A Pulse and a Hard-on.

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I was listening to Norman the quiz on ABC radio Sydney. Robbie Buck, the presenter, was asking callers what made them smile today, before they went on to answer quiz questions. Here’s what two callers said (there is about 13 minutes between each call).

 

The Archers: Not for Lefties!

Well, it appears that way anyway…

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I started listening to The Archers earlier this year. Em has always had an aversion to it for two reasons mainly: 1) It’s about the middle classes and small village mentality (her thoughts) and 2) It’s on Radio 4.

I can’t explain really just WHY I was that interested in it. Perhaps I saw it as an exercise into ‘how the other half live’. Which to a degree it sort of is. I get a giggle out of some the somewhat coservative slant of the characters. I find it amusing. But I am enjoying listening to it.

So much so that I found myself wanting to discuss it with others but because I know NO ONE ELSE who listens to it, I found myself going to message boards. This caused some apprehension in itself as I listen to the Omnibus edition each week, and not the nightly episodes. So I had to be careful not to introduce spoilers.

The official Archers web site has a message board for fans but the people on the discussion board are so like the more prudish and conservative characters in the show (worse than them actually) I find myself very out of my depth and in the minority. Also, most are long listeners and know the characters SSSOOO well – or at least THINK they do (and therefore perhaps judge them way more harshly than someone like me, only several months into listening, only just got to grips with all the characters and still not privy to a lot of back story) – and know them far better than I.

So I thought I’d look at Facebook. If anything they are worse! All a bunch of conservatives! I am feeling very ostracised! Perhaps being Left-wing and an Archers listener is an even weirder notion than I first thought? Maybe it’s akin to Norman Tebbit liking Eastenders? Lol

Neil Nunes: The Voice of Chocolate

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I never knew his name but I have been intrigued by his voice for AGES. He is surprisingly a lot younger than his voice seems to belie.

He even manages to make the Shipping Forecast sound romantic and has you thinking of well oiled young men in the baking Caribbean sun (just me then?). His voice is like liquid chocolate.

Book at Bedtime: this week

Coming up: from November 22nd

 22:45 on BBC Radio 4 FM

1/5. David Tennant reads Antoine Calmet’s eye witness accounts of real vampires.

See all 5 programmes coming up.

 

How Roald Dahl Shaped Pop

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This is a promo for a radio programme looking into the influence of Roald Dahl on popular culture. It’s being hosted by David Tennant and will be BBC Radio 2, Monday 22nd November at 10pm.

You can read more information on the programme here

Have I Found My Gaga?

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Maybe it’s because I’m creeping into middle age (I’ll be 40 later this year) but I am suddenly finding myself more and more engrossed in what I’m finding to listen to on the radio. In particular Radio 4 (and no…not just Test Match Special!).

I’ve had the feeling in my head for several weeks now that I’d like to listen to more radio. Spurred on by some appearances David Tennant has made recently in a couple of radio plays, I’m finding myself listening to more and more radio plays.

I listened to one last week which was a “tongue in cheek” look at the behind the scenes making of the film Witchfinder General starring Vincent Price. It was great timing as I’d only just, a few weeks previous, watched Witchfinder General for the first time, so I was at least armed with the knowledge of the film to begin with.

And only yesterday I listened to another play with Bill Nighy in it. If ever there was a voice made for radio plays…

It’s not only the plays I’m interested in. Last night I listened to The Now Show (with Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis), a satirical look at the week in news. There are several other comedies on Radio 4 I’d like to get into as well.

But now, it is confession time. I was scared to ask Em to get this for me because she has an aversion to anything that appears even REMOTELY middle class. I thought I might be in for the chop even for asking (I was going to try and keep it secret, but I like getting the radio stuff to listen to on my iPod in bed in the evening). So it was with some trepidation I asked her if she could get me The Archers omnibus! I know! I even amazed myself!

So I listened to it last night. And I have to say, despite some of it being a little hammy, I liked it. OMG, help me, I’m middle class!!!! lol

I really hope I’m NOT middle class for liking The Archers. It might not even last (my liking it). But it did hook me in. It’s a bit of escapism. I see it almost like a look into how “the other half live” because it is a little posh.

I’m already asking myself really involving plot-based questions like: How will Helen go getting pregnant? How long will Jude and Pips relationship last? What’s going to happen to Tom and Brenda’s relationship, as she sounds like she’s ready to leave Ambridge?

ZOMG! lol

I think Em is going to divorce me when she sees this!

The SuBo Effect

I was listening in to Clive Bull on LBC last night when he brought up the subject of Susan Boyle. Her album release “I Dreamed a Dream” has broken records for being the highest selling debut album in UK chart history, with more than 400,000 sales in the first week of release.

