On the road by 8am and thank God I stayed over. With a bit of sleep and no hangover the drive home was pimpsy. I listened to Radio 4 Extra for a bit trying to make sense of some sitcom from the 1950s or 60s (presumably Life with the Lyons) starring Bebe Daniels
and her real family. I don’t think I have heard of Bebe Daniels before and the humour was unsurprisingly dated and partially incomprehensible after 60 years, but this is one of the wonders of Radio 4 Extra - this window back to the past, showing the transient nature of comedy and fame. I have the advantage that my stuff is obscure and impenetrable in its own time, so maybe when Lionel Nimrod is played on Radio 4 Extra in 2052 it will finally make sense.
Bebe Daniels was also later on an ancient, formal and scripted sounding Desert Island Discs. You could hear the dust and the static on the records as they played. Although the music and the person choosing it meant nothing to me, the sound of the record playing and the style of the music transported me back to the attic of our house in Loughborough in the early 1970s where we had a tiny record player and a pile of old 78s which my brother and sister and I would play with. They were archaic even then (though the vinyl format itself seemed unshakeable) and the only one I clearly remember was “Green Grow The Rushes O”, but listening to a woman I didn’t know, playing music I didn’t know transported me back and I was reminded of the unique smell of.. what exactly.. the vinyl, the electricity, the dust?
On another station they were playing Adele’s Chasing Pavements, which had its own time travel transportation power. This had been on the radio all the time during my first holiday with my now wife in Sicily in 2008 and though I had found it slightly ridiculous at the time and it wasn’t my musical taste at all, it is now a magical portal back to the past to a time when love was new and Adele wasn’t a billionaire.
Then I didn’t know it was Adele who Adele was of course. I just thought this was some crazy song about attempting to run after an inanimate object that the Europeans were obsessed with for some reason.
Anyway, got home safe and without fatigue, although that would come later as I was propelled back into full and joyous fatherhood, taking my daughter to a birthday party whilst my wife did a book event. I drove up on to the Westway (determined to make a mockery of its name by heading East - what idiot named it that?). The lights on the roundabout turned green, I prepared to move forwards, but luckily I wasn’t taking the established traffic lights system for granted. I noticed a car coming round the roundabout that didn’t seem to be slowing down and sure enough the driver went straight through the red light, some good time after it would have changed and sped through the piece of road that we would have been on, had I not exercised such caution.
Have you seen the film Sliding Doors?