Maajid Nawaz, Derren Brown, Gerard Hoffnung: in praise of Radio 4

August 11, 2012 at 3:20 pm (BBC, comedy, good people, Jim D, Sheer joy, wireless)

It occurs to me that I often use this blog as a form of therapy – sounding off about the stupidity, hypocrisy, pretentiousness and sheer meretricious garbage that I observe, read and hear more or less every day. It’s probably just as well that I have this outlet and, of course, it’s up to you to decide whether or not my opinions are worth bothering with.

But I am aware that sometimes I come over (even to myself) as a bit of a miserable sod with nothing much positive to say about anything or anyone beyond the occasional jazz record or musician.

So I thought I’d share with you some excellent stuff that has really brightened up my day – and it all comes from the wonderful BBC Radion 4, a station that (if you leave aside The Archers,  Saturday Live, You And Yours and most of its attempts at ‘comedy’) can in general be relied upon to reaffirm your faltering faith in humanity.

So may I recommend the following, all of which (thanks to ‘Listen Again’) can still be heard for the forthcoming week?

* Maajid Nawaz of the Quilliam Foundation talking a whole lot of horse-sense on Any Questions ? (despite the inanities of the other panellists);

* Illusionist Derren Brown, a man of delightfully self-deprecating wit and evident decency, interviewed on by Chris Addison on Chain Reaction: as I understand the format, Brown will return as the interviewer of someone else next week;

* Best of all, Jack Dee introducing Gerard Hoffnung’s extraordinary Bricklayer’s Lament, a comic monologue (yes, I know: they’re usually terrible) delivered to the Oxford Union in 1958. It was on the wireless quite frequently in my youth, but I hadn’t heard it for years before today and had forgotten just how funny it is. Happily, it’s alo on Youtube:

1 Comment

  1. martin ohr said,

    I’ve been out of the country for a couple of weeks, about the only thing I really missed was R4, ( well I missed democracy, free speech, trades unions, free press, class struggle too, but you can put those on hold for a couple of weeks on holiday)

    I often find myself in the car visiting relatives on a sunday, the outbound journey often includes the repeat of just a minute/I’m sorry I haven’t a clue etc which continues to delight the latest generation of hill/ohrs as it did me 30 years ago. Sadly the return journey often includes some of my least favourite programmes Archers omnibus, poetry please, that weekly review of the best programmes which is inevitably ruined by a terrible presenter ( usually Hardeep Singh Kohli) but I’d listen to almost any of those programmes V the rest of the UK radio channels put together (excepting live sport).

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