Monday, 27 September 2010

The Day BBC Radio 4 Paralyzed Me With Disgust

We still do not own a television set. I have been living in London for four months without the pleasant flickering drone of broadcast television. Richard and I do, however, have the glowing warmth of the Internet and occasionally we watch programs on Richard's laptop. Therefore, I'm not living in a cave cut off from the modern world.

Nevertheless, when I was watering the plants for some fellow American expats, who were out of town, I had access to their television and it was an embarrassment of riches. Being able to sit down and enjoy the accented wonders of British television for the first time certainly sweetened the deal and made it worth the trek across London to water a balcony full of plants -- who, I might add, were decidedly uncooperative in my attempts to keep them alive.

It was nice to have a taste of local television, but I've managed to get along pretty well without having a TV. Back in Brooklyn, I would have the television on in the background to keep me company while I was working into the night on a children's book with a fast approaching deadline. Since I work at home in London too, I have filled the TV gap with music, audiobooks and occasional journeys to the kitchen to have a listen to the radio. When moving into our apartment, Richard brought a tiny digital radio that we keep on top of the microwave. It is very useful for those certain evenings when we eat dinner together but can not be bothered to engage with one another. BBC News does the talking for us.

During the day, while eating lunch or having a spot of tea (I'm SO British now!), I listen to BBC Radio 4. It is an odd station. Usually it resembles the United States' NPR (with news, commentary and witty trivia programs) but occasionally it has strange radio dramas and a show called The Archers which is apparently about a rural English family who have the uncanny ability to never do anything even remotely interesting. I can't help but imagine that the only way I could be BBC Radio 4's intended audience would be if I looked like this:

Anyway, a little while ago I was listening to BBC Radio 4 while making myself some lunch. 

A talk program dealing with news-ish topics was playing. The reason I say "news-ish topics" is that one of the stories they were reporting was about this year's edition of the Guinness Book of World Records. The announcer was having a discussion with some guy who I assume was an editor for the book. The editor mentioned something of note about this year's edition. He said that they had to change the person who held the world record for longest finger nails. He said that that the previous holder had been an American woman. I instantly pictured her in my mind, her obscenely long nails sprouting from her finger tips into a forest of curling revulsion.

Oh, who am I kidding? I'm sure she looks more like this:

I was pretty disgusted by this mental image, but I had no idea what was to come. The editor went on to explain how she got struck from her notorious place in the Guinness Book of World Records. Apparently, at some point over the past year, this woman decided to go for a drive. I'm not clear how she could drive with that garden of nonsense on her hands, but drive she did.

On this drive, she got into an accident

The next thing she remembers was that she was lying on the ground, neither dead nor seriously injured.

Apparently she had been thrown from the car.

Her nails, however...

...were still in the car.

The Guinness Book of World Records editor made sure that the listeners knew that the nails did not break, but were ripped free from her hands. He and the announcer chuckled. I did not chuckle. I reacted like this:

I think I'm still recovering, and this post is really just part of my post traumatic stress therapy.


  1. Fantastic! Thanks for the laugh, and the reminder of how awful journalists can be!

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  3. To Erik - I'll never let you forget!

    To Ashley - Come over to London and make me!!

  4. Awesomeness, v.funny with the pics... so true about the Archers, that and the bit when they play the national anthem at closedown are the two times I turn off R4.

  5. Yup, as soon as I hear that damned theme song, I switch off the radio.

  6. This from a people who call a desert "spotted dick". Does the trauma never end? Bloody Poms.

  7. can you stop being a lazy bitch and start updating your blog, please?! it's not like drawing pictures is hard or takes a lot of time...

  8. Dammit Craig, you're always calling me out on my shortcomings! I JUST got back from a week long vacation and will start posting soon.

  9. Also, 'spotted dick' leads to numerous jokes when in a relationship with someone named Richard.

  10. Long time Brit, short time listener.

    Love your blog - please keep it up!

  11. Thank you, Nick! I hope your homeland will keep providing me with good material.