I prefer the old-fashioned word to the commonly used abbreviation – blog, from web-log. My journal is made up of occasional observations on things that interest me. Strictly speaking, a journal is a daily record, but its not every day that something worth writing about happens. Every other week at best, or just occasionally. Come back once a month and I will do my best to make sure that you find something new.

Latest Post

Infantilising the nation

I have begun to wonder whether the government has conspired with the BBC to infantilise the nation.

Participants in television programmes are encouraged to behave like children, jumping up and down, waving their arms about, hugging each other. Men, even very old men, wear short trousers. Grown men and women are encouraged to lose their inhibitions, to hide nothing, to cry for the camera. In other words, to behave like characters in a soap opera, a genre to which all television drama now belongs.

Television programmes that aim to inform and educate must entertain as well. News presenters wander through a maze of giant video screens. Intrepid reporters take us with them on their adventures, like teachers taking children on a visit to a park or a museum. When the news is over, the weather men and women, dressed to kill, swoop and sway in front of their maps like ballet dancers.

George Orwell in 1984 foresaw the Ten Minute Hate, in which citizens were encouraged, or rather obliged, to hurl abuse at people the government told them were their enemies. The present government has found a better way to manage the people. With the help of the BBC, they want to stop us from growing up.


Previous Posts

No clapping please, we’re mindful

Last week's 'Mindfulness Prom' was a quiet affair. The music was all lento and pianissimo. Just when clapping between movements has begun to be permitted, if only at the Proms, the audience for this concert listened in total silence. There were times when I had to...

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They did it my way

It was July 1971. The 1967 'summer of love' was a fading memory. I had been at Cambridge then, where male students out-numbered females by at least ten to one and a summer of love was something that few of us could aspire to. Instead, studying for a degree in English...

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There’s something about a pub

There's something about a pub that loosens the tongue, sloughs off inhibition, turns the tide of imagination. How many novels, plays and poems have been conceived in a pub? How many ideas hastily scribbled down? How many hitherto unnoticed faults revealed when a draft...

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A poem

THE WRECK OF THE PIGEON days and nights of high wind driven at high tide across the garden strait into the brick walls of ancient privies the land-locked bird drops stunned breathless sinks lifeless lies washed up on dry land early in the morning through the bedroom...

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AI or AI?

Striking Hollywood writers fear AI will write them out of the script. Hollywood writers say they are fighting to keep their work in human hands, fearing that artificial intelligence could eventually take their jobs. (CBC News, May 5, 2023) These machines superseded...

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A Lick of Paint

A visit to Bradford a few days ago, with a friend who lived and worked there for many years, showed how things have changed for better and worse, for richer and poorer, since it lost the wealth and confidence that wool once gave it. The city centre has changed very...

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Amazing! Incredible!

'Glorious... extraordinary' 'Dazzling. Devastating' 'Miraculous... beautiful' 'Bursts with life'  It could be the back cover of any new novel. They are all stunning. We are all stunned. Understatement is a thing of the past.  The same is true of comedy. Comedians...

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Grow Up!

British television and I are coterminous, at least as far as our beginnings are concerned. Which of us dies first remains to be seen. I fear it will be me, though that is not as certain as it once seemed. I watched children's television quite a lot when I was a boy....

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Oh what a lovely war!

The BBC has a mission to inform, educate and entertain, but not all at once. The news from Ukraine on BBC1 sometimes looks like the Clive Myrie Show. War reporting that aims to educate as well as inform is patronising. When it seeks to entertain as well it...

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Another evening at the theatre

Another evening at the theatre, another travesty. Henry V this time, at Leeds Playhouse. No chorus to welcome the audience with ‘O for a muse of fire’, instead a scene of the director’s own devising. What makes directors think they can do better than Shakespeare? What...

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“One evening
when they are sitting quietly together
she breaks the silence
and starts to talk”

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