First there was this…..
Then, shortly afterwards…..
But then there was this!
I listened to a fascinating programme on Radio 4 last week entitled Why Russia Spies. Various interviewees on the programme spoke about nuclear bombers (not reconnaissance aircraft) being regularly and increasingly intercepted from entering British airspace.
There was a claim that 35 of the Russian embassy staff in London were spies which is roughly the same number as at the height of the cold war.
Then there was this headline to a story that the body of an alleged British spy had been found in London.
The Radio 4 programme, which will be available for another four days also refers to the recent discovering of the American spy ring. Their low level status was largely derided but the experts think that their mundane status was their strength.
Of course it’s only one side of a highly complex tale but interesting nonetheless.
Last night whilst out walking the dog, I heard the above radio show on Radio Four on the earphones. The format is that Mark Steel visits different places in the UK and does a stand up show based on what he’s managed to find out about the place. Last night the programme came from Orkney
I thought his routine was brilliant. To do a thirty minute stand up routine isn’t easy and must take some pretty intensive preparation and rehearsal. To do different routines in each town must multiply that by 10. Mark spoke about Skullsplitter real ale and the Kirkwall bar game, the off-licence which sells prams and the local greeting to travellers – “You made it then – well done!”. The show is available on listen again HERE for the next six days. Have a listen.
I notice that the BBC has committed the cardinal sin of calling it “The Orkneys”. If you wish to risk death or serious injury, call Orkney “The Orkneys” within earshot of an Orcadian – a point Mark makes in his routine.
From yesterday’s Guardian
“The government intends to switch national and regional radio stations over to digital transmission from FM and AM by 2015. But according to an influential committee of peers, there is “public confusion and industry uncertainty” over the plans.
Between 50m and 100m analogue radios will only be able to pick up community stations after the switchover, while car radios will need converters. Critics such as the Guardian’s Jack Schofield say those leading the digital switchover have built their plans around an already-obsolete system (DAB) and have failed to provide listeners with a compelling reason to invest in new sets. The BBC’s recently announced axing of 6 Music and Asian Network – on top of the closure of many commercial DAB stations – has weakened the push towards digital. Last year, 66% of all listening was analogue, 21% digital – half on DAB and half through PCs – and 13% unspecified.”
Nothing is guaranteed to bring out the Luddite conservative in me than stuff like this. I listen to a lot of radio, mostly Radio Scotland and Radio 4, much of it speech based. At work I have an old music centre which is probably 35 years old, great tone which I use every day. At home I have various radios. The most used is a Sony portable which I can take from room to room. Heck it even picks up Medium Wave for the Radio Scotland fitba’. I have a wee Philips MP3 with radio which I listen to whilst out walking the dog.
Andrew Harrison supported the change to digital on the Today programme yesterday by stating that ‘ the way we consume (radio) is changing’. Don’t you just hate shit like this? When did listeners become “consumers”? When did passengers (listen to the announcements at stations and airports) become customers? Christ! I’ve even heard patients referred to as customers in a doctor’s waiting room!
As usual when the government in their wisdom declare something as obsolete it’ll be the most vulnerable in society who suffer most. Old folk and blind people (two groups who rely on radio rather a lot) will have to shell out a fortune on new sets and will be confused on how to tune the things. At a time when we are trying to reduce waste, I wonder how much space on landfill 100 million radios or more will take up?
I already have a DAB at home. Thankfully it also picks up FM because the DAB signal is pisspoor most of the time.
Finland and Sweden abandoned similar switchover plans in 2005 and shut down their DAB network. Germany has binned their schedule too.
I wonder, reading the Guardian article again if this is an opportunity for community radio to really take off and ease the pressure on landfill?
This morning on the way to work I was listening to Radio 4 on the BRITISH Broadcasting Corporation. The host of the news programme had representatives from the German and Spanish embassies on to discuss tomorrow’s UEFA 2008 final which is for the avoidance of doubt between GERMANY and SPAIN. I may paraphrase slightly but here are the main points.
Presenter to German (opening question!!) – “So do you think this has been a poorer tournament by England’s absence?”
German (slightly puzzled) – “Er. no not really”
Presenter -” But what about the feeling, the atmosphere?”
German (by now annoyed) – “I don’t think there would have been much difference”
Presenter – “What do you see as the main differences between Germany and England?”
German – (laughs slightly) “We are in the final of UEFA 2008 and England failed to qualify!”
Other questions by the presenter:
“We all know that Germany v. England is one of the classic international contests , going all the way back to 1966, does Germany v. Spain have the same kind of feeling about it?”
“I suppose Germany play in a very similar way to England. Do you think the English will be supporting the Germans?”
I mean we all expect this pish from Motty and co. But on Radio 4?