I listen to the radio a lot, a great deal more than I watch television and it is great to listen to while knitting. My two staple radio choices are BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 4 Extra. I was practically raised on Radio 4 and I have listened to Radio 4 Extra, or BBC 7 as it then was, since its first night of broadcasting. Even now I can remember sitting on a chair in the dining room sitting right by my dad's then very new digital radio, listening intently and rediscovering Hancock's Half Hour. Therefore I thought it might be good to recommend a couple of the things I've enjoyed lately on the radio, as you can listen to the BBC radio player anywhere in the world, for free, what luxury!
Having said all that about Radios 4 and 4 Extra, I shall now make my first recommendation from Radio 3 (the BBC's classical music station): The John Wilson Orchestra Prom, Kiss Me Kate. This orchestra specialises in mid 20th century musicals and associated music and their annual prom has become my favourite. Although it may not be "high brow" music, it is full of joy, fun and done to an extraordinary standard, Kiss Me Kate swept me through a Sunday afternoon while I knitted the foot of a sock. You have another three weeks or so to listen, then the filmed version will be on television at Christmas - I went and checked!
Next we definitely are going high brow, with T S Eliot's poem The Wasteland. I recently bought a copy of his poems as part of an effort to get to know more poetry and I cannot say I understood it, indeed I still would not say I fully understood it, but listening to it has helped a bit. In particular having two voices, Jeremy Irons and Dame Eileen Atkins, reading the poem helped to underline that it is not supposed to have a meaning as a whole. By which I mean, it does not begin at point A and end at point B having been on a descriptive or narrative journey along the way, but that it creates its whole out of a series of impressions. I found the best way to think of the poem was as a series of thoughts wandering through the poet's mind as he tried to make sense of the world after the First World War. The reading is a delight in itself and I am pleased to see that it is still there for another three weeks so that I can have another crack at it, though I live in hope of a CD or download becoming available of this and Jeremy Irons' reading of Eliot's Four Quartets.
Staying with the First World War, the last recommendation for now is Home Front, an epic project Radio 4 have started this week, a drama with an episode set on this day one hundred years before. The first two episodes have been very well produced, although they possibly need to watch their idiom, one or two expressions did not sit quite with the period and I already feel that I have learnt something more of the home front experience.
What are your favourites?