Feeling My Age

Getting older has its drawbacks – but it's a lot better than the alternative.

Posts Tagged ‘ Radio 4 ’

Just heard a chilling Radio 4 programme about ageing by Peter Day:
Download the whole programme as a podcast here

“Life expectancy is currently increasing by two, two and a half years every decade.  What that actually means is that in the course of today your  life expectancy is going to increase by 5-6  hours.  So the reality is that when the alarm clock goes off each morning we’re waking up to a 29 hour day – of which we’re going to use 24 hours now – and put a further 5 hours onto our stockpile for the future.”

“Since people aged 85 and over are the fastest-growing part of the population, we studied about a thousand of them to see whether they had any of 18 different diseases of ageing. We found there was not a single person who had nothing wrong with them – and most people had four, five or six things wrong with them. In the future medical services will need to take account of the fact that older people have lots of things going wrong together at the same time – and that the way you treat one of these conditions may have to take account of others that are present.” (Professor Tom Kirkwood, Newcastle University)


Shared Space

March 29, 2012 Feeling My Age Comments

Oxford Circus pre-2009

The other extraordinary thing about Chris Hill-Scott’s photo (see Future Photography below) is Oxford Circus itself. In 2009, taking their cue from the “Shared Space” or “Naked Streets” philosophy pioneered in The Netherlands, London road planners removed all those stone ballustrades and metal railings you can see in his picture.

For as long as I can remember, those had herded together massed throngs of shoppers and office workers around the tube station, making every visit a stressful and wretched experience.

Rightly or wrongly, London Mayor Boris Johnson claimed full credit when he opened the new open layout in November 2009 – and two and a half years later I still marvel at the transformation. This crossroads at the heart of the West End now feels light, open and (above all) safe. Drivers, cyclists and pedestrians are now far more aware of each other, make eye contact far more often and – it seems – accidents are much reduced.

In January 2012 BBC Radio 4 broadcast a programme about the Shared Space concept, called Thinking Streets.

“A shared space scheme involves removing the distinction between streets and pavements. No barriers, few if any road markings, no pedestrian crossings, and little in the way of street signage. The result is that you enter a shared space very much at your own risk, which is the key to improving safety, traffic flow and quality of experience. The early roots of this concept lie in the work of the late Dutch traffic engineer, Hans Monderman.” Read more

Oxford Circus post-2009

The Art Of Modesty

November 29, 2011 Feeling My Age Comments

Art Garfunkel

Art Garfunkel was on typically modest form when interviewed by Rebecca Jones for the BBC yesterday. But then he has much to be modest about…

AG: I’m just thrilled to have this singing voice that’s been with me since I was five years old, I mean just thrilled that God was so generous with me. It’s extremely elevating – it gives you one foot on earth and one foot in the heavens – and it’s my life to be so lucky.

RJ: You say you’re lucky but hard work must have played its part as well…

AG: Well yes, when you say that I think it was a million and a half hours in the recording studio where it’s not quite right enough – and this makes perfectionists like me and like Paul Simon very driven and kind of crazed. It’s an absolute flavour of love – of love and madness.

RJ: Do you listen back to your hits?

AG: There are times if my confidence is low (when) I remind myself of my past achievements and I put the earphones on and I listen to how Scarborough Fair flows.

RJ: So what made those songs so good?

AG: Well Paul Simon is one hell of a writer and he plays magnificent acoustic guitar, but I sing pretty well and I taught Paul how to harmonise with me and I helped create a very palatable sound between the two of us. So you get a fascinating combination: rock’n’roll that swings, where the lyrics make you think.

RJ: Do great singers get the respect they deserve, do you think?

AG: No they do not. It’s the age of the singer-songwriter, ever since Dylan. Well what happens to wonderful singers – you know, Sinatra didn’t write those songs of his. Read more…

The View From Greece

October 29, 2011 Feeling My Age Comments

Autumn In Athens

Extracts from yesterday’s State Of The Union talk on BBC Radio 4
Part 5: The View From Greece by Ersi Sotiropoulos

“Autumn this year in Greece is darker than in other years – a season of insecurity and distress. The signs of recession are everywhere: in the centre of Athens shops are closing one after another. Immigrants squat in dilapidated buildings, the trash piles up in the streets.

The decline has been swift – meanwhile immigrants continue to arrive in a country where there is no work and no social security. What will happen to all these people who are coming here already hungry and exhausted? Hunger brings violence, we know that. The party’s over, I say to myself, and and Greece will be (only) the first to fall.

Tourists walk past uncollected garbage in Athens. Pic courtesy of washingtonexaminer.com

I walk through a collapsing city, a city paralysed by the strikes, where rubbish from the past several weeks still sits uncollected in the streets and wonder – is this place really a part of Europe?

In 1981 Greece was accepted into the European Community, primarily for cultural reasons and certainly not on the strength of its ecomony or its manufacturing sector. The image of Greece that was projected during those years was primarily of a touristic, folkloric place. We became a vacation destination – the people of Retsina and Moussaka. Money began to flow into the country and for a few years we seemed to be approaching the European model.

Opening of 2004 Athens Olympics

Read more…

Horse Play

October 27, 2011 Feeling My Age Comments

Warhorses Of Letters
Only on the BBC, only on Radio 4…

Just heard the first episode of Warhorses Of Letters (Tuesday nights, 11pm). The authors, Marie Phillips and Robert Hudson sum it up as “a series of love letters between Napoleon’s horse (Stephen Fry) and Wellington’s Horse (Daniel Rigby)” while on Twitter @Stephenfry called it “period epistolary gay equine comedy.”

