I appear to have one of the most boring jobs in the world. The problem is that now the panic and bad organisation on a massive scale is coming to an end by 11 o'clock I have done all my work and am left with merely pretending to work for most of the rest of the day barring meetings and a couple of hectic days at the end of the month. Being still glued to a chair and semi-attached to a PC for another 6 1/2 hours I have decide to moonlight on the job and am now the self-declared official listener to the BBC iPlayer.
Thus far it is an unpaid position and being official listener may prove as lucrative as my attempts to become IBMs mystic at their Greenock office, but it passes the time.
For those of you unaware. the thoughtful people at the Beeb have created a website where you can see online lots of TV programmes as well as listening to radio programmes. If like me, you are deprived of the opportunity to download Real Player into your work PC due to the pesky IT department's admin rights, you cannot listen to Radio Scotland, Wales or a lot of the World Service, neither can you download anything for later. This still leaves a lot of listening and stealth watching as you can switch screens if anyone is walking by and watch TV on a tiny window in the left hand corner safe in the knowledge that it is covered by your head and your on-line CRM programme takes up most of the screen. You can therefore look like you are working while watching Wallander.
So for all the bored skivers out there in the blogosphere with access to the BBC iPlayer (I don't know if it is available outside the UK ) I can tell you so far:
Radio 7 might not have it still available as I can't see it, but if you get the chance to listen to A Thousand Splendid Suns, don't bother. The radio programme is just as bad as the book and reading it was a waste of time. Buy A Wasted Vigil by Nadeem Aslam instead and use your time wisely.
Radio 4's new book at bedtime is Alexander McCall Smith's new novel (He of Mama Ramotswe) La's Orchestra Saves The World. It's sure to be one of those heart warming novels where a London lady saves a village and the world from the Nazis with a cup of tea and a slice of Victoria sponge cake. I know this after 15 mins of the first episode because the lady in question, La has just come from London to a small village in the West Country, wearing what the quaint villagers suppose is London fashions. Emilia Fox also sees fit to impersonate Clarry from the Archers every time she is reading the words of the villagers, just to hammer home the point that these are simple country folk. La herself has wasted no time keeping secrets and has declared to all and sundry at the end of Episode One that her husband has run off with another woman so she herself has run away to the country.
It is the auricular equivalent of lavender oil for the temples, chamomile tea for the nerves, chicken soup for the soul. You will find in comforting and refreshing or so sickly sweet you will want to vomit and throw your computer out of the window. If you choose to do the latter make sure you have removed the earphone from your ear so you don't follow your PC out the window.
On a far more sombre note Adventures in Poetry also on the Radio 4 section of the iPlayer has a study of John Clare and his poem I Am. John Clare wrote this poem in a lunatic asylum and it may be argued, was partly driven to levels of utter despair by the consequences of the Enclosure Act of 1809 and the resulting land grab by the aristocracy where peasants lost their rights to common grounds and were forced to become low paid labourers, urban poor in the new cities or to emigrate elsewhere. Trying to get a sense of the circumstances of Clare's life takes us to his cottage with a lengthy explanation of coffin hatches and a tour of the asylum where Clare wrote I Am while the psychiatrist currently at the hospital explains his mental state during the years Clare was there is a tremendously moving experience.
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