Friday, 12 August 2011
On Writing and Rioting
First a grovelling apology.
There is nothing worse than a blogger who doesn't blog. Disease, poverty, rioting in the streets none of those come close. This blogger set up a contract with his readers to writer things that might be a) of mild interest b) occasionally humorous c) regular. For the past two weeks this keyboard has been silent but I site extenuating circumstances. The sudden and inexplicable demand for this blogger to present radio shows - the majority of which have led me to a late night slot at BBC Bristol. So for the past week and a half I've been turning up at the studios at nine thirty at night and not getting away until after one in the morning.
How do those late night guys do it on a regular basis?
After two days I was knackered. My body clock was all over the place. It was like every day was the day after I'd stepped off a long-haul flight. And then I discovered daytime sleep. Not so much a power nap, more a case of nodding off after an early dinner. Forty five minutes of early evening slumber translates into the ability to stay awake at night and function during the day.
But that's not all that's kept me from the keyboard.
Life got in the way, in a way that I'd always been able to manage. But with the kids on holiday and a house full of people suddenly I was reminded I didn't own the place for the seven hours it usually goes quiet after everyone has gone.
There's just been so much to do. All those jobs I've been quietly procrastinating over have slapped me full in the face.
So, here we are, mid August, I'm 'sitting in' for the late night jock on the West Of England BBC service and presenting a new Sunday show on BBC Bristol. Hell, it's like having a 'proper job' again. One where you have to leave the house.
But it's not really a proper job is it.
Radio presenters aren't out there researching a cure for cancer or helping the world stay this side of rack and ruin. What do we - notice how I've suddenly become 'we' - do that makes our job proper in any sense at all?
Simply put it's this - radio, more than television - is still a big part of people's lives. It is a personal connection to a voice in a studio somewhere who might be articulating what you're thinking, might be making you smile and in the past week here in England, is keeping you up to date with news about the the blight of rioting that's hit so many of our big cities.
Whilst I've been sitting there playing music and engaging in some backwards and forwards on any number of amusing subjects I've also read the news - never good at any time but in this past week its been baffling to understand what's been going on.
I have no answer to why people have done what they did. I deplore their actions and applaud those who have brought rioters and looters to justice.
No matter how bad your situation nothing gives you the right to smash in shop fronts and loot good or set fires that burn business premises with flats above where people are living. This is supposed to be a civilised country - and of course, for the most part, it is. But go off the high streets and main roads and you'll discover that England is not all a green and pleasant land. There is so much we must come to grips with, parenting, schools, lack of work and ambition. Angry young people have been demanding 'Respec' without the slightest idea of what respect is. We can argue about whose fault it is or we can draw a line, set a plan to start again, accept that there is an underclass that no longer plays by the rules and try to put it right.
How you go about that I have no idea but I wish those who will try to mend our broken society the very best of luck.
And I promise to get back to a regularly writing here.