I swoon when I listen to him.
Have I got your attention? Who is he? The irresistable Melvyn Bragg, host of the weekly BBC Radio 4 program, IN OUR TIME. Do your heart and brain a favor and read on.
I’ve had a love affair with Melvyn ever since I saw him as the host of “The South Bank Show” on American TV, but I no longer have access to the Bravo channel. To my delight, I found I can listen to him every week on “In Our Time” on the Internet.
He is erudite, ever curious, and each Thursday, I can hear him and his three lively guests on the forty-five minutes-long program, addressing topics as far-ranging as Tectonic Plates, Henry the Eighth and the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the Charge of the Light Brigade, Greek Myths, Albert Camus, the Nicene Creed, Genetic Mutation, Guilt (What’s it good for?), the Discovery of Oxygen, to howlingly brilliant discussions on "King Lear," and much, much more. All his shows are archived so you can access the programs anytime, forever and ever, time and again.
If you have not known about accessing the programs of BBC 4 and BBC Radio 3 on the Internet, I feel incredibly sorry for you, deeply, deeply sorry. You are missing out on a world of knowledge, sheer good literature in the Afternoon Play, Book At Bedtime, Book of the Week, Women’s Hour, Poetry Please, Words and Music, Drama on Three. For the past three months, I’ve been listening to The Essay on Greek and Latin voices and the Sunday Special on the landscape of "The Illiad" and "The Odyssey." There are frequent broadcasts of entire Shakespeare plays read by stellar casts. Or Chekhov's "Swan Song." Or Garcia Lorcas' "Blood Meridian." NPR is a total snore by comparison to the offering on the British airwaves. America is so insular, concerned only with itself. NPR reflects this narcissism.
Our very own authors in Redroom.com, James Whyle (his play) and Geling Yan (her book), had their works produced on BBC Radio 4 some time ago. Radio 4 is the venue for rising stars in theater and literature. If you are a playwright, you can submit your work for broadcast.
The Brits pay a tax for each television set purchased and the money goes to support broadcast of The Proms (the best music in the Western World), Jazz, World Music. Just think what we could do in America if we paid taxes on TV sets? In the average American household, there is one set per room. So we in other parts of the universe lucked out. We pay no taxes and we get to listen to the best in the world, bar none, courtesy of the Brits.
The best things in the world are free . . .
Have a listen to music linked below. Huun Huur Tu from the Republic of Tuva will make you weep and wish to ride into the sunset on a camel:
Or rock and thrill to the strangeness of Sa DingDing from Inner Mongolia . . .
I am lucky in that I paint half the day and get to listen in the old-fashioned way, as if hovering with the old folks by the radio for stories while I knit socks.
It will take you weeks to discover the wide range and layers upon layers of programming. All are archived for SEVEN DAYS--ONE WEEK after broadcast. As I mentioned earlier, “In Our Time” is always available 24/7.
When I tell my friends I listen to BBC Radio 3 and 4, they say we don’t get those stations locally. I have to repeat until I am hoarse, “Yes, you do! It’s on the Internet! Damn it, take out the earwax! It’s on the Internet!”
I swoon when I think of my access to BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio 4. These stations have enriched my listening life a thousand fold.
PS--From time to time, I'll holler out good programming in a quick post. Good things must be shared. If I've managed to encourage one or two of you drink from these resources, I've made the world a bit smarter, a bit richer.
PPS--Jessica Barksdale Inclan, this one is for you, "King Lear"--
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