Clive asked “Have you bought the album? Does she deserve the success she’s had?”. He was arguing the point that she’s an okay singer, but not GREAT. That her success was from a gimmick, IE: she looked one way and sounded another (his words). That she was just a reality TV personality that had become an instant celebrity in our obsessive celebrity culture.

I don’t think he can quite fathom the success and thinks it’s not justly deserved. Here’s my view.

We all love an underdog. Boyle is an underdog. She came across, initially, as both shy but flamboyant. A very curious mix. She looked dowdy and while speaking before her performance perhaps came across as quite deluded about her own ability. Then she sang, and people were astonished.

I do agree with Clive that her voice is not ASTOUNDING, but simply good.

America catches wind of Susan, and instead of America doing what it does best (and fixate itself purely on the aesthetic), it actually got swept up in the whole underdog phenomenon. Just for that aspect ALONE, Susan Boyle should be congratulated. To change the mindset of a whole nation is no mean feat.

There’s something of the “Eddie the Eagle” about her. The only difference is that Eddie was celebrated for being crap! He was a crap ski-jumper but people got swept up in his enthusiasm and desire to be an Olympian even though he was not the best.

Perhaps some people are a little deluded in thinking Susan Boyle’s voice is VERY good, but it never stopped Madonna fans!

She’s a case in point. No one questions her status as a pop icon, but it was very much a balance of talent, sex bomb and shrewd business woman at work there. Who could argue that Madonna’s voice is “exceptional”? No one really. Even the biggest fans would have to admit, she’s not the BEST singer in the world. But it never really gets argued because she used her sexuality to perhaps sideline the argument. Sadly, poor SuBo doesn’t have much sexuality to let the “Is her voice ACTUALLY that good” argument rest. It will always be there.

And to answer Clive’s question. No, I haven’t bought the album (and doubt I will), but I think she DOES deserve the success. Come on! It’s an uplifting “underdog achieves” story. We have too few of them these days. So let’s celebrate SuBo.

Good for her!!

File-Sharing, Not Such A New Phenomenon.

I’m sorry if I am coming across as naive, but music file-sharing isn’t a phenomenon that has cropped up in the digital age.

This post was spurred on by a conversation on Radio 5Live with Richard Bacon talking to Feargal Sharkey who is now, these days, head of UK Music, an umbrella organisation representing the collective interests of the UK’s commercial music industry (info, Wikipedia).

They were talking about people sharing music files on the Internet. But while the conversation started I was thinking “this is NOT a recent phenomenon”. We have been file sharing for many years. Okay, it might not be on the scale it is now, due to the way the Internet has allowed people around the world to interact with each other, but it has been going on for a LONG time.

I lived in an age where the vinyl record and radio ruled. Many people who bought an album preserved it by making a cassette. And if they had a friend who was into the same music, they’d make a copy for them.

The top 40 would play on the radio on Sunday afternoon and if you had a cassette recorder and a blank tape handy, you’d record your favourite hits from the top 40 off the radio.

Then the CD player and CDs came along. Copy the CD on cassette for your friend, then the PC came along, but the Internet was a bit too slow for mass file-sharing, so we exchanged CDs via mail swaps.

And then finally high-speed Internet came along and we were not only able to share files, but buy MP3s from reputable music sites like iTunes.

The law of balance has turned round. Music sold in its millions in the 1970s and into the 1980s. Songs like Do They Know Its Christmas sold millions. It wasn’t really shared by anyone. It would be utterly frowned upon to share it, it was a charity record after all. No one would have been seen DEAD trying to get a copy for nothing – still, if you were determined, you’d have taped it off the radio. I’m sure some people did.

All the millions belong to “illegal” downloading now though. It’s turned from lots of music sold and not much music sharing going on (although it WAS happening back then), to millions sharing, and not much music selling. Boo hoo!

The horse has bolted. People have a different and much lower value on music these days. The music industry just needs to be more innovative and come up with alternative ways to sell their product.

Crime Against (Supposed) Crime.

Please explain to me WHY so many people seem to be so anti-BBC?

Is it because people believe it to be a monster? Do people deem it too big for its boots? Do people believe there’s a lack of quality programming? Is it the whole Ross/Brand “Sachsgate” scandal? Are BBC bosses and controllers overpaid? Are BBC entertainers overpaid?

The debate arose again last night as I was listening to radio station LBC and Clive Bull. He started to talk about the TV licence. More to the point, trying to see if he was able to talk to one of the reported 200,000+ people that evade paying their TV licence. This figure has increased in the last financial year and he wanted to eke out whether it was purely financial reasons as to why people were no longer willing to pay their TV licence or whether something more underlying was accounting for TV licence dodging.

