Saturday, June 20, 2009

Let us now praise "A Point Of View"

A Point Of View is one of the best things on Radio Four. It consists of wise old heads talking about current affairs. Because they're wise old heads, what they generally say is a variation on a theme of "this is not so new" or "pull yourselves together".

It's on early on Sunday morning, thereby ensuring the wisdom never reaches anyone under the age of 35. In the past it's featured the likes of Brian Walden and Katherine Whitehorn. The series that finished recently was done by Clive James. In the last one he managed to involve Kim Jong Il, MP's expenses and the botched election for the Oxford Poetry Professorship. You can read it here and even listen to it here.

I listened to it for the fourth time while walking home from the Tube last night. What's refreshing, particularly amid the humbug and prudery of our present media, is his recognition that God-given talent can reside alongside tawdry behaviour and that many of the great poets of yesteryear were imposing themselves on teenage girls even when they were at the age when they might have been better off delivering "A Point Of View". That in itself should not have disqualified them from lecturing on poetry because, as he points out:
good poets are often frail people, and people who are not frail are seldom good poets.


  1. also Karl Popper's quote about " democracy is being rule at the whim of people" is very telling in Iran and even here. Also being only 10 minutes long (even though the radio talk is 80 years old) is perfect for podcasts.

  2. Anonymous12:10 pm

    It's also on Fridays at 8:50pm.

  3. And, of course, available as a podcast and therefore accessible to the under 35s.

  4. It's great all right - in fact, while it was running it was my favourite thing on radio and I'd usually manage to listen to it at least twice, in real tome and on podcast. Clive James for Greatest Living Englishman? He's not English of course, which some would see as a drawback, but greatest representative of the English-speaking world? It works for me...