Tag Archives: referendum

Listen Up. BBC at Best.

17 Oct

Me n’ mine have been asked to feature in the BBC’s ‘Listening Project’ on a few occasions. Thanks largely, to the matters that involve my family’s background, experiences, international work, kids and views on consumerism – and of course, our proclivities for nude rambling across the Trans-Pennine Trail … ok, ok – I’m joshing about the latter.


*DO* Listen.

But even before I ended up getting roped into recordings, I have to say that this small-but-mighty stakeholder project born of The Beeb has captured my imagination over the last few years – simply as a mere radio fan. But it also, always seems to stoke-up the fires of many others than I know, who have the sense to prefer the radio to the telly.

And yup – I love listening to the conversations of others. What writer/ person with a half-baked intelligent brain *doesn’t*? This is what the entire series is about. Ear-wigging. Nosey Norman Neighbours.

But every single episode is always so beautifully edited – that we always come away with a little nugget of summat or t’other. And today’s little clip? Well.  If there was ever a justification for paying for the existence of the Beeb (licence fee… cough … splutter…) today’s episode was the flagship for the entire thing.  A ‘Ruddy Dobber’ of a programme (as we say in Manchester.)

So my own wee friendies from all over the world – have a listen to this snippet of today  –  entitled “We’re Still Friends”. This conversation could have taken place in my kitchen. With various friends and family members.  All about Brexit. Why some of us wanted to get the hell out. And others of us felt horrified at such a prospect.

And I’m proud of the fact that I have pals in my life who have completely different views to me on the entire issue. So yes, it doesn’t bother me too much that I hang about with gorgeously-warm folk whose views sometimes make me want to, er, er …  reach for the Fizzy Andrews. (Hey – do they make *that stuff* anymore? I always think of it as cocaine – for 6 year olds.)

So, whatever your thoughts on Brexit, Europe, refugees, feminism etc. Just make it a priority to listen to this one clip only. (And MORE please, if you enjoyed the link here  – just have a perusal of the main website. Treasures for all!)  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07z3zfy

For me the key word on this particular broadcast is that of ‘Listening’. Backed up by ‘Friendship’. Closely followed by ‘Show Don’t Tell’. Listen to the emotions and the clarity in the voices of these two women from Donny (Doncaster) and how the real ‘listening’ and tolerance seems to be pointing towards a new direction for them as friends.

They’re listening and learning to and from one another. No sanctimonious attitudes or smart-arse-isms going on there. (I keep expecting to hear that Quakers are running this entire project  – but apparently not. Still. I’m biased.)

And – ooh yeah – let’s give a high-five to certain BBC Radio producers and journalistic-sorts.  The skill of recording and archiving oral testimony, and editing it for both needy and discerning listeners, is alive and well at the Beeb and at its regional stations – and on this particular long-running project – is showing right here and right now – at its top-notch best.


Bless the BBC and Radio. Especially this here Sheffield studio

Bless the BBC and Radio. Especially this ‘ere Sheffield studio


News Of Doom

24 Jun

Is this a male/female thing? Or more about the fact that on awakening most mornings, I find it difficult to gather my thoughts. Okay, I’ve got a helluva lot tumbling around my head at the moment – but was there really any excuse for the little error that I made this morning?

My gentlemen friend got out of bed before me today. ‘That’s nice,’ I thought. ‘He’s gone down to make the kids’ breakfast. Perhaps it’s because I was so lovely to him yesterday.’

I got up myself, did the usual thing of tripping up whilst putting my knickers on and then heard a bit of manly chunnering drifting up the stairs. He then yelled to me;

“We’re out!”

“Of what? Cornflakes or Shreddies?” I shrieked back. (I knew that it couldn’t be milk, because the milkman came yesterday.) “Anyway,” I carried on, “If you’d just do as you were told and write down on the shopping list what we need – we wouldn’t have this problem!”

“EUROPE!” he yelled back.

The crazy thing is – that we’re all interested in politics in this family. I went to bed thinking about the referendum. But awoke, fretting about the contents of my cupboards.

Meanwhile, the kids had overheard the “News of Doom” as the 8 year old had decided to call it.  Then my 11 year old daughter entered the bathroom, kicked the washing basket and grumped; “I’m leaving this country, if I turn the telly on and Nigel ‘Kermit The Frog’ Farage is grinning all over his smug face.

