Monday, 12 January 2009

World Have Your Say - BBC World Service

Taking part in a discussion on when language is racist. (I first talk about 20 minutes in.) You can listen again here or download a podcast here.

A few other radio updates. I was on BBC Radio 5 Live's Richard Bacon show last week (although I don't think it was actually Bacon presenting.) In an hour I spoke about three times, so you didn't miss much.

I also gave a BBC Radio Bristol Thought for the Day last Thursday. Here's the text:

We Brits like to talk about the weather, but there are only so many times you can say "Isn't it cold?" before you sound like a broken record. Temperatures have fallen to below zero every night in Bristol since Boxing Day, and my walk into the studio this morning was bracing, to say the least.
To be honest though, I've been rather enjoying this cold snap. Over the last decade or so, the differences between the seasons have often been rather blurred. A "proper winter" feels right, in a nostalgic kind of way.
It's also been dry, and often bright. In the gentle winter light, almost everywhere looks its best. Over recent weeks, I've walked in Churchill and Rowberrow in Somerset, and on the Downs here in Bristol, and each time I've been cheered by the sheer beauty.
But I also feel a bit guilty for these sunny thoughts. This cold isn't good for the homeless people I pass regularly; or the poor and elderly, who can't afford to keep the heating on all day. Consider how there were around twice as many of what statisticians call "excess winter deaths" in the colder last years of the nineties than there were in the milder ones of the decade that followed.
Unfortunately, the very things we take pleasure in often turn out to be not such good news for someone, somewhere. Knowing and dealing with this, without either callousness or denial, is part of what it means to be adult. Life is the pure sweetness of milk chocolate only for children. Grown ups must learn to appreciate the darker varieties, where a hint of bitterness is ever present.