two great programs to listen to

One of the best things about living in the U.K. was BBC 4.  Often mocked as being the mouthpiece for liberal, middle-class Britain, BBC 4 was remarkable in my opinion, for the amount of drama, book programs, poetry programs and programs that discussed religion (often engaging skeptics vrs. the religious in thoughtful debate).  BBC 4 is 99.9% intelligent (some of the news/current affairs programs get tedious with their formula of debate), 75% heart, and a good 20% pure soul;  the latter being its religion coverage and its poetry. Since coming home to Canada, I have taken to listening to the Beeb online.  I particularly enjoy their “Listen Again” feature.  

  • This past week there has been a great program on poet Philip Larkin’s “lost tapes”.  Sometime in the ’70’s, Larkin recorded his “best” poems.  The tapes, made by a friend, were sitting on a shelf in a garage for 25 years gathering dust, and were only rediscovered a few months ago.  Fortunately, time didn’t destroy the tapes, which seem to be a collection of the pieces that Larkin felt were his best, but which, because of “contractual agreements”, couldn’t be published as a collection.The broadcast, “The Larkin Tapes”, talks about the discovery of the tapes, how the tapes were originally made, about Larkin’s personality (Andrew Motion is interviewed), and best of all, replays a number of Larkin’s poems as read by the poet.  Check it out   … just click on the listen again feature for Saturday, “The Larkin Tapes”.
  • The other great program you might want to listen to, is the Eleanor Wachtel interview with Turkish writer, Orhan Pamuk. It was so intriguing listening to Pamuk discuss his apprenticeship as a writer, studying the European classics intensely for a decade, his admiration of Dosteovsky, about his inner life as a writer, and also, intriguingly, about his methodology for researching a book.  For his novel, Snow, he wandered the streets of a Turkish city, videotaping streets and houses, interviewing people, then taking his material back to Istanbul and digesting it. Fascinating. I’m going out to buy his latest book, Colours, a collection of essays, today. Essays, are my favourite form when reading for relaxation or inspiration. Whenever I need to think clearly, or write clearly, I take out Orwell’s collected essays and read one. Maybe I should do that daily!  Here is the link to Writers and Company and the Pamuk  interview.


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