Creaking splendour


There are some voices that motivate a gallop across the room to switch off the radio; know what I mean? That grating, ghastliness rendering the ears sagging to beseech for silence?

Happily for as many such travesties, there are balms.

And for anyone interesting in the physics and biology of Listening, you’ll know the voice carries every shred of information necessary to form a thorough going understanding of its owner.

Listening … not looking but listening … one can perceive the humanity, the compassion, the intellect, the politics, the biology and the direction of its owner. Also the age and geography but these are less important.

Katharine Whitehorn is the first guest on the mini-series of upcoming Theard Side of the Coin broadcasts. If you listen to the creaking cedar of her voice, you can count the rings of what she’s seen and lived through. Miraculous.



Notwithstanding the Sundayness of this entry, it’s deliciousness can’t not be recorded.

Phyllida Law is Michael Berkeley’s guest on Private Passions [seemingly, first broadcast last year]. Why is she telling us this? I hear you cry. Well, Miss Law has a grand-son whom her daughter and son-in-law, Greg Wise, adopted some eleven years ago. One of her choices is Tekere by Salif Keita; it  makes him dance which delights her.

For 3 years a decade back, I broadcast a programme called Baird’s Breast Stroke. Consistency being all, it opened each week with a four line poem I’d written, read by Greg Wise immediately followed by a 65-second burst of Tekere. [Mr Wise had been a guest on a previous programme The Hollywood Ups and Downs Show, in case you were wondering how he came to read one of my verses.]

There’s no possible connection but I find it ridiculously jolly; when the past skids into the present in that smilingly oops kind of way.

Smiling; positively groovy for every part of one’s being.