Radio Five Live and the hard avocado


Never let it be said that I am the late riser. Today as I look out of my study window at 6.09 AM the sun’s power is slowly increasing, the sky is blue without a cloud and the odd bird is fluttering around.

Louise Cooper and Sean Farrington – hmm – looks like a photoshop interposition

‘Wake Up With Money’ is part of Radio Five’s weekday morning routine. Sean and Louise are up there bright as buttons. How they manage to combine family lives with getting up at some ungodly hour in the morning beats me.  What normal person would do this type of thing?  Mind you, normal people bore me to death so maybe it doesn’t matter if they are as mad as Hatters. The pair, not to mention the producers and support staff, must be up at the latest at 3:30 AM and probably before. I hope they don’t live too far from the studio in Manchester. I recall the song ‘Sixteen Tons’ sung by Johnny Cash including the words ” I sold my soul to the company store” and I suppose you have to do this with such punishing hours.

So where does the avocado come into this? This morning’s topic was on the price and availability of food and they were lamenting the shortages of this and that including avocados. I was listening in bed via my earpiece while my other half remained in the arms of Morpheus. I do not mean Morpheus as in the film The Matrix because that would mean something far more sinister and existential. I mean Morpheus as in morphine. Sean, one of the presenters, was talking about avocados. I noticed during a recent trip to Bristol that they were being sold at for £1.50 for two, but they were inevitably as hard at bullets and need to be rested for a week or so before you can eat them. They almost need a “Best eaten after” date label.

no, surely the squeeze test is from end to end?

I felt I had to make some contribution to the program so, bleary eyed, I crawled or should I say crept out of bed into the living room, turned on my device and texted the following comment to 85058 “what is the point in buying an avocado that is as hard as a bullet irrespective of price. Brian”.  I took off my glasses and crept back into bed and put my earpiece on again. Lo and behold, I heard my own words being repeated back to me by the presenter. We have a text from Brian……..   If I may say so, that is blistering efficiency.

Radio Five Live have won a number of awards and they deserve them. They keep the standards high, bright and witty. It is the station to respond quickest to any developing news item and seems to be oblivious whether it is night or day. This contrasts with the increasingly widespread use of that dreadful “breaking” appellation so beloved of certain channels particularly in the USA where the most trivial news items are “breaking”. Nothing is too trivial to be used as a diversion from getting people to actually think. I regard the audiences at some TV shows as members of a ” performing animal circus” where the audience is lit up in blue and red for some reason and have obviously been prepared by some manic producer to whoop and hoot at the slightest display of individuality or eccentricity. This shows what a curmudgeonly being I am for which I take full responsibility and frankly at my age I can say anything I like because no one will take any notice.

For some reason, this type of dreadful dumbing down trend does not apply to Radio Five Live. I listen to it more during the night than during the day and you will be amazed how many people want to give their opinions at 2:30 AM in the morning. They are not nerds, just people with brains who want to find an outlet for their views and expressions. I’m not saying I’m delirious about every aspect of this channel. On the Wake Up programme referred to above, Rico from Singapore gets on my nerves a little bit by prefacing every other sentence with “Sean Louise”. Credit to him, though, he is always full of beans, completely positive, and the biggest gossip about the financial world and stock market trends that I know of.

“if you get it wrong again I will kill you” – Louise having a controlled mental crisis (I’m only joking)

Other irritating things on R5Live are a wall blast compilation of sports achievements where the final moments of winning a football game, a Formula 1 motor race, or some other act of sporting prowess are related at hysterical breakneck speed. It is then when I take my earpiece out of my ear. But they are forgiven. I suppose you got to wake the dead somehow.

However, for sheer consistency in being on the ball, editorially brave, and bantering in a happy journalistic way, R5Live takes a lot of beating.  I was going to say they “take the biscuit” but that expression can have a pejorative meaning. This phrase is either the equivalent of ‘taking the cake’, meaning to take the first prize, or that behaviour ‘takes the biscuit’, or even worse ‘that just about takes the biscuit’  because of its shocking nature.

Such a wonderful language is English. Take the word ‘live’. How does a naive student of English know how to pronounce the same word with two meanings.  Is it ‘i’ as in idiot or ‘i’ as in eye. However, learning English is nothing compared with Hungarian and Finnish (the Finno Ugrian group of languages including Estonian) not to mention Icelandic. if I wanted to say “Hungarian is difficult to learn” it would be “A magyar nyelv nehéz tanulni”. or with Icelandic “Íslenska er erfitt að læra”.  Aren’t we so lucky we were born in an English-speaking country, or are we?

We could have a poll to decide which language is easiest to learn. I would say Spanish. Anyway, it is now 7.13 AM and time for another coffee. The day has not even started for most people. I feel a tiny bit smug about that but not so much as I would tell anyone.

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