(Oh – and we *were* out of corn flakes, by the way.)


Roald Dahl, Scottish Independence and Terrorist Infants

13 Sep

Daughter (10):  It’s Roald Dahl’s birthday today

Me: (distracted, as per usual): Sorry?

Daughter: Yeah. I always remember it because it’s between my birthday and yours. And we were all told about this at school.  IT’S ROALD DAHL’S BIRTHDAY THIS WEEKEND. Like …. it was the Queen’s birthday or summat! But way better. Obviously. Because Roald Dahl might not have been from Up North or that. But he wrote some really cool books for kids dinne?

Me: Yep! He did. He was great!

Daughter: And even that Little Weirdo [her smaller brother] is totally into Roald Dahl now.  But that’s probably because Roald Dahl had this really spooky bit in his head where he wanted to freak us all out and talk about drowning kids  in chocolate rivers and feeding kids on a big fat peach to seagulls. And that.

Me:  Well. He always had a dark edge to what he wrote. But his writing for children was never really that scary.

Daughter: No. It was. Maybe just a bit. Like your book! ‘A Dark and Bleak Comedy’. That’s what it says. About your book. Like. we can all laugh at horrible things – because when people die – it can actually be really funny….!

Me: Look… you need to stop reading the marketing material … my book isn’t at all like…

Daughter: Anyway.  However that Roald bloke writes – our Stinkypants loves him. And he hasn’t ever EVER wanted to listen to any other books or stories before he heard ‘Danny The Champion’ – has he? And now it’s all Chocolate Factory and Giant Peach every day, isn’t it?

Me: That’s true.

Daughter:  So you can’t blame any of us for wanting special treats today, ’cause it’s Roald Dahl’s birthday. Get the Waggon Wheels out, I say!  And we love books in our family and should celebrate it. ‘Cause the Queen never wrote nowt for us, did she?

Me: No… True.

Daughter: Which is probably why the Scottish ones want to tell us in our England to get lost. If our royal people can’t write good stories and if that David Cameron expects me to pay for you – when you’re old and loony and in a home for nice but mad old people – Well. I wouldn’t want to be in our England government thing either. If I was a Scots One!

Me: Hang on. We were talking about children’s books.  Now you’re talking about Scottish independence.  What on earth do you know about the referendum?

Daughter: Lots. I hear what you grown ups are always saying. Like… the UK Fish-Kipper party people need to read cleverer newspapers. And that the Scottish fish Allie Salmon bloke needs to remember that we don’t actually HAVE to do all of the government and royal family thing in england. Lots of us here are already happy to burn down the Houses of Parliament. And we might do it in a few weeks!!

Roald's Enormous Croc. These days being use by the Department of Education to aid revolution and to urge on Scottish Independence

Roald’s ‘Enormous Croc’. According to my kids – these days he’s being used by the Department of Education as a subversive tool encourage insurrectionist activity and to urge on Scottish Independence…


Me: [appalled] Sorry – but where on earth did you hear that its okay to do that kind of thing?  And if you’re talking about Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot – you’re talking about some of the earliest acts of terrorism in the UK! And how on earth can you think that such things are okay?

Daughter: [irritated] Don’t blame me! It’s what our WhiffyPants told me he was learning at the Infants!  So yeah… they’ll probably be reading their dark Roald Dahl stories there. And then they’ll be learning about how to blow up fleas on rats in a tunnel to kill the Umbolic Plague. With one of Roald’s enormous crocodiles too. And then they’re also learning how to be exploding the bad government in a big Fire Of London. At the same time. That’s what Pongypants says he’s learning about.  And then…to remember it all – this is where that making of a fake body of that Guy Fawkes religious bloke comes from. And this is why we – in England –  chuck it on a bonfire.

Me: Sorry, poppet but both you and your brother have got it all wrong. And I am pretty sure that Roald Dahl would have loved your interpretation of things but…

Daughter: Arghh! You just don’t understand!  It’s something the government here just introduced! They told us about it at school! It’s called our new “NATIONAL CURRICULUM” We’re allowd to be independent and to celebrate our history, Mum!