Monday, December 17, 2007

Listen Again

I was listening to iPM earlier. For those who haven't heard it before, it's essentially a heady interactive mix of consumer issues, current events, and extended whinges about the misleading advertising of broadband speeds; an offshoot of news and analysis programme PM, but with a blog. I'm sure last Saturday's programme must have raised all sorts of interesting and thought-provoking issues that I could perhaps have diverted you with here; however, throughout the entire 25 minutes I found myself with just one - admittedly quite pressing - question on my mind: "Ooh, I wonder what would happen if you just added a letter to other popular Radio 4 programmes? Or you could take one away! Brilliant."

Erm, I got quite excited.

What? It was a quiet afternoon.

Anyway, so far, my favourite alternative programme by a long way has to be Monkey Box Live (with recorded highlights available on partner programme Monkey Box; obviously). Erm, not really sure what that might entail, quite frankly, beyond recordings of a box full of monkeys... Still, that's more than enough, isn't it?

Of course it is.

Anyway, here are some more I came up with (like I said, it was a quiet afternoon):
(for those more unfamiliar with the Radio 4 schedule, links go to the parent programme)

Act O'Worship - same programme, but now outsourced to an Irish call centre.

Afternoon Lay - Russell Brand keeps us up to date on his sex life (stand-in presenter: David Walliams).

From Our Down Correspondent - news for depressives.

Tall in the Mind - short people with denial issues.

Afternoon Dreading - niche programming for those who fear the hours between 12pm and 6pm.

Quote... Nunquote - same as original, but with a vow of silence. Thank God.

The Achers - daily discussion programme for arthritis sufferers.

The Achers Omnibus - weekend edition of The Achers. On a bus. For some reason.

Many Questions? - same as original programme, but with Jonathan Dimbleby giving the distinct impression he'd really quite like to get home for his tea.

Bran of Britain - needlessly testing the nation's knowledge of husks.

Excess Braggage - half an hour of insufferable boasting.

Eek in Westminster - comedy programme, in which a mouse is secretly let loose in the House of Commons.

A Good Tread - Sue MacGregor and guests discuss their favourite tyres.

In Our Tim - Tim Henman reads from his food diary, occasionally hurried along by Jeremy Paxman - "C'mon, Tim!"

The Latte Story - updated radio adaptation of those Gold Blend ads from the 80s.

Prayer for the Dray - daily entreaty on behalf of the traditional haulage industry.

You 'ad Yours! - noisily triumphalist consumer affairs programme. But just to completely distinguish it from the original, now presented by aggressive Cockneys. You slag.

Woman Sour - sixty minutes of personal attacks on Jenni Murrray by Yoda. Utterly, utterly uncalled for. Yet strangely compelling...

Ok. I'm done. No, wait...

Nope, I'm done. Bit tenuous those last few, but never mind.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Not so Christian Voice

In the comments of my previous post (all those weeks ago... sigh), for some reason or other, and at no-one whatever's request, I grudgingly resigned myself to having to say something considered and articulate about free speech... fortunately, it so happens that Stewart Lee, the co-creator of Jerry Springer - The Opera, has already done the job for me :)

Well, not for me specifically... I didn't commission it or anything... I just mean that...

Look, anyway, if you have 40-something minutes to spare and don't mind watching lots of people saying stuff you already agree with (unless you don't; in which case, you probably should watch it, and not just because it's fun to shout stuff at people on telly) you can watch his documentary don't get me started... in YouTube-sized chunks here, here, here, here, here, then here. Unlike watching back-to-back episodes of Two Pints of Lager..., it probably won't be the worst thing you've ever done with 40-something minutes. Actually, that probably doesn't work, does it? Back-to-back episodes of Two Pints... would be more like 50-something minutes... No, never mind, that actually probably just reinforces my point.

[Sighs] It's no use. I tried, but it turns out I can't hold my tongue (eeeew, it's covered in spit):

1. Jerry Springer - The Opera DOESN'T portray Jesus as a coprophiliac sexual deviant. It's just the same actor in a very similar costume. If Stephen Green had seen the show he might have noticed. Oh, wait, apparently he did see the show. Still, to be fair, it must have been difficult to see everything properly while wearing blinkers.

2. If God does exist, He surely doesn't need defending. Surely. Even by humourless reactionaries who seem to think "the government is encouraging children into... infertility" (seriously, what?). Well, that's just the start of Christian Voice's nuttiness. I could go on... and on... and... but just take a look at their website. It's a veritable prelapsarian paradise of Christian love* and tolerance.

It isn't?

Really, I'm shocked.

3. Not really especially related to freedom of speech or Jerry Springer - The Opera, but anyway... I notice that Christian Voice has produced a Briefing Paper on Islam, which they believe to be "as dispassionate a piece of research as possible and... a true reflection on the beliefs of Islam." Wow. That must have been some piece of research. I wonder how many people worked on that "massive undertaking", how many people there were busily and thoroughly sifting out the "authorative sources", working night and day? After all there's "so much [material]" out there these days. There must have been at least, ooh, how many people...

You don't say. Really? Just the one? That can't be right. Oh well, I'm sure he must have been a highly regarded expert on...


It was Stephen Green?

Of course it was.

Still, at least he has an MA. In something. So that's alright then.

(Hmm, you have to actually send away for it too. Might it be just a little too underinformed and inflammatory to be freely available and easily prosecutable? I wonder...)

4. And what's the thing that annoys me most about Christian Voice? That they're such easy targets. I mean, now I feel like a bully for even having said any of this. And how cunning and underhand is that? Bloody passive-agressive religio-nutjobs.

Actually, it was the stunning level of bigotry and intolerance that annoyed me most. Of course.

But that wasn't funny.

In any way.

[Sighs] And God forbid I should be serious...

Actually, I really shouldn't. Because if God is even remotely connected to Christian Voice then I can only conclude that: a) humourlessness is next to Godliness; and, b) that's not a God I ever want to get close to.

And here endeth the rant.


Facebook: cultural phenomenon, or first instruction in remedial reading classes?

*should anyone decide to be pedantic, what I mean is, if Christ came to save mankind from Original Sin, then Christian love must be, in a sense, prelapsarian.