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I'm totally respecting your views here

You can find food for thought right around the dial – and not all of it is completely bonkers

Some things I heard on the radio this week: “I’ve got strong beliefs about one particular plant and I’m not gonna give it up at the point of a gun,” said Steve on Martha’s Vineyard Radio. “If we wanna get off this whole Middle Eastern oil situation we have to grow more hemp.” The show was Perspectives, in which people phone up and diss each other over various issues, but in that Newport-Jazz-Festival, here-for-a-clambake kind of way.

“Steve may have some pretty intellectual arguments going on,” countered Robert, an ex-policeman, “but . . . well, I guess I kinda respect his views, ya know? Some of the nicest people I know use drugs.”

Meanwhile, on the Today programme, it was reported that men with daughters are more likely to vote left (“Every net daughter makes a difference”) and on Gaydar Radio they admitted that they couldn’t for the life of them get into The Wire.

Over on the pirate station Rinse FM, things were getting intellectual. “Technology . . . globalisation . . . I’m part of a worldwide community,” mused DJ Alexander Nut. “I’m communicating with everything in the universe, using the medium of . . . in the very broadest, sonic sense . . . hip-hop . . .”

Whereas over on Radio 4’s PM Joanna Lumley was receiving yet more congratulations on her coup. How on earth did she pull it off, asked Eddie Mair. “I don’t know much about government, Eddie, but there was a thing day motion . . .”

“Early-day motion?”

“Yes, that’s the one.”

Previously, Lantern FM in Devon had been especially keen we know that Susan Boyle had made it on to an episode of The Simpsons, and in a documentary on Radio 2 it transpired that Charles Aznavour was once Édith Piaf’s lighting technician.

After which Hamish on Two Lochs Radio in Scotland’s Wester Ross confirmed, in a last-minute notice, that the Gairloch toddlers’ Amphibious Fabulous group would be looking for newts and toads that day as per usual, only this time you wouldn’t need your own boat. Then Clive James on Radio 4’s A Point of View – commentating on the election of four women to the Kuwaiti government – demonstrated how rarely, if ever, he falls into the trap of overcooking his delivery (oh, the great, declining art of just saying the lines and not banging into the intonational furniture!).

At which point, on Classic FM, it turned out that Mexican-style ribs at Waitrose were going especially cheap both immediately before and after Itzhak Perlman played the theme to Schindler’s List (what gives with those endless recipe ads? And must they always involve beans?).

So I started hoping for something mind-destroying, some vengeful hard-on basslines to compensate for my brain having – so happily! – sponged up this random inferno, but then Mark Radcliffe on 6 Music started playing what sounded suspiciously like a lute, so I logged back on to Perspectives, to find someone arguing about the over-availability of adult entertainment with a porn star called Ron.

“Ya know, Ron, you can say you’re retired and you’re mainstream and all, but I saw you at the porn show in Vegas and you looked like death. I’m telling you, man, there is no way you are proud of your industry.”

“I’m totally respecting your views here,” said Ron, reasonably. “Totally. This is beautiful.”

Antonia Quirke is an author and journalist. She presents The Film Programme on BBC Radio 4. She writes a column on radio for the New Statesman.

This article first appeared in the 01 June 2009 issue of the New Statesman, Big Brother