Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Quiet Desperation

Radio 4: something you'd never want to be without. But, occasionally, capable of inspiring extreme and passionate dislike. The Archers, for instance, I can't bear to an almost allergic degree. 'Dum-dee-dum-dee-dum-dee-dee...' triggers a spasmodic launch towards the off button.

Quite strange, really, as it's pretty much all stolid, middle-of-the-road fare. But then that description gives it away: stolid, complacent, self-satisfied, bien pensant, intellectually lazy, middle-of-the-road fare. Fare.

And the reason this so enrages is, I'm sure, a product of the narcissistic significance of small differences. Those adjectives are exactly the ones that Radio 4 listeners like me fear might be applied to themselves - and secretly suspect they should be.

Anyway, here's an idea for the most platonically awful Radio 4 programme. Quiet Desperation: a whimsical look at human misery. Like You and Yours meets Saturday Live. The tone would be warm, involving and, like the title, gently ironic.

Naturally, it would be 'interactive'. A regular feature would be Your Way, where listeners would relate their sad and distressing stories to the accompaniment of a well-known tune played on an instrument of their own.

So: Olivia Strett on the death of her mother from cancer to the Theme From Mash played on elastic bands stretched across a selection of plastic milk cartons. Marjorie Orme on her bike accident (broken pelvis, leg and laptop) to Love Lifts Us Up Where We Belong played on Apple's GarageBand.

No problem finding the right presenter. Spoilt for choice, really.


Brit said...

Sounds good. Or perhaps something like this.

No Good Boyo said...

Proposec it to whatever plank runs Radio 4 these days. It's like Our Tune for people whose kids are at Oxford

Gaw said...

Boyo: Would do, but my maths aren't up to the demography.

Gadjo Dilo said...

"Quiet Desperation": a prog so awful it can hardly be imagined, but I'll try. Celia Frome on the failure of her Whirlpool washing machine to cleanse slub silk properly, accompanied by David Soul's "Don't Give Up On Us" played on Celia on the lute.

That John Waite bloke with the reassuring yet meaningless voice from You & Yours would surely be the presenter.

Gaw said...

Gadj: What puzzles me is why whimsy seems now to be mandatory on R4. It used to be safely corralled in R2 but has somehow broken loose. There's probably a policy document on it somewhere.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Gaw, I'm totally with you on the whimsy. I'm totally Radio 4, me, but haven't been in Blighty for a while. Do they still have The Now Show and other similar stuff broadcast at 6:30pm? That would still make it bearable for me.