A blog about my photos, my artwork, quotations, ideas, collections, passions, England, authors, handwork of all kinds, rusty bits, buffalo, and architectural detail...for starters. And the occasional rant.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Radio On Line

It will come as no surprise to anybody that I listen to BBC Radio.  It started as my news source, which is a subject for another post, but became an addiction when I found myself home most of the day and began searching the BBC Radio website for other things to listen to.  Now, I pretty much have it on anytime I am in my studio, which between computer time and studio time is a large part of my day.

I barely remember the age of radio, I was in first or second grade when we got our first TV, but I have a lovely memory of being at my grandparents house and watching my grandfather lay on the floor with his head on a small pillow tucked into the bottom cavity of his big radio/phonograph console (where most people kept their records) listening to baseball games.  Grandma didn’t like them I guess, so this was his small but functional version of a man cave.

One of the comments often made about books or radio as opposed to TV or movies is that they  allow, even force, one to imagine what the people look like, where they are, and all the little details.  Often we come up with something much more colorful and exciting than a film director imagines.  Exactly like reading, radio stretches your imagination.  I am sure Grandpa saw each pitch, strike and home run as clearly as we might on TV, perhaps better.

Amazingly, in England, big names do radio – familiar voices pop up when you least expect it.   On any given day there are half a dozen different novels in progress, everything from Classics by Trollope and Hardy, genre novels by Dorothy Sayers, John LeCarre and Terry Pratchett, to new fiction.  You can go from an episode of 'Doctor Who' to a reading of Wordsworth’s autobiographical poem Prelude. 

Even more amazingly, they have panel and quiz shows that play to the highest common denominator rather than the lowest.  Okay, puns are considered the lowest form of humour, and British humour absolutely thrives on bad puns, but they are seldom looking for the joke in farts or projectile vomiting.

BBC Radio Four does adaptions of classic and current works of fiction and you can subscribe to a newsletter which tells you what is playing this week, what is coming up, and what is in production.  Don’t worry about the time difference, most all of the shows are available on the BBC iPlayer for up to a week after they air.

Radio Four Extra has a corner on comedy.  Classics like ‘Yes, Minister’ and ‘Dad’s Army’ familiar to those of us who watch public television as well as some oldies but goodies that never made it across the water and recent classics like ‘Little Britain’.

I could go on forever, but I have an episode of ‘Babysitting George’ to listen to.

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