Wednesday, 31 December 2008

The joy and serendipitiy of holiday radio listening - from the School of Life to quantum physics

Each year after Christmas BBC Radio 4's Today Programme opens up its programme to a series of Guest editors. Lying in bed slurping tea and not thinking about going to work it really has been pure indulgence to listen to some of these programmes.
On Monday Zadie Smith gave the programme both a very literary feel and a sense of her searching in a very plural way for meaning in life. This longer piece of reportage from Liberia into what living in a "failed state" is like was powerful and challenging.
I also really enjoyed the interview with Alain de Botton about the School of Life and its attempts to ink art, psychology, philosophy and literature - followed by a "sermon" on punctuality.
Today's guest editor was Jarvis Cocker and included a very eclectic and engaged set of pieces - a great interview with rugby star Johnny Wilkinson about quantum physics and the meaning of life; two items looked at the links between climate change and the current financial crisis; there's an alternative Zen Buddhist thought for the day and the weather forecast from Greenland! Yesterday guest editor Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor interviewed prime minister Gordon Brown.
All of these programmes are real food for the brain between news bulletins and a wonderful respite from yet another set up falsely contentious argument between two supposedly opposing views. Just makes me realise how much I miss by having to go to work, spending the day at home listeing to the radio and drinking tea should be my New Year's resolution!