Tag Archives: Jane Austen

Radio recommendations

Phil: OK, we’re back in lockdown. The message is “stay at home with a paper bag on your head” and the chances to go and sit in a cafe chatting over plot twists for your latest novel have receded into 2022. In the meantime, one of us has become a part-time teacher to her daughter, stealing away valuable writing time.

Anyway, books are a good way to hide from the gloom and doom. For a start, they don’t generally involve listening to Michael Gove, and there’s usually a happy ending. We’ve always recommended reading matter, but now I’m going to take another step and start looking at radio programmes and podcasts that are worth downloading to your phone for entertainment. I like to listen during my allotted hour of exercise – basically going for a walk being careful not to get within 2 metres of anyone not wearing a full-on gimp suit, and several miles of anyone who is.

Before we start, I recommend searching for the BBC Sounds App, it makes this sort of thing so much easier.

Can I talk about heroes?

We’ll start with a serious one. Vicky Foster looks at the way society creates heroes and the nature of heroism. At least that is what the description for the programme says.

The more interesting side is that her ex-partner was killed by the man who later made the news tackling a terrorist on London Bridge with a narwhal tusk. How do you explain to your children that the man who killed daddy is now being lauded by the Prime Minister as a hero?

Download “Can I talk about Heroes” (37 minutes)



Now for something funny, or at least it is if you can stand mock versions of Jane Austen, the famous author who died ay 41 fighting in a pigmy goat wrestling competition, without getting huffy about not taking things seriously.

The cast improvises a version of Pride and Prejudice largely based in a fish and chip where we find the usual women looking for a husband. The results are very funny, taking the mickey out of literary tropes, the social morays of the time, and we all like gossip about young ladies…

Settle down for Pride and Bread with this.

Download “Austentatious” (28 minutes)

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The Insider Guide to How to Get Published – Part 3

Candice: So you have Phil’s interpretation of our trip to London.  So here is mine. The day started badly with the fact I had to get up at 6.50am to get the train.  I’d like to say I only get out of bed for £10,000 but these days its more likely to be a cappuccino and a muffin!

The trip down was made eventful by the people who seemed to not understand the concept of reserved seats and then kept having to be moved at each station as someone came on and said – “um that’s my seat”.  These non-seasoned traveller types, pa!

Due to the early start I’d managed to remember to put a very stylish bracelet on but totally forgot the earrings and necklace to go with it. Feeling under dressed I was tempted to buy a new pair in Accessorize in Euston, but got a funny look from Phil when I mentioned this… can you see why I write the fashion bits!

Our day got better though as I saw one of my idols at Euston Costa coffee. No, not Kate Winslet but Denise Welch!  As I have aspirations to get on Loose Women to talk book, I nearly dived over and threw a business card under her nose, but held back.  Good job I did, as she swanned off before I could get up, with her minion picking up the Louis Vuitton luggage.

With which I come to our fellow attendees at this historic event.  Well, queuing up I had a quick scan at the line.  This is London, you know, and on my previous trips down I always feel like I’ve got to make a bit more of an effort as “everyone is more stylish in London”.  Perhaps it’s because I was travelling down for work to see a certain large retailer, but looking at our queue friends, I started to think that they’d been dragged out of a hole to come down.  There was far too much tie dye going on!

However, tea and cake in hand I found a fellow fashionista. A large, patent, bright pink Mulberry Roxanne was in front of me, with owner of course.  Thank god I’d make an effort, all was not lost.

Sat down in the conference room the people there were varied to say the least, all 150 of us.  Black clothes and piercings – vampire novel, floaty skirts – Jane Austen style, preppy shirt – children’s picture book, yes I was confused by that one too as I had him down as a John Grisham type.  At this point I thought I should stop making sweeping assumptions.

Lunch break came and in between heavy downpours we ran over to the American Diner, Phil has mentioned and had a nice lunch.  I suspect we were served by a ‘resting’ actor by the fact he did a nice line in American style accent.

I had a near miss at post lunch break as a lady in the loos asked me how it was going.  I looked for her silly sticker name badge but could not see one, though could see the day pack in her bag.  I replied in a jovial manner, yes all fine blah blah.  Thank god I did as she was the last speaker of the day!

The day finished strangely with a short story prize being handed out but the winner not knowing what she had won.  I think when they called her name she thought her taxi had arrived.  I put this down to the lack of post lunch tea or biscuits to wake us up!

Before wandering back to the train we had an hour to kill so made the most of the art gallery within the Wellcome centre.  Let us just say the exhibition was on Dirt and finished with a big pile of solid human faeces…

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