Archive for the ‘radio’ Category

Clive Anderson on class

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

Some years ago, I knew some Americans who came to live here. Not knowing anything about how to find a place to stay in Glasgow, they’d accepted whatever the agency sent them. They were overjoyed to find out they’d be living on an estate! …the Queen lives on an estate, doesn’t she? When it turned out to be a housing estate in the east end of Glasgow, they were less pleased.

Clive Anderson came up with a great quote in his “Chat Room” radio programme last week.

“The upper classes tend to be similar to the lower classes. There’s a sort of established theory… They gamble a lot, they drink a lot, they smash up things, they have lots of children, they marry young, they live on estates, they have guns.”

Excellent! So true…

This was in the context of a serious discussion about David Attenborough’s support of the Stop At Two campaign for population control. For more info: http://www.optimumpopulation.org/

RIP Clement Freud

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

Ah… another one bites the dust. One less of those Grand Old Men of British Radio: the lovable lively eccentrics.

In recent years, we’ve lost : John Peel, Ned Sherrin, Humphrey Lyttelton…

Is it too much to hope Nicholas Parsons keeps in good health for a bit longer?

So, for those who don’t know: Clement Freud was grandson of Sigmund, brother of Lucien, a renowned cook, a Liberal MP and radio broadcaster.

I knew him mainly for his droll dry wit on “Just A Minute” – a programme that appeals to me for its combination of Silliness and Pedantry. But apparently I was – as a very young child – present at a cookery demonstration of his and heckled in a very loud voice “Why is that man burning sausages?” To which he returned a hard stare.

One other thing to mention. According to popbitch, he was spotted at a Sonic Youth gig. No idea if this was corroborated, but I like to believe it’s true.

Star Wars and terrorism

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

I’ve been saying this for a long time, for anyone who would listen: why do we revere characters in the film “Star Wars” who are essentially using the same thinking as the Islamic (or any other!) terrorists we hate so much. My point being that we should be looking not at whose side people are on but what their methods are. I disapprove of the use of violence by Bush just as much as by bin Laden.

Now finally, BBC Radio 4 has made a comedy sketch which encapsulates this far more concisely than I ever did.

Humphrey Lyttelton

Saturday, April 26th, 2008

Oh dear. Humphrey Lyttelton died last night.

86 is a pretty decent age to get to, though!

Sad there will be no more “I’m sorry I haven’t a clue”… or at least, they will never be quite the same.

Radio 4 had seem so reliant on old men… With John Peel (a shock early death) and Ned Sherrin gone, who is left? Nicholas Parsons and Clement Freud are getting on a bit, well into their 80s. All these Old Men of Radio… Barry Cryer must be getting on a bit, though he seems robust to the point of indestructible, fitting with his adolescent character and childish sense of humour.

OK, I’m not big fan of trad jazz, but understand his importance. And of course know his contribution to Radiohead’s “amnesiac”. And the Beatles “Lady Madonna”!

Lyttelton ran a jazz club; told very rude jokeson Radio 4; presented a jazz programme on radio 2 for 40 years; had an old 1970s Volvo, which he still maintained even though it had been round the clock 3 times. He was a calligraphy expert, a cartoonist on the Daily Mail, a journalist and “romantic socialist”.

He was also – admirably – among a small group of people who have turned down a knighthood. (A group which includes: David Bowie, Alan Bennett, Thomas Hardy, Rudyard Kipling, LS Lowry…)

Well, of course it’s easier to live a life like that if you come from an aristocratic, privileged background (educated at Eton etc.). But it would also be very easy to follow the accepted path of the landed gentry and go into law or the City… So I think this shows his truly rebellious nature – to turn his back on the obvious careers and follow his love of music.

One last footnote: the name Humphrey had been eschewed by his family for hundreds of years because the last Humphrey Lyttelton was implicated in Guy Fawkes’s famous plot. His parent’s decision to break with tradition and use this name suggests even as a newborn baby he showed that spark of rebellion.

Arms Sales

Friday, April 11th, 2008

Hilarious to hear that old “Yes Minister” on radio 7 this week (I’m a bit addicted to radio 7, especially since i got my new DAB radio for xmas- which can RECORD programmes). The one where it transpires that a vast amount of money has been paid as sweeteners to a deal with some Arabs.

And now – in real life – there’s pressure to reopen the fraud enquiry about Saudi Arabia and the corruption associated with years of arms deals. A can of worms of course!! Of course we don’t want to upset the Big Boys.

More info at The Guardian’s story.