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Monthly Archives: October 2012

The English Civil War and Ancient Greek are radio programmes I listened to, in which the protagonist, a disillusioned or angry man, transgresses social norms for the sake of some cause dear to him.

One day a cavalier walks into a supermarket. Is he the real thing or is his battle a more modern matter?

Cavalier soldier Hals-1624x
In the introduction, a woman describes the pleasure of sitting high in a big tree, while an officious man broadcasts legal threats through a loudspeaker. At first I thought I had the wrong channel or time, but after a minute or two the woman reminisces about stacking shelves in a supermarket, and the day on which something out of the ordinary happened. I gave up after listening to the first half of this drama. I couldn’t believe that the cavalier adapted to the modern world so quickly e.g. How would he know the names of parts of the supermarket? Would a historical cavalier have accepted a woman manager as an authority figure? Why is he shooting at people and holding the staff hostage anyway?

I guess that the “cavalier” is an unbalanced modern man with a personal grudge, perhaps an ex-employee. I fear that employing a random psychopath to express a rant about society isn’t an effective medium for social criticism. Who sees authority in a gun and a fake mantle of tradition? Ludicrously, the ending paints the gunman as some sort of messiah. Blessed are the Peacemakers (a brand of gun)! Apparently the reactionary rant is against supermarkets. There is singing.

Ancient Greek

My patience was exhausted after ten minutes of this forty-five minute radio drama written by Oliver Emanuel. Like The English Civil War, the protagonist commits crimes in the name of some (reactionary?) rant. The first ten minutes introduced some characters and described the crime – a student vandalises a school – but didn’t say anything about the rant thesis. Students are more oppressed than slaves (with luck a slave who runs away can soon become free; a student who escapes is cursed forever). Authoritarian administrations are an easy target. I think “show don’t tell” applies. Radio listeners are fickle. If I don’t know why the drama exists after a good chunk, it failed.

English:

Kennedy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This short story is set in the late 1960s during the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis, a young woman struggles to plan for a future which may not be. Rhona has run away from her relationship problems. At her hotel, she comes to an understanding. I listened to an audio adaptation read by Jilly Bond. The audio was introduced by the period music, Telstar.

English: Telstar 2 satellite Polski: Satelita ...

Telstar 2 satellite (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sally recalls how she and ex-husband Jeremy celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary in romantic Paris.

Champs-Élysées

Champs-Élysées (Photo credit: urbnTHNKr)

I listened to an audio adaptation read by Sian Phillips.
The reader expressed the nostalgic and regretful but upbeat tone of the first-person writing with strong patient dramatic tones. French names and occasional French dialogue (a few phrases – you can guess or skip them if you aren’t a Francophone) were clear and well pronounced.

English: Bradley Manning

English: Bradley Manning (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In this audio dramatisation of what happened to Bradley Manning,

the transition from publishing classified documents to being held in a cell awaiting trial was abrupt. In the fullness of time we may hope to learn more of Bradley Manning’s thought process, at the moment when he could choose to send the damning confidential documents out into the world (the transfer would have taken time, what did he do during it?) or let them remain secret.

I listened to an audio dramatisation written by Steven Water, performed by a cast of voice actors.