Yes, and as a pair of outrageously uncrossed and re-crossed legs passes through all our minds simultaneously…
…let us take a trip back in time. You’ll need to wrap up, though, against the icy blasts that blew through the world yesterday as memories of the Cold War were revived and then – let us fervently hope – laid to rest with the body of You Know Who. I avoided the event and had a much warmer time: instead of reliving all that frigid stuff, I went along to hear Bruce Kent speak at the local Methodist church on the subject of peace. I wore red as suggested on facebook as a rather warmer protest against the money spent on the funeral – a state funeral in all but name – and it was good to have something positive to do rather than spending the day avoiding the coverage.
Other warmer blasts across the country have this week included programmes about Joan Bakewell. The woman is 80! – 80! That’s eighty! Eight-zero! I can hardly believe it – she’s astonishingly together and lucid; she looks 60 (yes, I know she dyes her hair but still – look at those facial muscles!) and her voice, when she speaks, sounds like a 30-year-old’s. Her conversation is as bright and cogent as it ever was: she’s a woman who’s always interesting, and who offers a rare example of charm and gravitas working in unison. So catch up with these before they disappear:
Meanwhile over on radio, R4’s programme ‘Great Lives’ examined the life of Kenny Everett. Here was a genius; a complete one-off, a great example of irreverence without nastiness, and with so many gags – I guess you’d have to call them ‘gags’ though they were more like riffs really – that you’d only just got one when three more had gone by. I used to listen to him on London’s Capital radio after he’d been sacked by the Beeb, something which happened in those days with monotonous regularity. Ironic, then, that he should be remembered on the sober and stately BBC Radio 4 by friend and colleague Chris Tarrant. The programme inevitably had to deal with Everett’s worst moment, the ‘Let’s bomb Russia’ fiasco, which Tarrant reckoned was due to his political naivete rather than any right-wing nastiness or latent cold-war enthusiasm.
There was scarcely less controversy after that about him ‘coming out’ as a Tory than there was about him coming out as a gay man – and perhaps more, since his anarchic style meant that a lot of his fans were on the left. Many of them never forgave him.
The Beeb also made a brilliant programme about him a few years back. Kenny was totally brilliant and did things with audio-tape which no-one had ever done before, or – probably – since. Sadly the programme doesn’t seem to be available now but here’s a page about it: