Programme while I was in the shower. As I’ve said here before, John Humphrys’ encounters with politicians raise my blood pressure, not because his aggressive questioning succeeds in exposing the lying lies of lying liars, but because […]

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Lethal Weapon

The current lead story on The Onion‘s online radio station is: “Mel Gibson Launches Rockets Into Israel“.

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A Day In The Life

I’m in a bookshop on the Charing Cross Road. I’ve just come from lunch with an editor at The Economist(, dahling). My mobile rings. it’s the other person from the newspaper I was supposed to meet earlier. She’d been stuck in the City, talking to men-in-suits. I move to the back of the shop and […]

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I Almost Drowned In My Bath…

…when I heard this evening’s BBC Radio 4 news describe the September 11 attacks on New York as a “terrorist outrage”. Did anyone else catch that or were the vapours rising from my Matey causing me to hallucinate?

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Setting The Agenda

JAMES NAUGHTIE: You’re listening to The Today Programme on BBC Radio 4. In our radio car in Norwich we have the Home Secretary, Charles Clarke. Good morning, Mister Clarke. CHARLES CLARKE: Good morning, Jim. JAMES NAUGHTIE: In a minute I’m going to be asking you about today’s news that the UK’s prison population is larger […]

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Philip Mountbatten: Comedy God

You must pay attention to the adverts on BBC Radio 4 over the next few days. They are running one that sets a new standard in bathos—and proves that at least one stratum of society is impervious to the “reality” media’s will-to-emote. It starts with a dramatic re-enactment of the last communications from the radio […]

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Goodnight All

I do a spoof in-prison Saddam Hussein custard endorsement and within days the Guardian is reporting that Saddam’s tailor can’t keep up with the demand for his courtroom “look”. I write a fake Guardian article complaining about better educated students graduating to vote Tory and the same newspaper follows it up by reporting on hardening […]

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Cross Over The Road, My Friend

You Don’t Want To Do That, a new BBC reality radio show, will follow a group of potential recruits to the Samaritans as they attempt to become full-time counsellors to the suicidal, the depressed, and the lonely. In this preview recording of the first episode, the hopefuls are thrown right into the deep end. They […]

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Go, Joan!

I wish I had the access time to weigh in detail over the Joan Rivers vs Darcus Howe fight on BBC Radio 4, especially as I have also encountered this annoying inverted racism from black people who object to my not referring to myself as “black” (or, indeed, “white”) and then accuse me of having […]

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British Broadcasting Corporation Disappears Up Own Arse

On the BBC News Website you can find this transcript of BBC Radio 5’s interview with the BBC’s new political editor Nick Robinson. Put out of your mind this dizzying circularity to marvel at the content of the discussion. Robinson is particularly strong on the attributes that mark out a great political journalist: “Yes, John […]

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Lucky, Lucky Bastards

That’s the trouble with Test Match Special: evocative commentary, unintentional innuendo, amusing anecdotes about furry-costumed Test Match attendees, bizarre guests (Bobby Charlton—what was that about?), occasionally slightly bonkers contributions from actual cricketers, but never searing analysis like that offered by Aussie Tony T at After Grog Blog: “Well, that’s it then, The Ashes are gone. Time […]

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A Lie

BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme five minutes ago in its report on the 60th anniversary of the dropping of The Bomb: “In the United States there was a steely determination to triumph [in the war] in the Far East by whatever means, at whatever cost.”

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A Beautiful Moment

Fareena Alam, editor of British Muslim magazine Q-News is on Any Questions. I enjoyed a delicious frisson listening to the campaigner against racism and for the right of young women in the West to wear the hijab (er, even on passport photos) complain that young people wear hooded tops in order to commit crimes without […]

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Staying In Touch With Your Inner Electorate

Even Tony Blair’s biggest enemies have got to admire his willingness to sit in a studio full of publicity-hungry voters and patiently engage with their rants. My head would explode with frustration after five minutes of listening to inarticulate, ignorant, and illogical challenges, but he keeps on doing it. The bigger a fight he has […]

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Good Sit-Com Shocker

Clare In The Community is a radio adaptation of a Guardian comic strip about social workers. Given that description, you’ll probably be amazed to read that it’s also very entertaining. Listening to the fifth of six episodes I laughed out loud several times.

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My Fellow African-Americans

One evening during my recent week off ‘Blogging I was working with the radio on and heard an advertisement for 1 Xtra, a (relatively) new digital radio station extending the celebrity-/booze-/shagging-obsessed tabloid youf franchise of Radio 1 to Britain’s blacks. The ad’s female voiceover trailed a “documentary” about Condoleezza Rice with the words, “She has […]

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Hold The Front Page

I’ve just heard a radio ad for the annual national Comic Relief campaign. (For one day every year Brits get themselves sponsored to do silly things for charity.) The radio spot featured thanks and testimony from a previous beneficiary of the fund: Yousef, a gay asylum seeker who sought refuge in Britain because homosexuality is […]

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You Will Be Assimilated

This evening I tuned into a new radio station called Chill. Apparently the music I make belongs to the chill-out sub-genre. And apparently this accidental “movement” is now big enough to be a genre in itself. I am accidentally fashionable—or rather I am accidentally a few years behind the curve, because it’s mainstream now. The […]

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