Archive for the ‘Radio’ Category

I feel like I have barely seen Alex this week as he has been off at one nerd event or another, and today was no exception. He sneaked out of the flat around 6:30am to spend the day with some agile Prodigy fans or something.  So I got to spend the day tied to my desk trying to sort out my Pompeii study notes (ugh – I am so behind it is making me quite wobbly but there is still time!).

Whenever I study at my desk I stream BBC radio shows as my background noise. My preference is for crime dramas as I love mysteries, and every week there is always a fresh batch of shows from various BBC Radio stations. I have found that I never tire of Agatha Christie (no matter how familiar I am with the story), but I am willing to try detectives I am less familiar with. (I discovered Donna Leon’s Inspector Brunetti through a radio adaptation for BBC Radio 4’s Afternoon Play.) Today I listened to Hercule Poirot – Five Little Pigs,  some Paul Temple and then a repeat of a contemporary police drama set in the British Museum (double score!). After that I stumbled upon Clarissa with the dreamy Richard Armitage as the dastardly Lovelace. Oh it was such a good adaptation. Richardson is such a dry writer but they really pumped it up so you were left hanging after every beat.

By 6pm I was starting to loose my concentration to I decided to switch my base of operation to the sofa, and watch a bit of telly whilst pulling out all the articles I need to read through and mark up tomorrow. Oh tomorrow is going to be so much fun, and I’ll be running through highligher pens like there’s no tomorrow (except there is and it’s Monday). I ended up watching two episodes of Survivors (BBC America) and The 39 Steps (PBS’s Masterpiece Classic aka BBC).

I honestly haven’t made up my mind about Survivors.  Some story threads and characters I find really compelling, and others I find myself fast-forwarding through. I like that there are flashes to the creepy lab where they are working on a cure for the flu that has obliterated the population but I don’t want it to become the focus now that Abby is trapped there. I will say that I think this is the best thing Max Beesley has been in since Bodies, and it’s almost as disturbing.

I’ve got a feeling that I am going to get some stick from my mum for actually liking the latest adaptation of The 39 Steps. There have been countless adaptations of John Buchan’s spy caper (including an amazing stage version that is well worth seeing – even Alex enjoyed it!) and if you grew up in the UK one version or another of it was always on the TV at Christmas. In fact, a Bond film, The Great Escape and The 39 Steps is the holy trifecta of Christmas Day movies.  I can see why some may have thought this version was a bit limp but I like it being over stylized, and enjoyed the chemistry between Richard Hannay (Rupert Penry-Jones) and the chick he picks up in Scotland.

All in all I’ve had a productive study day, and soaked up lots of drama via the Beep. Tomorrow Alex will be around but hopefully distracted enough with F1 so I can break the back of my Pompeii reading pile.


Posted: 10/26/2004 in Radio
Tags: ,

To me there is something intensely personal about listening to the radio, it can become my heart beat, teacher and inspiration. Maybe it is being left alone with just human voices and the barest sound effects for company. With just their timbre and inflections, you create an entity for those faceless echos. Their chatter can fill a room as background noise or solely hold your attention. There are no gimmicks, special effects or funny faces to pull to keep you. The writing has to be solid, sharp and engaging. The mobility of the medium leaves the world open to exploration, either a look into modern day harems or two guys with bus passes exploring London. It can be raw and real, or bring adaptations of classics and modern writing to you. And of course keep you up to date with the tales of everyday country folk.

When I first moved to the US, it was a crutch that saved me from going potty. It was winter 2003, bitterly cold and this Dorothy was most definitely not in Kanas any more. Alex’s semi-spacious studio was now cramped as it housed two adults and I was trying to feel at ‘home’. Though I was surrounded by unfamiliar furniture and a few suitcases of possessions. The heating was on the blink and I’d sit in bed, wrapped up, knitting and let myself me transported to different worlds and times. I could lay in bed on a Saturday morning and listen to the re-play of Home Truths, knowing that in London my mum had done the same things a few hours earlier. Except she’d have been pottering around her house, reading the paper and figuring out her plans for the rest of the day. But it was, and is, a strong connection.

It is very sad, that today I read that John Peel has suddenly passed away. It goes without saying that he will be much missed on the airwaves. I don’t know of any other presenter that has championed the unknown band, so much in this era of manufactured music and had such catholic tastes. His ease at weaving together the stories and snippets of other people’s lives on Home Truths will leave us with a void. Who else could seamlessly move from long lost siblings or a parrot that mimics Elvis.

