Friday, 10 September 2010

What time do you call this?

I almost never take time off, but this morning I really, really needed to do nothing, after two weeks of constant stress. I had Radio 4 on from 7.30, which was blissful.

News, The Reunion - discussing the Miss World protest organised by the Women's Liberation movement in 1970 (I'm proud to know one of the ringleaders): Michael Aspel the compere and the organiser are still in total denial about their behaviour, happily referring to women as 'girls' and chortling about slapping them 'on the bum'; Woman's Hour (a special with Deborah Mitford, the only boring one of the whole weird family, but even she had interesting things to say) the terrible comedy Old Harry's Game (set in hell, where the scriptwriters belong) and even You and Yours, the dullest show ever to reach the airwaves. So luxurious.

The point about Radio 4 is that even when it's utterly soul-sappingly tedious, there are things to learn, and the gentle burbling of voices in the background calms and soothes. When it's on, all's right with the world - which is why nuclear submarine captains are told that the absence of its Today program from the airwaves is to be taken as a sign that the UK has been destroyed: at this point they open the Prime Minister's written directions telling them to (people guess) launch all bombs/sail to New Zealand/take the cyanide or whatever. True story.

For the rest of the day, I'm writing my Welfare report for the UK School Games, writing up a union casework meeting I did, and trying to do some research. In reality, I'm browsing the amazing John Johnson Archive of Printed Ephemera, and learning about the celebrated quack doctor, Baron Spolasco, a scoundrel of the highest order.

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