This 15 minute radio gem was so brilliantly bizarre that our entire family (age range 14-61) sat spellbound around the breakfast table with it on the BBC iPlayer this morning.

Stephen Fry & Daniel Rigby (Robert and Marie arrowed in background)

Marie Phillips and Robert Hudson have optimised their web presence in time for yesterday’s first broadcast so it’s, ahem, a racing certainty the programme will already have gone viral by the time next Tuesday’s episode airs. Warhorses Of Letters already had its own WordPress Blog up and running, they’re on Twitter as @mpphillips and @roberthudson – and a book of the series is on its way.

Interestingly, they’re selfpublishing said book via unbound.co.uk, a pledge system that allows authors to raise cash for their print run direct from would-be readers. See this link for how it works – authors can launch their book with costs already covered and no advance to be paid back. Plus complete ownership of all their rights.

Robert Hudson & Marie Phillips

The proposition is also exciting from a fan-of-the-series point of view. You can pre-order the ebook for four quid, or a hardback AND an ebook for twelve. But for the well-heeled, a hundred quid will not only get your hardback signed but throw in two invites to the launch party and a bag of goodies to take home afterwards. For two hundred, the truly wealthy – or exceptionally besotted –  get all of the above – plus a lunch invitation for two from the authors – genius.

Robert and Marie are already a third of the way towards their target, less than two days after the programme first aired  – with luck, they may even get it out in time for Christmas. But should they fail to reach said target for any reason, every supporter gets their money back in full. There’s quite a funny video about all this on their Unbound page.

In the meantime, roll on next Tuesday night…

Snapshot From 1981

October 22, 2011 Feeling My Age Comments

IRA Poster quoting Bobby Sands

From the Radio 4 series This Sceptred Isle: Margaret Thatcher’s statement on the the 1981 IRA hunger strike in the Maze prison, the death of Bobby Sands MP on 5th May that year, and the reprisals that followed. Written by Christopher Lee and read by Anna Massey.

The University Of Ulster has an archive of information on the whole conflict called CAIN: Conflict Archive on the INternet. It states that 3,526 people were killed as a result of the Troubles in Northern Ireland between 1969 and 2001. Approximately 60% of the dead were killed by republicans, 30% by loyalists and 10% by British security forces. Below: a victim of loyalist gunmen in the 1970s.

A 1970s victim of Loyalist gunmen

Jilted Generation

“Lazy Lawless & Self-obsessed?” by Ed Howker.
Was gobsmacked by this Fourthought talk on Radio 4 recorded in Edinburgh in front of a live audience at the end of last month.


“In previous decades Britain was able to offer school and university leavers opportunities that are just not available for the young people of today. These trends are not just a function of recession: unaffordable housing and a lack of job opportunities for young people have been a feature of our economy for quite a few years. The next crop of British adults are finding their journey into society frustrated – and their lives more unstable – than any of us might have expected or hoped.

If our young adults feel like outsiders, successive governments have had a tendency to treat them that way. Just consider how recent budgets treated two opposite ends of the demographic spectru: young adults, and the retired. Britain’s young people effectively lost the Educational Maintenance Allowance, they lost housing benefits, university tuition funding was cut entirely and – thanks to the local government funding cuts – there have been squeezes on the funding of libraries and youth centres.

Read more…

Hokusai's The Great Wave - click to enlarge Reblogged from BBC Radio 4’s A History Of The World in 100 Objects: “Under the Wave off Kanagawa (‘The Great Wave’) is probably the most iconic Japanese artwork in the world. It depicts a monstrous wave about to come crashing down on three fishing boats and their crews. On the horizon is Mount Fuji, dwarfed by the colossal wave. The print was created by Hokusai when he was about seventy years old, as part of his Thirty-six views of Mount Fuji series. The print was made using colour woodblock printing and many thousands of impressions were made - each one sold quite cheaply….” <read more> Hear the associated radio broadcast by clicking here Right-click and ‘Save Target As’ to download the mp3
Westfield Shopping Centre "You have silver metallic trees outside and real greenery struggling to survive inside and you have all of the restaurants in the world without having to go anywhere. Essentially everything aspires to the condition of an airport departure lounge. Everybody is doing duty free shopping - buying nervously as if they were goingt to undertake some terrible journey - to put off the moment of going back into the gridlock of traffic which surrounds these terrible islands that are being created…" "As soon as I realised this was not a place I wanted to live close to I started to examine the rest of Britain. And when you start to go across the North you see those millenial follies spread out everywhere. Eco-centres that have actually become eco-centres because they’re abandoned: weeds are coming up and nobody can support them. There was this great thing of making structures such as the Millenium Dome that had no content: that were all a forcible celebration with nothing to celebrate." Author Ian Sinclair talking about the theme of his book Ghost Milk on Start The Week with Andrew Marr on BBC Radio 4. Hear an extract here Ian Sinclair

Et Viola…

April 23, 2011 Feeling My Age Comments

New York, New York – by David Lasserson (viola) and Stephen Large (piano). The viola’s not noted as one of the great jazz instruments and I’m no fan of show tunes, but when this popped up on Radio 4’s Front Row podcast I found it irrefuckingsistible. There’s a second vid of them playing Favourite Things with the same energy and zest here.