Have you ever listened to BBC Radio 4 News? No? Well for a station that’s breeds such pretentiousness at both transmitter and receiver ends it’s absolutely rubbish.
Every in-depth news story follows the same pattern: a long, scene-setting section of background noise; a brief introduction from the reporter, filled with pregnant pauses; a short silence to indicate we’ve changed location; more background noise with an explanation over the top; and finally the rest of the report, all of which is spoken at a pace even those on a Valium overdose would find boring.
I certainly wouldn’t claim Radio 4 news was the worst out there though: it’s beaten by a country mile with the easy-to-digest morsels of news snippets dropped into the chirpy breakfast or lunchtime bulletins for those who are half-asleep, stupid, or unemployed. I’ve just discovered this video on YouTube, which sums things up nicely for those “here’s how macro-economics works: dumb-ass”-type reports.
Listening to Local FM on the way to work this morning, they were discussing today’s swearing-in of Barack Obama as the new US president. Both of the chirpy presenters seemed really excited about the process, despite neither of them being either American or black. One of them even described today as being one of those “you’ll never forget where you were” moments.
You won’t remember such a long and tedious ceremony as today – for that sort of an impact you need monumentally ground-shaking, earth-shattering, sudden, hit-close-to-home news.
As an example, I still remember clearly the pictures of the Space Shuttle Challenger exploding in mid-air, despite being just 8 at the time (January 28, 1986). It was around that sort of age I was really getting into the notion of aircraft, wanting to be a pilot, and starting to show an interest in space and space-travel.
I also remember the Berlin Wall coming down, although I don’t really know why (November 1989).
I’m not going to remember anything about today, because it’s just the day when the Yanks finally get round to making it official, despite it being obvious he would win six months before the election took place.
Strangely, also I know when Elvis died and that was a month before I was born. Or maybe that’s because I am a reincarnation of the King.