Monday, February 13, 2006

Addendum: Or, Really, I'm Not As Fascist As Evelyn Waugh

The day after I went on and on about how great the British are, I discovered that Radio 4 is going to axe a five-minute medley of British folk songs--"Greensleeves" and "What Shall We Do With a Drunken Sailor" among them--that they've been playing each day at 5:30 AM for thirty three years. Which is what I deserve for waxing on as I did--I mean, these people have a stock exchange, too. And they're responsible for the thing that is "Posh" and "Becks," and were led into a fake war by an opportunist-in-chief. (Though sometimes when I listen to Tony Blair I want to cry--he can at least string words together coherently when he's trying to explain why Iraq needs us there. And as the proprietess of Prunes and Prism reminds me, the British, see the phenomeon of chavs, may even do rednecks better than we do.) The medley, called "The UK Theme," announces the moment when Radio 4 switches off the World Service and begins its daily programming. Why? The BBC director thinks that its listenership may be better served by a "pacy" news brief and an extended shipping forecast. To me, "pacy" has the ring of "dodgy". I'd much rather wake up to completely unnecessary and irrelevant tootling of strings and woodwinds, even if the whole thing does smack of nationalism. Wouldn't you? But I'm not British, I'm just a crank, and so here are reports and judgments from across the pond. On the bright side: the completely entrancing, equally irrelevant shipping forecast gets expanded.