The Water Babies – Part One – Cruelty

I do like to listen to various things at night. A radio comedy of varying types, usually the Friday Night comedy podcast (which for the past six weeks has been Dead Ringers – so will assume we must be back to a series of The Now Show) and repeats of Cabin Pressure…audio books, read out as “The Book at Bedtime” or similar, and various radio plays and novel adaptations.

I’ve had this one on my list for a few weeks and looked at how much time I had left to listen to it late last night. When I saw “2 days” on the time left, I thought I better get cracking!

The trouble is, I have a tendency to drift off to sleep when I start listening to these things as I tend to start listening to them at rather ungodly hours, like 2am in the morning.  As it went with The Water Babies…though it wasn’t quite that late last night, and I did manage to stay awake some way in.

But I was enthralled. Enchanted. Bewitched by it. Beautifully sad and poignant, it hooked me in immediately. I couldn’t miss out on listening to all three episodes properly, so I downloaded them and will share them here over the next few days.

You’ll find part one below…

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Burning Both Ends – Ollie And Moonie

I’m still regularly checking out BBC Radio for drama. Radio plays and book readings, etc.

Earlier in the week, I listened to this on…well, what is now BBC Sounds app (I’m still using the iPlayer radio app at the moment).

“Burning Both Ends: When Oliver Reed Met Keith Moon”. Originally broadcast in 2011, it had recently been repeated on BBC Radio 4 Extra.

I enjoyed it and thought I’d highlight it. Check it out. Just click on the image to go to the page to listen to it.

The Leopard

Brought up by a certain someone in a post talking about wanting to die under a lemon tree, thinking about his age (again!), being in Sicily, and loving a good story.

He always reels me in with his recommendations.

I used to listen to Radio 4 dramas a lot for a certain period. I still listen to the odd thing. There is a serial-based drama that has just started up again called Love In Recovery, about a group of people at a weekly AA group meeting.

I like the freedom radio dramas give you of being able to conjure up your own images and scenes. You can, quite literally, make your own film…paint your own characters exactly as you would want them (minus any vague descriptions of how a character looks to the novelist). The level of concentration for these is different to reading a book. I find it allows my imagery of things to be much more vivid.

This wasn’t a radio play but an abridged reading of the book. The way in which Alex Jennings read it was wonderful. I can certainly see why he was hired for the job!

Of particular enjoyment through the whole reading was the description of the days in which the newly betrothed Tancredi and Angelica would escape their chaperoned walks through the far flung quarters of Donnafugata. In the mind’s eye, such beautiful sensual images of soft pink skin, rose coloured lips (both male and female), fingertips delicately touching skin, etc, etc, quickened one’s pulse. Eluded to seductively, but all very much left to the imagination. Isn’t that how all the best written sex is? All the parts that you, as the reader, (or in this case, the listener) are left to imagine yourself? And of course in my current circumstance, my imagination ran amok!

I listened to all five parts in one sitting. Only breaking after part two to listen to the latest instalment of The Archers (some habits die hard).

I have never been to Italy, or indeed to Sicily…so my experiences of Palermo, Catania, the towering presence of Mount Etna, the deep azure of that “middling” sea are still somewhat a composite of things I see second hand…so far not experienced with my own naked eyes.

Perhaps that may change sometime soon?

I enjoyed listening to it very much. I may just download all the parts to it and share them here. It’ll only stay on iPlayer (ahem), I mean BBC Sounds for so long. And I’d like to keep it to listen to again and again in future – not have to rely on the Beeb to repeat it. In the meantime, if you click the image above of The Leopard – it will direct you to the BBC page for listening.

I think it may also be wise to invest in the novel, to read it in its entirety, unabridged.

I may also get back to listening to more BBC Radio drama.

Thanks for sharing it, Sir. As for the desire to die under a lemon tree? I’ll leave you with this…

Don’t You Forget About – Dead Ringers

Every week I listen to the Radio 4 Friday Night Comedy Podcast. Currently the Friday night comedy is Dead Ringers which has been back on air since June 16th. This week, I had to get this little snippet from it. Ed Miliband sat in presenting while Jeremy Vine was on a break. He was quite a revelation, really…but not for all, it seems.

Stick with it to the end…