Competition - Win a bottle of champagne

No 3568 Set by George Cowley

George Walden said Radio Einstein might have a discussion between a Californian geneticist, a Japanese architect, a South American novelist and a French philosopher. We asked for an excerpt.

Report by Ms de Meaner

Good. Hon menshes to M E Ault, D A Prince, Nick MacKinnon and Michael Swan. £15 to the winners; the bottle goes to N Syrett for making me cackle.

Californian geneticist Everyone's talking about genetics now, so I don't want to. I prefer to discuss the post-narrative novel, especially if it doesn't exist yet.

French philosopher So far, it exists as the cookery recipe, and everyone's talking about that. So I shall discuss reimplantation of concepts, or intellectual theft. Slime is the agony of water. When Sartre said that, it was crap. But when I say it with " " it is firmly anchored in a co-determinative loop -

Chair This is radio, not TV . . .

Philosopher Gestures are valid whether seen or not.

Japanese architect My buildings are gestures. They ride the earthquakes like pretend, like John Wayne rides the bay gelding after the banditti -

Chair Radio!

Architect (bowing) I apologise. Prototype buildings can only ride prototype earthquakes. Real earthquakes are different. Who tests prototype novels in wave-tanks?

South American novelist The tigers in my head test my novels. They rip the text in their fangs. I sew it up again; it is the joins that you read, my repairs, and not the text I first wrote. Postmodern texts were never ripped by tigers - they are gently lasered by little ETs with almond eyes.

Geneticist ETs aren't postmodern; they're pre-Raphaelite.

Philosopher No, art nouveau, actually. Alfons Mucha painted them.

Chair I know there's time, but are we developing a theme? There's a lecture by Stephen Hawking in the can, which listeners might find interesting while we're thinking about it . . .

Robin Oakley-Hill

Lord Bragg Now, Kishi Yukawa, your skyscrapers are designed to collapse at the first tremor of an earthquake?

Kishi Yes. I aim to take the uncertainty out of life. In my buildings you know where you are and then where you ought not to be.

Jean X Tiens! Do any of us know where we really are?

Francisco Ortiz Ortiz I like this small one from Japan. He is tiny but he has the heart of a man. You grew up in a little village I think. You bathed with the village girls in forest pools and . . .

Kishi My buildings are full of space. Then they are just space.

Joshua Reconsbury Space, the Final Frontier, right, and it was actually in space that we developed the first edible rhododendron. It also sings.

Francisco Who is this gringo? I despise him. The women of my country would feed him to the little ocelots they keep on silver chains.

Jean If there is space then there is elan vital. Even in a vacuum, maybe, if you can find one.

Joshua elan vital? That's mineral water, right?

Francisco Fetch the small one a cushion. See, his arms grow weary from clinging to the edge of the table. See, his knuckles are white like fungus.

Jean We all cling above an abyss. Except, perhaps, in certain parts of France where the essence of the people summons the tangible up to our dangling feet.

Joshua France? That's Europe, right?

N Syrett

Presenter Welcome back to Relaunch Night on Radio Einstein. So professor, what about Michael Owen?

Californian geneticist If I could clone a team of Owens, they'd take on the world.

Japanese architect That team too small at back. Defender need to be tall like great pillar. Tony Adams good example - strong enough to withstand earthquake.

French philosopher But not Anelka, eh Shiguro? He gave to Adams an existential crisis at Wembley last month.

Architect I honourably concede. The boy done bad.

Philosopher And what of the new Chilean midfielder?

South American novelist I see him somewhere before.

Philosopher Atletico? Juventus?

Novelist No, but I know this face. Maybe in my dreams.

Philosopher Oui, he is pretty.

Novelist No, my friend. Bad dreams. The past . . .

Presenter Millwall, perhaps. Anyway, what about all these foreign imports? Good for the game in England or what?

Geneticist The homegrown talent is not strong enough to survive without foreign blood. The next generation will be all-round footballers.

Architect We no need modified players! I tell you, Adams strong like the bridge over the river Sumida!

Philosopher We are what we are.

Novelist And what we were.

Presenter Mmm. Now, Jean-Paul, what's this about you not liking the traditional Saturday kick-off?

Philosopher Three o'clock is always too late or too early for anything you want to do.

Presenter Hold that thought. We'll be taking calls right after a message from Harp, "the lager for a sharper mind" . . .

Gino Drew

No 3571 Set by Margaret Rogers

Noel Edmonds thinks history will judge his House Party as one of the most successful shows on TV. We want an extract from a future History of Television substantiating this claim, in 200 words max, by 18 March.


This article first appeared in the 12 March 1999 issue of the New Statesman, Yanks go home . . . but not just yet