JAM Yesterday, JAM for Fifty Years but No JAM Tomorrow?

The BBC has been forced to issue statements reassuring people that the world is not about to end.  ‘The apocalypse is not upon us,’ tweeted BBC Head of Comedy Julia McKenzie yesterday as Nicholas Parsons missed his first episode of Just a Minute in the show’s fifty-year history.  Shock-waves rocked Radio 4 audiences up and down the country (‘and around the world!’ as Parsons was so often heard to say) as instead of our beloved Parsons, we heard the mellifluous, unctuous and utterly irritating tones of Gyles Brandreth (for it was he.)

In all fairness, Brandreth didn’t do a bad job; in fact I found him much less irritating as chair than as a contestant as he’s forced to be impartial and can’t squeeze in any of the nauseating tributes to Margaret Thatcher of which he is so fond.  JAM is a difficult game to play, which explains why so few new contestants stay the course: Sarah Pascoe was last night a case in point, struggling to rack up more than a few seconds on any of her given subjects.  But it must also be a hard game to adjudicate as you have to listen carefully and make finely-balanced decisions whilst remembering that this is supposed to be entertainment.  Paul Merton is an excellent foil to Parsons (and toned down his usual piss-taking of Brandreth for this episode) in fact he seems to have been born to be on panel shows, which is not something you can say of every comedian.

The BBC has denied that there is anything wrong with Parsons and said that he just wanted a rest; which at the age of 94 is fair enough.  But one wonders just how much longer he can keep going.  There may be JAM tomorrow – but will it be Parsons JAM?

Kirk out


O What a Tangled Web we Mix…

… when first we practise – politics.

That rhyme (which I thought was quite clever) is going through my mind at the minute as I am going through the motions.  Oh, the motions!  Can people not express themselves more concisely?  I always do.  I’m the queen of concision – I never use two lexical units where a single item of verbiage will do.  Ho ho.  By the way, do you ever do what I do when listening to ‘Just a Minute’ – ie try to play the game yourself?  It’s quite extraordinarily difficult.  It’s like one of those puzzles where you can get three out of four but never quite * square the circle.  You can carry on without repetition but sooner or later you’re going to have to hesitate in order to allow your brain to breathe.  Or else you can carry on without pausing but go off the topic.  Or stick to the topic and not pause but repeat a word.  It really is quite * the hardest panel game on the radio today – perhaps because it’s also the oldest.

But I digress.  Buzz!  Deviation from the topic on the card which was political motions.  And I am trawling through a veritable ocean of motions (oo! that rhymed!) for the Left Unity conference which is coming up in a couple of weeks.


There’s still time to join and register for the conference if you want an alternative to the market-led zeitgeist and especially if you think the Labour party has deserted the people who formed it; if you are against the privatisation of the NHS and prisons and education provision and – oh, god, just about everything that moves; if you want a more compassionate and less greedy society, and so on.  However I advise caution when going through the motions.  Some of them are quite extraordinarily wordy.  But I am pleased to note that Leicester’s three are short and to the point.  Would that everyone expressed themselves so.  It’s pointless rambling on and on – it just sends everyone to sleep.

The conference is on the 29th and I’ll keep you posted.  I may even get the chance to do a poem – my one about the bedroom tax has been well-received everywhere.

Kirk out


*someone should buzz in at this point as I’ve just repeated the word ‘quite’

Just a minute post

Sorry it’s late this morning. Listening to ‘Just a minute’ and doing a quick post so I shall see whether I can do a post by the time the sixty seconds have elapsed. At the time of writing Holly’s boyfriend is eating cod and chips at our table; Mark is doing teas and coffees at church and Holly is making coffee. Daniel is still in bed making the most of Sunday: apparently the people at the paper shop swore at him yesterday and I was all set to go down there and Sort Them Out but he restrained me. Today will be fairly quiet as I will be waiting in for a Wholefood Co-op order: apparently I mistakenly ordered a whole case of soy sauce (15 seconds to go) so it’s a good job Paul phoned. So apart from that I
(whistle blows)