Monday, 29 November 2010

Our man at the BBC

I’ve been reading, for professional reasons, John Birt’s autobiography. I won’t bore you with the politics and the management theory, but I liked this quote from Malcolm Muggeridge, who described the BBC as an organisation that ‘came to pass silently, invisibly; like a coral reef, cells multiplying until it was a vast structure, a conglomeration of studios, offices, cool passages along which many passed to and fro; a society, with its laws and dossiers and revenue and easily suppressed insurrection.’

And this presumably unintended witticism from Margaret Thatcher: ‘I never listen to the Today programme. It was particularly bad this morning.’

And this account of Birt hearing the politest of activist chants from his office in Broadcasting House (the famous stairs of which are pictured above) one morning:

‘What do we want?’
‘Radio 4!’
‘Where do we want it?’
‘Long wave!’
‘What do we say?’
‘Please!’

As for news of the royal engagement, I am reminded of the poem that Pam Ayres wrote as an epithalamium on the marriage of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles:

My mother said, “Say nothing,
If you can’t say something nice.”
So from my poem you can see
I’m taking her advice.

Mundane quote for the day:
I see them in foul dug-outs, gnawed by rats,
And in the ruined trenches, lashed with rain,
Dreaming of things they did with balls and bats,
And mocked by hopeless longing to regain
Bank-holidays, and picture shows, and spats,
And going to the office in the train.
- Siegfried Sassoon, ‘Dreamers’

1 comment:

  1. For Kate and Wills
    I wish some pills
    To silence every thought,
    To ban photos of any sort,
    To decide to run away
    And avoid that wedding day.

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