TudoRama newsletter 15-21 August 2022

August 22, 2022

I’ve added to my posts on LWD the newsletter sent to my contacts list. If you haven’t subscribed to the newsletter you need to contact me to receive future editions. The newsletter has been a team effort from myself, and Catherine Hull. I take responsibility for any errors of taste that may have slipped through into our final version.

Welcome back to Everyday Creativity, the brainchild of Tudor Rickards.

Each week, we (i.e. TR & CH) round up everything that Tudor has been musing, writing and podcasting about, and take suggestions from readers and listeners for new discussion topics. 

Our podcasts and posts

Give our WordPress blog posts a read on both Leaders We Deserve and Everyday Creativity.

The most popular post this week discusses the state of the England Men’s Cricket Team. 

England cricket re-enters the Stone Age

You can read that here.

The most popular podcast this week talked over the recent heat waves.
A Drought visits Manchester, the Venice of the North

Listen here.

Elsewhere, in this week’s news headlines:

15.08.22
Keir Starmer launches Labour’s ‘fully-costed’ plan for fuel poverty. Boris Johnson, on second summer holiday, is unavailable for comment.
Freya, the celebrity Walrus in Norway is put down for causing risk to human life; she had a habit of clambering onto boats to sunbathe.

16.08.22
The Taliban celebrates the first anniversary of its political victory in Afghanistan. News footage confirms that strict restrictions prevent women from returning to work. No schooling is available to girls. The country also faces a famine after withdrawal of foreign aid.

17.08.22
In England, inflation hits 10%. The Bank of England predicts the figure will take two years to return to its 2% target. The Chancellor is forced to defend his Prime Minister from criticisms over government inaction during his hiatus.
In interesting news from CNN, 95-year-old actress Gina Lollobrigida is running for a seat in the Italian Senate.

18.08.22
The main headlines focus on the national inflation rise, the ‘worst in Europe’.
Trump’s main Republican opponent Liz Cheney is defeated by a Trump supporter. The schism in American politics is deepening.

19.08.22
Shocking individual cases demonstrate a wider crisis in the national ambulance service.
Finnish PM Sanna Marin makes international headlines after she’s secretly filmed partying. She admits ‘rowdy’ partying, but denies ever taking drugs.

20.08.22
Sanna Marin takes a drug test to minimise publicity over her partying.
Another Rail Union takes its turn, with a day of travel delays and cancellations. The location of choice for media reports is a replacement picket line at Euston.

21.08.22
Polls suggest the problems that have beset the Government are being reflected in a downward trend in voting intentions.
Strike action is initiated by Port Workers (at Felixstowe, the UK’s largest container port) and Barristers (at the Inns of Court).

The headline of the week goes to Thursday’s Daily Star:
Work harder says wannabe PM with thirteen weeks holiday a year

I’ve also been reading (TR):

Cold Sacrifice by Leigh Russell
Another murder investigation by a successful writer in this genre. I found it okay for comfort reading. It comes with the usual features; workaholic detective with wife unhappy over his work/home balance, and a few murders (all women, but that’s all too common).

Also, a review of two weighty books for students of economics:

Ben Bernanke’s 21st Century Monetary Policy, and Edward Chancellor’s The Price of Time.

Bernanke is widely considered a successful leader of the Federal Reserve bank, a position he held during the financial crisis of 2006-2014. Chancellor is an historian and financier. The Economist concludes that Chancellor offers ‘a colourful challenge to conventional wisdom… but when the time comes to appoint a central banker, choose someone like Bernanke’.
You can read that here.

Poddlers’ Corner

Our poddlers (or regular listeners) on Twitter submitted their favourite book for discussion or pleasure reading. Favourites show loyalties to classics with a dash of the contemporary. There’s a mixture of fiction and non-fiction.

Please help us strengthen this section with your personal recommendations for next week’s newsletter!

Bill Bryson, A Short History of Nearly Everything

Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

Delia Owens, Where the Crawdads Sing

NB: Where the Crawdads Sing has just been adapted into a blockbuster film which is out now in cinemas (if you’re not a big reader).

– SA

Tasha Alexander, A Poisoned Season
– AN

Jonathan Levitt, Contemplating Comedy
– JL

Antony Beever, The Second World War
– WT

Arthur Brand, Hitler’s Horses
– DM

Wallace Breen, Eagle in the Snow
– JR

Terry Pratchett, The Colour of Magic
– KB

Robert Harris, An Officer and a Spy
– AC

Robert Graves, I, Claudius
– AH

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BBC Five and the boiled frog syndrome

August 22, 2022

Has the BBC has lost its way as a news broadcaster, and does it matter?

This morning I switched on my default radio station, Radio 5, for breaking news, and realised its gradual deterioration over a period of years. The shock is one like the mythical frog immersed in a pot of water which is gradually warmed up until the frog is boiled.

 The story, related first by the management guru Charles Handy, is a warning about the nature of gradual change. Handy saw it in the changes that creep up on an institution until it’s earlier plans long accepted had become obsolete. I just happened to be a very hot frog jumping out of the pot, suddenly aware of what was happening to me.

A little more thought, and I arrived at a disturbing question. In a changing world of near instantaneous  news reports available, does it matter? My evening source of the day’s news is also the BBC, for its regular news channel, and sometimes ITV. I break a habit of avoiding morning TV and give the BBC TV news channel a chance.

8.25am

A news item about dogs. Then travel news (good). Weather news (also good). A main cycle of news approaches. 

Then, Breakfast news. First item is  about suicide bereavement. Three parents are shown, whose progress has been followed for a year. A bleak and dignified treatment of child suicide, but more a feature than a news update. 

8.37am

Sport. The European competitions First item, Mixed emotions. The men winning a gold medal for the 100 metres relay, and the women ‘disaster, dropping the baton’. Then a quick list of other gold medals.

On to football, and a brief summary of yesterday’s football. 

Finally the post-fight agony of Antony Joshua, presented by the charismatic Steve Bunch.

8.42am

Joke time: Break-in at a Liverpool police-station toilet. The police have nothing to go on. Liked the joke.

8.44 am

Weather. Useful.

Then breaking news. 

But first, a fill-in interview about a celebrity walk with a celebrity. Highlight is when the celebrity wasn’t recognised by a security guard. 

I decide to give Radio 5 a second try, while keeping an eye on the news channel.

9.00am

This multi-tasking is difficult, but the hurried headlines cover the same four stories.

Barristers to go on strike.

Discount promised on electricity bills

The Felixstowe strike

An outbreak of Revenge Porn

9.05am 

A phone-in hour. The discussion topic ‘ Is Britain Breaking

 Is this country up the creek without a paddle?’ the presenter asks. I stop my news sampling and head to the kitchen for my morning muesli.

‘Maybe we are swimming in a sea of pessimism,’ the presenter shouts after me.

It’s only been a brief dip into breakfast television, although the cosy chatting presenters resemble glimpses I have seen in the past. The news is provided briefly among efforts to make morning’s transmission as bright as possible, softening the darkness of a human interest item.
Much the same can be said of Radio 5 Live. New reports have become a routine obligation, perhaps necessary but no longer one of equivalence with entertainment.I realise that for breaking news, it has become easier for me to learn it from messages to my iPhone of from issues trending on Twitter. 

Maybe BBC news services, to use an expression around since Chaucer’s time, are currently being left stewing in their own juices.