I usually have Radio 4 playing when I drive. Sometimes I’m deep in my head and it’s just noise, but other times I key right into what’s being said. They were running a program about mushrooms the other day and my friend Zoe showed up. Max appears from time to time to tell us about beetles. But even when there’s no personal connection, it’s often interesting and it tends to feel like they’re trying to do the best journalism they can do – and trying to keep it balanced.
In the van today I was enjoying The News Quiz. Inevitably they had to joke about how the current administration have got the knives out for the BBC. It’s a bittersweet listen at the moment, that sort of thing.
There’s a good spread of opinion though on that radio channel, and of course you can’t put a pay-wall on a radio so it’s clear that our esteemed culture secretary is not thinking this through if she wants the Netflix model. Damn I would be lost if radio adverts started to show up on BBC. The times I’ve had long drives tuned into a commercial station have always quite quickly reached the stage where I have to switch it off, change it or drive into a tree to make it stop. I rarely have to do that with Radio 4, although I had a long drive on the day Prince Philip died and I had to switch it off.
The only useful thing I’ve done today is drive. Today was a total failure of a day. I wrote it off. Thankfully when I rented the van they have me 5 days for the price of 4 and I took it in case something like this happened. The dump was closed, so I drove across town to Park Royal and you have to book in advance online these days, and they’d used all their slots. So essentially I drove a massive van full of stuff to Stoke Newington, picked up Jack, drove to Wembley, got turned away, drove Jack back home, went back to where I started. Great big pointless round trip. Now I’m booked in for half twelve tomorrow. Not counting the time with Jack, having to bypass the congestion charge zone meant about two hours driving alone, hence Radio 4 to keep me sane and keep my mind ticking over. Some people I know dismiss the BBC calling it “mainstream media”, but the programming there is so much more varied than all the YouTube videos of people sounding important. I think if I was just listening to that stuff I’d have found the right tree to steer at even in central London.
Tomorrow we will chuck the damp furniture. I will get the van back in plenty of time. All will be well.