Tum-ti-tum-ti-tum-ti-tum, Long Live Our Noble Queen…

Image result for The Archers

I’ve been thinking about the Archers lately. I went off it for a while during its ‘Eastenders’ phase and then went back. I’m still listening, but I can’t help feeling it’s an uphill struggle; there are too many characters, a proliferation of plots and I can’t keep track of them all.

Not only that, but there’s little diversity. Yes, I know it’s a village but in all the time I’ve been listening there’s only been one Asian character (Usha is hardly ever heard nowadays and might even be out of the series, it’s hard to tell) and no black characters at all. There is a gay couple and I’d like to know what’s happening with them and Lexi; I’d also like to know what’s going on with Helen and Lee, Brian and Jenny, Neil and – much as I dislike him, Justin – but like a merry-go-round with too many cars, you only see them once in a while. I lose track.

I’m not harking back to the days when the Archers was cosy: in fact those days never really existed. There were always murders, drugs, affairs, illegitimate pregnancies… many who are now pillars of the establishment (eg Elizabeth) were quite wild in their youth. What I miss is knowing the characters. I feel like a teacher with far too many pupils: I can’t get to know them all because I don’t see them for long enough. And don’t get me started on how many voices sound similar… virtually the only new character I recognise is Leonard, because he’s the one with the Yorkshire accent.

I miss Nelson and Jethro; I miss Walter and his elephants and the silly stories they used to have. I miss Bert Fry. Apparently still alive but how would we know?

It just doesn’t feel like it used to – but then nothing does. I expect I’m just getting old.


Ah well. Here, just to cheer us all up, is Billy Connolly’s idea of a new tune for the National Anthem.

Kirk out

Rasputin on Sousaphone, Gorbachev on Tea-Tray…

Sometimes this blog goes a bit whimsical and it seems that today is one of those days.  Pausing only to have an inconclusive conversation with OH about the correct spelling of Gorbachev (there isn’t one because it’s in Cyrillic) we head off into the wardrobe of my soul, in the section labelled ‘shirts’.  Yes, we are in the wonderful country of the Bonzo Dog Doo-dah Band:


In the original song Adolf Hitler played the sousaphone, but it is entirely in the anarchic spirit of the Bonzo Band to have Rasputin step onto the stage and be accompanied by Gorbachov (or ‘ev’) or anyone else you fancy.  Let’s have Marie Curie on drums, Mother Theresa on bagpipes, Billy Connolly on backing vocals (‘if it wasnae fur yur wellies’)  Let’s have the Vicar of Dibley on pipes and Pope Francis on the tin whistle; Martina Navratilova on keyboards, Boris Johnson on trombone, Jamie Oliver on piano-accordion, Clarissa Dixon-Wright on cymbals, Sue Barker on vocals and John Humhrys on doo-wops.  We can have whoever we want, because it’s our fantasy bonzo-dog doo-dah band.  We’ll have Harrison Ford on the wurlitzer, Theresa May on the mixing desk, Maggie Smith on the hosepipe, Michael Fish on thunderboard, and of course a special appearance by Donald Trump as the wind in the bagpipes.

It’s that sort of day…

Kirk out


Billy Connolly for Pope

Cold again this morning.  Very productive day yesterday – the radio play is all but finished and will just need some polishing.  However…

In computer programming, they say, “the first 95% of the work takes 95% of the time.  The last 5% – also takes 95% of the time.”  Mark says there’s a reference somewhere.  And so it is with writing.  The first draft takes 95% of the time, the second draft… you get the picture.  Sometimes I’m afraid to start revising a story because I’ll see so many things wrong with it.


If you can understand this you’re doing better than me.

Mark is probably going to leave the Institute of herbalism because they do nothing useful but keep taking money off him.

A good move, I think.

Very Happy Wednesday

Kirk out

Get thee to a punnery

I have taken vows

of poetry


and ingredients


This last line made me laugh out loud.  I feel a strong connection to James Joyce, whose wife said he laughed out loud when he was writing – and also to our beloved Billy Connolly, hero of Glasgow, comedian of our shaking hearts, who goes on stage without a line in his head and just says whatever comes to him.  Sometimes he can’t get the words out for laughing.

That’s my kind of performer.

Queen Leah

I shall do such things!

what they are, I know not yet, but they shall be

the wonder of the world

Mugabe as Lear

dividing his kingdom and asking everyone what they can do to draw their portion.  He will very shortly be on that blasted heath – just you wait and see.

There’s a mighty judgment coming

but I may be wrong

I also thought this morning, Leonard has been living in the Tower of Song, I in the Tower of Silence.

Enough already.  Must go and do my yoga before my body will not forgive me.

PS Helpless with laughter at the ingredients joke.  It occurs to me that the kind of performer I like is the one who is real out there.  Because that’s the only kind of performer I can be.  I think in my classes all these years I have been practising to be a performer.

Undesirable Verbs

– for example:

to trial

to gift

to medal (argh!  worst of all, we hear this daily in Olympic season)

These are nouns masquerading as  verbs.  Nothing wrong with the language changing but these make me “S-Q-U-I-R-M, SQUURRUM”, as Billy Connolly sang. www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzZzGxReXmo

Other verbs include those which are misapplied, such as “deliver” applied to policies instead of milK.  If you work in government or business you will surely have a load of these.  Let’s do a Dilbert en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dilbertand collect them!  Send them to me, here at this blog

If you want to read more on the subject, John Humphrys’ excellent book, “Lost for Words” is a must.www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/article498203.ece