Now, I am very aware that almost every blog post I put up here contains the words “In Britain…”. This is not because I am obsessed with my home country. Nor is it that I assume that everyone here is unaware of British things. For all I know, every single person who reads this may be British themselves.
So why? Well… sometimes, I just have to lead in by talking about something that is so very British that I feel a warning is necessary. Because no matter how hard you try, you will rarely find anything more quintessentially part of the UK than Radio 4.
So, for the benefit of anyone who doesn’t know—Radio 4 is a BBC radio station, pretty much exclusively devoted to the spoken word rather than music. It does news and drama, comedy and documentaries. Oh, and the Shipping Forecast, the most oddly relaxing broadcast you have ever heard. Unless you ever fallen asleep to a soft yet authoritative voice reciting a litany of sea areas, giving wind strength, direction and visibility in various sea areas, you cannot appreciate its effect. Even now, if you go up to a Briton of a certain age and intone “South Utsire, Southwest 5 or 6, backing south or southeast 3 or 4…” you will see a smile of serene bliss pass over their face.
Radio 4 is responsible for a lot of things in my life. It is responsible for my sense of humour, which is distinctly wordy and surreal. It is responsible for the odder areas of my knowledge—not every station would broadcast a documentary about the rise of Alphabetical Order, or the badger campaigners of the Lake District. But above all, with its regular readings from new works and classics alike, it has sustained my love of audiobooks.
[Don’t look now, he’s actually got to the point...]