Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Monday, 27 April 2009

John Humphrys' Crystal Balls


Dear Today programme,

This morning you gave details of Prince Charles' audience with the Pope, (a short lads-only chat before allowing the Duchess and retinue in) even though it had not yet taken place. On several recent occasions, you have announced what such-and-such a politician 'will say in a speech later today'.

Since these events have yet to happen, please explain the clairvoyant devices you employ to be so certain that nothing will prevent, alter or postpone them. Granted, you have a copy of the Prince's itinerary, or the politician's press release, but how do you know? The royals might get stuck in traffic, the MP could pull a sickie, an asteroid might impact and end the world as we know it.

Oh, and while we're about it, please try to do something about your habit of spinning out news headlines, as in 'The teenager missing for three weeks following a coach crash during a school trip to the Australian outback which resulted in three deaths has been found....'

'No man is an island'; by the time you get round to telling me whether the child is alive or dead, I've been holding my breath for 30 seconds. Forget this Germanic obsession with placing the verb at the end of the sentence; for goodness' sake, put yourselves in the position of the listener, and give us the crucial information as soon as possible!

Thank you, that feels a lot better.

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