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Monday 10th March 2014


More RHLSTP action tonight with two first rate guests, comedian, campaigner and possible ghost Josie Long and the unsinkable, loquacious and frankly rather dazzling Danny Baker.

I have not met Danny before, though admired his work and his attitude to life from afar and was not disappointed with him in person. I knew that as with the Ross Noble podcast it was unlikely that I'd get more than a dozen words in, but once again I was very happy to sit back and spectate. It was so full of funny stories about himself and especially his amazing dad that I can't begin to describe it. But one interesting detail was that when he's on the radio he wears funny wigs, just for the Hell of it, because radio is meant to be fun and no one can see. When he did this on Desert Island Discs though it is clear that Kirsty Young thought it was odd and maybe even disrespectful of this august institution and didn't understand why he wasn't taking things more seriously. That adds an entirely new dimension to that conversation and I love the subversion of it all. None of the chat about the wig made it into the show, but knowing that that was going on changes the whole thing. Danny seems to refuse to take anything too seriously or to plan ahead or learn life lessons and likes to concentrate on the frivilous and on enjoying his time on this planet. I imagine it's a bit exhausting for him and the people around him, but I find the attitude refreshing and honest (although I think he underplays his own sharp intelligence and the casual skill of his craft). He's realistic about the ephemeral nature of this business and maybe his own philosophy of enjoying the present without caring too much for the future is the perfect one for a broadcaster. Let's find the fun in the moment and not worry about what's coming in the future. I am very much one for spending rather than hoarding money, though from my point of view it's partly to ensure that I get off my backside and work. I am sure the economy would be in much better shape if rich people kept on spending rather than investing their money, but it's hard to fault Baker for wanting to have fun with his as soon as he gets it (and sometimes before) and spread it around so others can enjoy it too. It's not something that everyone could do, but in a job where sometimes you get paid stupid amounts of money, perhaps the only sensible option is to spend it in the same way that it is received.

And he was also candid about the fact that he will pretty much do any job that is offered to him, acknowleding that some of them have been stinkers, but that it's hard to know until you've finished something. My inclination is to turn down stuff that looks like it might be embarrassing or compromising (though I have done a few things like that), but maybe increasingly in an industry where it's getting more and more difficult to do anything that you've written on your own terms, you should be going on the programmes that exist and trying to mould them round yourself and subvert them. One of my favourite childhood TV experiences was seeing Spike Milligan incongruously on Blankety Blank. It would have been funny enough if he'd just played it normally, because of the ridiculous juxtaposition of the greatest comedian of his generation with this stupid bit of flim-flam. But I recall him answering "women" to many if not all the blanks, whether it made sense or not. It was subversive, it was funny. He made it his own.

Though the Josie podcast was a lot calmer and thoughtful it was great in all kinds of different ways. I was slightly disappointed with my own contribution as I was quite tired and maybe a bit over excited about being able to speak, after having had to mainly listen to Danny. But the joy of RHLSTP is how a different guest creates a different vibe. She told the amazing story of her very near death in a car crash. It beggars belief that nobody was seriously injured in the wreck (Josie cut her thumb getting out of the broken window) and I think that there's every chance that Josie Long is actually a ghost who has not realised her time on earth is up. I am quite pleased she survived.

We've gone over 10,000 views in total for episode 1 of Meaning of Life. Spread the word about this channel of free goodness if you can.

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