Monday, May 26, 2008

To Do Lists and Radio Stuff

What I need, really need, to do right now is to make a list. A ‘to do list’. Only it’ll be a ‘to do list’ from my current ‘to do list’ … a ‘list of lists’ as it were! You know, they say that if you want something doing, you need to ask a busy man. I’m not sure about that, I can see there are woods and trees but I’m really not sure which is which at the moment! And yes, it’s a nice problem to have!

Years ago, when I worked for my father, one of the Monday morning tasks was to drive up to one of our bases of operation to collect invoicing data, clock cards, petty cash and stuff like that. Which I always enjoyed because it gave me the chance to stick on the radio and listen to Radio 4’s Start the Week. I’d dropped out of the habit of catching that until recently when the freelance lifestyle made things a bit more flexible, and the arrival of ‘Listen Again’ and torrent sites on the Internet made catching-up with radio stuff so much easier. And the other great thing about Start the Week is that nearly always there’s one or two books discussed that sound really fascinating – so my Amazon Wish-List looks incredibly impressive! I am truly an intelligent, educated, culture-vulture. Or at least appear to be…

Other radio stuff recently on my MP3 player on long train journeys (aside from the three or four editions of Just A Minute that I always load-up on if I’m travelling for any length of time):

A documentary on the Telly Savalas narrated city profiles that used to run in the cinemas in the early 80s as support to the Hollywood blockbusters of the day. “Birmingham, it’s my kinda town” says old Kojak himself, totally sincerely without ever setting foot there in his life.

Biographical overview of John Cooper Clarke’s punk-poet career. I remember seeing Clarke doing a spot at the St Ives Festival one year and him going into his ‘Japanese Kamikaze pilots – why did they wear crash helmets?’ gag – a week after 9/11 and the audience sitting stone-faced whilst Clarke has a horrible realisation on his face. Enjoyed this documentary but it skirted rather over his three poetry-set-to-music albums, which have always been favourites of mine. And oddly, it claimed that despite all his vinyl output he remained an unpublished poet. So why do I still regret e-baying, in a financial crisis, my copy of his Ten Years in an Open-Necked Shirt volume? Apparently it never existed in the first place?

Another career overview, this time of Mel Blanc – the voice of Bugs Bunny and others. Apparently to imitate the sound of Bugs eating carrots, Blanc ate carrots and did this because no other vegetable sounds like a carrot. Why not just use carrots in the first place? Strange…

Which reminds me, loads of good James Bond related stuff on Radio Four in the last few days (and again today), including a dramatisation of Dr No and interesting looking things on the life of Ian Fleming. Will be seeking all of those out.

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