Clive wanted to know whether there was anyone out there happy to pay their TV licence. If it had not been so late at night and I was not so shy to make the call, I would have called in to say “me”! I WANT to pay my TV licence, because I can see what I’m getting for my money.

One man called in to say that he didn’t pay his TV licence as he no longer watched any live TV. He used his television to watch DVD’s via his DVD player. So cautious was he to evade getting grievance from the TV licensing body, that he severed his coaxial cable from the aerial on his roof. Clive pointed out that this move would be unlikely to be enough as the man’s TV would still have a tuner within it and therefore the ability to receive live television. That what the man would need to have is a computer monitor with no TV tuner within the screen.

So the man says “Right. This is where I am confused. So even though I don’t actually watch live television, because I have a TV with a tuner, I can still be deemed to be breaking the law?” Yes, says Clive. “Oh”, says the man “but that’s unfair and unclear”. In my mind I was thinking “Well, to avoid confusion or potential prosecution, I suggest you buy an LCD monitor with no tuner”, which Clive sort of went on to say himself. The man finished his conversation with Clive by saying “I’m quite anti-BBC really, but I do like their news web site. So if I’m on there and I see a link that says “watch now”, I’m breaking the law if I watch the clip?” Yes, says Clive.

The fact that the man begrudgingly confessed to using some BBC content wasn’t enough for him to think “Well, you know, maybe I should pay my TV licence?” Melon!

Do these people not think of the content that is provided to them for what amounts to 38p a day? That’s the price of a Kit-Kat! So, for the price of a Kit-Kat a day, you get advertisement free TV across eight BBC TV channels, a multitude of radio stations, including the BBC World Service. You have access to the wonderful BBC iPlayer (a chance to catch missed programmes via an online service that allows you to watch and download TV programmes and listen to radio shows for one week after original broadcast). You have online content via bbc.co.uk, including a news web site that is second to none. You also get a wealth of stunning programmes from documentaries, to drama. A lot of my favourite programmes are produced by the BBC including Doctor Who and Torchwood.

How on earth can you argue with getting that amount of content for 38p a day?!

There are so many who argue why they should pay a TV licence when they are on something like Sky. Get some perspective! Sky charges MORE for its basic service at £16.50 a month (and who, quite frankly gets Sky for its basic package? No one!), which is NOT advertisement free for that cost of subscription either, than the TV licence does. And with Sky’s basic package you are getting LESS content. Why anyone would pay to have Sky is beyond me!

Please! For those people who are hell bent on BBC bashing, please stop and think about what we have here in this country. A multimedia service that is revered around the world for providing quality and excellence and costs us all (well, those who pay it) a Kit-Kat a day.

Clive asked last night “So if people aren’t paying their TV licence, what are the consequences? I can see the consequences of people not paying car insurance, premiums go up. Does this mean TV licence dodgers will make the TV licence go up? What *ARE* the consequences?”

Well, surely the consequences would be programming and services will suffer. That perhaps something like Doctor Who would not have been put back on the screen, and certainly not with the love and financial backing it has received to make it more popular than ever.

The BBC news site would just be like some other ramshackle news site where you have to tread through mud to see content that is most relevant to you.

Things like the BBC Action Line would get cut. It’s there for people who may need to seek guidance or advice from seeing story lines in dramas or topics in documentaries that affect people greatly. Discussions on rape or medical conditions, cancer, mental health issues, etc, the BBC Action Line is a point of call for people to turn to if they want to discuss with someone how a certain subject in programming has affected them.

Funding for things like that would just cease to be.

I just urge people to please think about what they get for their 38p a day before they slag it (the BBC and TV licensing) off.

David Tennant on BBC Radio 1.

Just finished listening to David Tennant being interviewed on Radio 1 about 30 minutes ago. He was talking about the upcoming Doctor Who special being shown over the Easter Weekend, and about his turn as The Doctor coming to an end 😦

The Radio 1 web site has topic trends in a tag cloud on their home page. While David was on, I took a screen shot of the tag cloud.

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From DT on Radio 1 – 8/4/09

The “birthday” is in reference to it being his birthday next Saturday.

Presenter Jo Whiley briefly discussed the back surgery he had just before Xmas last year. She then said “Have you got it? Nnoo, you haven’t!” He had actually brought in the little sample of the fluid they took from his prolapsed disc in with him!!! Eeewwww

Here’s the reaction to it I caught from the Radio 1 webcam. I think that’s Jo’s two young boys in the bottom left of the photo. The (I assume) assistant to Jo, sitting next to David looks mortified!

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From DT on Radio 1 – 8/4/09

Here’s presenter Jo Whiley, with David, holding said item!

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From DT on Radio 1 – 8/4/09

And a close up.

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From DT on Radio 1 – 8/4/09

Yummy! Just a little bit MORE of David than I was expecting to see today…