I don’t know where to start. I have a list as long as my arm of things to do (some fun, some grimy). I think my hay fever has mutated into a trans-seasonal cold, in short, how much I accomplish today will dictate how successful the remainder of the week is. Example – last Monday I had the hang over from hell, I spent the day watching re-runs of CSI and napping. Therefore by Tuesday I was already behind and still feeling lousy. I never caught up.

So today I set out these promises for the upcoming week –

*I shall tackle the reorganisation and cleaning of the kitchen area (esp. the cupboards of doom).

*I will not allow the laundry to mount up again and will iron key items before putting them away.

*I shall work my arse off and finish the first units of work for my courses.

*I will not watch any tv, or go to the flicks, till I have completed that days tasks.

*I shall try to sort out tennis lessons for October, ideas for Christmas cards, holiday to DC and comedy nights out.

Armed with a venti hazelnut latte and Women’s Hour blaring in the background I am optimistic.

Finally, tackled the laundry mountain that has been threatening to consume our flat (not to mention the inhabitants). Compared to the majority of my friends, and other apartment dwelling in the tri-state, we have it easy, as there is a washer/drier conveniently located next to the bathroom. No hauling our dirty smalls to the basement communal laundry or out into the big wide world. But, still I let it grow. I think it’s because I loath putting the clean clothes away. Our wardrobes are rather titchy, yes I got the larger one, but it always seems to turn into a logistical nightmare. Were after ten minutes, I break and start cramming my tees higgledy piggledy. Ideally I like to separate my tees into – plain, dressy, graphic, plain vests and graphic vests.

Moi, a tad anal…never!

Generally when I am sorting the clean laundry I put the Archers on. Tonight I had the pleasure of listening to yet another sport ideally suited to being covered on the radio soap. In the past we have had card games, riding, micro lighting, darts and now tug of war!

fatted calf

Posted: 07/05/2004 in Radio
Tags: ,

Debbie is coming home.

Let the power struggle begin – Debbie vs. Adam – who will Brian & Jenny back????

Dear BBC Radio4

Was it a jape or just a bit of a tease to have this afternoons play explore the topic of student stress and suicide….. At other times of the year I whole heartly support tie in dramas but perhaps keep them to winter equinox and Michaelmas.


Most confused of NJ

blue boys

Posted: 05/10/2004 in Radio
Tags: ,

The last few episodes of The Archers have been very well crafted and brought up some important issues – male depression, child custody and suicide.

Nuff said.

This revision business is too hard – brain close to reaching its saturation point.
Temporary solution: caffeine and chocolate
Permanent solution: hook me up to a vodka & red bull drip and I’ll forget about this whole self improvement lark…

But, to give me some inspiration isn’t it wonderful that Greg on The Archers is having some luck on the job front. I was a bit worried as he was going all Wuthering Heights and turning into a Heathcliff-style persona….stomping around the countryside at the dead of night with only his dog for company 🙂

Update: Holy cow – on the Archer’s front…..going to take a while for this to sink…..

This was going to be a grumpy post – complaining that I our landlord called first thing this morning to let us know that he and the prodigal plumber were 20 minutes away! I leaped into action sprucing up the flat and got the bathroom ready so that our leaky bath taps could be fixed. But, it was well worth the inconvenience as I am no longer, slowly, going demented by the water torture drip drip drip and since we are no longer wasting hot water I could have a shower at full strength 🙂 What a great way to kick off the weekend……

I am beginning to think that the C of E use some Jedi training techniques (or at least The Archers script writers do). Alan was counselling Chris, about the aftermath of the fire, I sworn he was only a few steps away from saying “Use the force Luke Chris…”

For the first time in the history of the UN a film is being shot on site, The Interpreter, and this was my shallow motivation for visiting last weekend. As it turned out the tour around the building and learning about it’s history were far more interesting than spying on the extra’s milling around. Our tour guide was v friendly and informative. It’s such a great accomplishment having a delegates from 191 countries gathered together but very frustrating when you realise all the restriction the UN operates under. When we were in the General Assembly the actors playing the delegates started to come in and our guide found it v amusing that there seemed to be an equal spilt between the sexes when in reality the majority of the countries representatives are male. So at least we have equality in celluloid 🙂

This evenings episode of The Archers should be a blast – at the Borchester Land Conservative Dinner Dance (or what ever the proper title is). Brian is coming across as a don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t want to know type regarding Adam’s new boyfriend and Lillian bumping into her ex-flame Matt and his wife should make an interesting menage a trois!