Shula Archer’s 50. So is her twin brother Kenton of course, but he was always a light-weight with nothing like the dangerous sexiness of Nelson Gabriel whom he appears to have been modelled on. And he was, mercifully, abroad for decades.
No. Of the two of them, it is Shula who has grated on our nerves for all these decades. She’s been in the background of my life since my late teens: gettng inappropriate with Nigel in the days when he was stupid as well as posh, messing around poor old Mark Hebden, milking her widowhood for all it was worth and then marrying that drip of a vet and making his life hell. Poor fool.
Shula’s leit motif is self-pity. Her theme song should be Warren Zevron’s “Poor, Poor, Pitiful Me”. But in fact she’s a selfish, self-righteous, self-admiring cow. When I was a teenager, she was just enough older than me for me to be slightly wide-eyed and trusting about her. I’m not entirely sure when I realised how much I dislike her, and her whining, patronising ways.
No-one would believe that I don’t actually listen to the Archers. I’ve just caught the odd episode off and on since my mid-teens. There are whole swathes that I missed by being abroad or finishing work at 5.00 instead of 6.30. For example: Where the hell did Lilian appear from? Is Alice Aldridge really that age already? When did Ruth have her mastectomy and when did her kids arrive?
They’re like cousins that I meet or hear news of at weddings, christening and funerals. I catch glimpses of their lives and then we all retreat back home.
But I still find it oddly shocking that Shula, so untouchably admirable when I was in my teens, so smugly irritating ever since, should be menopausal and 50.
A day of unexpected musical treats:
“… Choral Matins according to the Book of Common Prayer, in a new jazz setting composed by Roderick Williams, sung by Schola Cantorum of Oxford and accompanied by the Chris Hill Trio.” Listen again (for the next 7 days) here:
I lack the words to write about music, and the knowledge to understand what I hear, but I did find myself responding to this quite powerfully. I was raised on the Book of Common Prayer, and to hear Cranmer’s words from the church where Cranmer was tried in such a different and frankly joyous setting was enthralling.
Drama on 3 – Hooligan Nights
“The brutal world of London gangland in the 1890s is brought vividly to life in an innovative new musical created by writer Mike Walker and composer Mike Woolmans. Loosely based on the book by Clarence Rook, it recounts the criminal career of Alf, a self-styled Lambeth hooligan.” Listen again to this for the next 7 days.
At first I thought I was listening to a version of Brighton Rock from John Entwistle. I have no idea if John Entwistle would write a version of Brighton Rock, but if he did some of it would sound like some of this. There are shades of Moll Flanders here too. Much of it is excellent and most of it is clever. The trio when Alf and Allie are passing off forged banknotes to a curtain draper is – well, I’ve already said I can’t write about music, so let’s just say I thought it worth listening to.
Oh, and a half hour programme from Radio 4:
Who wrote Bach’s Toccata?
(Here for 7 days from the 13th)
I didn’t hear the original, but the snippet I got on Pick of the Week included a version on the violin and a rock version on electric guitar (which I really should recognize) and made me want to listen again.
Like thousands of other peeps, I took a photie for Eddie at 500pm last night. It’s not up there yet, but I have been fascinated by what the UK does at 5.00pm I am stunned and made rather envious by the huge numbers of people who are at home, cooking and sipping wine at 5.00.
There are a lot of cats fed at 5.00pm, a fair number of children practicing musical instruments, a huge number of people driving home as I was, and a lot of people doing rather interesting work.
Anyway, here are some that shocked me, startled me or made me laugh. But this is like watching the grand prix highlights, you don’t get a feel for the real thing. I urge you to take a look at the lot. In the meantime, here is a selection:
Interesting work that R4 listeners do:
What? I mean What? It was sent by MMS from a phone so no caption to explain it:
Mmmmmmmm. “Smile for the Camera”
I can’t actually work out what this is:
A stone-mason perhaps?
Or this. I can’t avoid the feeling those trolleys might be moving…
Chairs, do you think?
These photos moved me:
This was probably sent in by MMS from a mobile – hence no comment, but it is a lovely narrative photo, and I think it’s my favourite of the lot:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/news/pm/galleries/759/37/#gallery759 – fibber! It was pitch dark in Yorkshire, there’s no way it was dusk in Edinburgh.
Mind you, I rather like the fact that they are putting up photos without editing or comment. This is another one which makes me say: huh?
Guilt and envy:
This one gives me kitchen-envy:
This one gives me pencil-envy:
And this one gave me kitchen-guilt (and no, it isn’t mine).
I am slightly worried about a kitchen which is that clean and which includes a medium sized boy:
This one has a comment with the almost ruthlesness of an almost-haiku:
And this shows a concerning grasp of reality too:
… as others see us
The experiment helped some people see their familiar worlds through new eyes:
Nowt so queer as folk:
Yes, well… She’s a priest, I suppose one can’t expect scientific scepticism, can one?http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/news/pm/galleries/759/57/#gallery759
We’re impressed, or we are meant to be. All those adjectives. It’s a stone cottage, doncha know; it was a visit from the minister, natch. He’s a local councillor:
Who has a bath at 5.00pm every night?
Shift workers, I guess.
A parental dilemma, to take the photogaph or chastise the child?
And on the subject of boys and noisy musical instruments:
Photos as photos:
This is one of the few photos which has merit as a photo – but I think I prefer the lack of staginess of the others:
And here is another good photo, qua photo, taken with a mobile phone too
As is this:
And, less obviously, this:
“It’s a long way to Schadenfreude, it’s a long way, to go”
This one isn’t mine, but it so could have been….
and how many Londoners were staring at this at 5:00pm?
Not another dashboard pic:
As I said, take a look at the whole lot – it is a moving and fascinating collection.