Monday 27 July 2015


Friday’s Any Questions was a bit of an embarrassment.  The audience continually applauded Michael Morpurgo, the children’s author who often dresses, head-to-toe, in incompatible shades of red.  It must have been a ‘pre-red’ day when he posed for the photo shown on Richard Millett’s blog in 2012 entitled  “War Horse writer Michael Morpurgo: Israel shoots Palestinian children “like a video game”
His views are pretty child-like and saccharine sweet, so when Dimbleby revealed that the A.Q. had taken place in an Exeter F.E. college, I deduced that the audience might have been disproportionately youthful.  
 The rest of the panel didn’t go down very well with that audience. (Robert Halfon, Frank Field and Claire Fox.) Strange, that. Claire Fox has a grating voice. Perhaps a nice gargle with hot lemon and honey or something. 


I heard an announcement on the radio the other day; they’ve developed a bionic eye to treat cyclops. 
I didn’t realise cyclopses were that common - I did know they had one eye, but it was a bit of a surprise that someone thought it worthwhile developing a bionic eye to treat it. 
I knew the actual cyclops is a mythical creature and momentarily wondered if ‘cyclops’ is a politically incorrect term for people with one eye, perhaps in the middle.  
But, err, they wouldn’t use slang like that on the BBC. Then I realised the treatment was for sight-loss, not cyclops. 
See? Not so stupid after all - perhaps a slight hearing loss.


I saw Mark Gatiss on the Andrew Marr show. Not that I’m a fan of Sherlock, but I did think Gatiss was gratifyingly sinister as the vet on League of Gentlemen who accidentally did away with most of his patients. Part of the humour was because as soon as he appeared on the screen you knew what was coming. I liked that even though it’s excruciating.
When Andrew Marr asked him something of a political nature, Mark Gatiss confessed that he saw himself as more of a pub philosopher than an expert on politics. I wish more celebrities had such admirable self-awareness. In fact I wish we all had that quality. To preempt the obvious, that includes me myself and I.


Following Oskar Gröning’s  four year prison sentence, Eva Kor spoke to Carolyn Quinn on R4, PM, 15/07/2015. (Scroll to 37:01.) 
I thought Carolyn Quinn’s tone was quite disrespectful and irritable.
She seemed to think her role was to pit Efraim Zuroff’s desire to prosecute Nazi criminals against Eva Kor’s forgiveness, asking in harsh tones why Eva allowed that hug, and why she disagreed with the prison sentence. 

I understood that Efraim Zuroff believes Nazis like Gröning should still be brought to justice even though he is 94 years old. I took it that he was advocating the principle of a trial and the guilty verdict itself, not the sentence specifically. I may be wrong, but his views did not seem incompatible with Eva Kor’s personal feelings or her allusions to the futility of the prison sentence and the missed educational benefit that a more creative approach to the sentencing might have offered.

Carolyn Quinn seemed to be trying to create a controversy, but  Eva Kor put Ms Quinn firmly in her place with eloquence and clarity.  
BBC presenters are rarely in a position to judge others or talk to them in intimidating tones. Despite Carolyn Quinn’s palpable disapproval, Eva Kor spoke up for herself in a manner few of us would have been able to match.


Did you hear Liz Kendall talking to Mishal Husain on Today on Saturday morning? (Scroll to 1:49)
Not necessarily talking to’, but talking at the same time as. Kendall refused to give way, so when Husain tried to chip in, they continued speaking in unison. 
Has a mechanical intervention occurred? Maybe Liz Kendall has been possessed by a robotic alter ego, which mistook the Today programme for Just a Minute. (The original Liz Kendall is bound and gagged in a dark, dank cellar.) Call Tuppence and Walliams immediately!
The automaton Liz Kendall talked expressionlessly for minutes on end, without hesitation.  Awesome. The whistle was a long time coming, despite much repetition and deviation. Once she got going there was little hesitation; breaths were taken mid sentence and a stream of words poured forth, sometimes over and above Mishal Husain’s attempted interjections (and she was only trying to ask a question, as is the tradition in the ‘interview’ format.)

If you thought the trailing one should stand her ground, and prevent the others from taking advantage of left-over votes to strengthen Yvette or Andy’s battle with the radical left, then you might see that peculiar performance as a sign that you were wrong. I’ve noticed that both the real and the robot versions of Liz Kendall have started to communicate in joined-up cliche. They should let elfin Yvette have a go. She has a bright “i’m more intelligent than you think” appeal.


Isn’t it weird how some people seem to get on the radio or the TV and no-one knows how? They’re people you’re supposed to have heard of, but you haven’t. One of these is Arthur Smith. People say he’s a comedian, but nobody ever says where or when he did the comedy. Another one is Rory McGrath. He appears, but nobody even knows why. He seems to have something wrong with his adenoids.
The other one, JP Devlin, is banned from this household. This is why I never discuss Saturday Live. I don’t know who JP Devlin is, but I know his voice is incompatible with the act of listening to the radio. 
As JP would say, “Who do you not actually know why they’re on the box?” 


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