I try to listen to Woman’s Hour whenever I can for, beyond the political chit-chat of everyday, this programme keeps me in touch with the things that really matter, things that are dear to a woman’s heart. The other week, for instance, the programme fearlessly exposed the failure of so many of our local councils to provide adequate lavatory facilities for the transgendered. There’s a lot about rape and the rumours of rape. Intense debate about the 5:2 diet, or the stone-age diet or whatever Manichean foodie obsession happens to be in vogue. Wall-to-wall celebs, it goes without saying. Inanities and banalities by the bucket load: the soap operas of course, by the side of which real life is a mere shadow. Historical novelists whose own linguistic register is out of synch with the period they write about: Hilary Mantel, that disgorger and forger of the 16th century, is ever popular.
But the programme’s fondest obsession is pop music. Today, for example, Jane Garvey confessed she had been “weak at the knees” during her interviewing an aging punkster called Blondie and her side-kick, Chris. They play you blasts of the “music” unfortunately, but that’s not the worst part. The most sickening part is the way the Woman’s Hour wimmin go all gooey over this trash. Rock music has its place. It is for teenagers, to allow them to imagine they’re being cool and anti-establishment during that most uncomfortable part of growing up. Most do grow up, but many alas live on to stretch the folly of their youth to be the shame of age – as G.K. Chesterton put it. For goodness sake, gooey Garvey is fifty years old! Shouldn’t she have got past going weak at the knees at the sights and sounds of the past it perpetrators of audible filth and learnt to go weak at the knees at such as the Beethoven late string quartets?
I will keep listening though. What cheaper or easier way is there of keeping up with the sub-theatrical absurdities of the meedja world. Oh hell, if we really do get the media we deserve, then God help us!
I can’t help thinking that things would be better if the wimmin – all with impeccable leftie CVs – reverted to being women, or even ladies, and told us the secrets of jam-making and demonstrated the creation of net curtains by the forgotten art of croquet.
Those were the days, alongside Mrs Dale’s Diary, Top of the Form, Journey into Space and, new every morning, Housewives’ Choice. It was a far, far better thing they did than now they ever do.