Light Relief

by Harry on November 1, 2004

Nothing on the election or the war from me. Instead, a mention of one of my favourite radio comedies, Men From the Ministry. My younger daughter gave a CD with numerous episodes to my elder daughter for her 8th birthday; the look on the elder’s face was one of unalloyed joy when she realised what it was. UK readers of a certain age know what I’m talking about. But the Finnish readers, lucky things, know what I am talking about regardless of their age. Extraordinary. The rest of you, if you have 30 minutes to spare, can learn why you should envy the Finns by clicking here. Only in English, not Finnish. Sorry.

For those of you who think your tastes are more sophisticated, Radio 4 is running a 4-part life of Peter Cook, the funniest Englishman who ever lived, presented by Michael Palin, who now, sadly, has one competitor fewer for the title of the nicest Englishman alive. The first part will be available till Friday. If your candidate loses tomorrow, it’ll cheer you up. If you don’t know before Friday, listen anyway.



Njorl 11.01.04 at 8:18 pm

Fortunately, there is a simple English-Finnish translation trick I learned from Umberto Eco (Foucault’s Pendulum). Simply load the text in a word processor, and do a ‘Replace’ of all ‘a’s with ‘akka’s and all ‘m’s with ‘umma’s.

(Fortunakkately, there is akka siummaple English-Finnish trakkanslakkation trick I leakkarned froumma Uummaberto Eco (Foucakkault’s Penduluumma). Siummaply loakkad the text in akka word processor, akkand do akka ‘Replakkace’ of akkall ‘akka’s with ‘akkakkakka’s akkand akkall ‘umma’s with ‘uummaummaakka’s.)


Ophelia Benson 11.03.04 at 5:02 pm

Thanks for the link, Harry. (Not that you’ll see this post now that this thread is so old, but never mind.) I gnashed my teeth every time I heard Michael Palin plug the show on Radio 4 in the past week, since I wouldn’t be there to hear it, and after gnashing I wondered if I would be able to Listen Again. So I will, so good.

It’s really true about Palin – he really is a mensch. I’ll tell you how I know. He did a reading at a bookstore here a few years ago. There was a long line for signings afterward, which I was at the end of, so I just lounged at a table nearby (it’s one of those bookstore-coffeeshop-meeting place combinations, in fact its very name is Third Place, to reflect that fact) to wait until the line was shorter, so I had a lot of time to watch Palin work. I noticed that he gave every single person a good hit of eye contact. Then when it was my turn he did it to me. A good long look, a smile, hello, the whole bit. Not hasty or perfunctory or merely going through the motions; so all of us, even those who were at the end of a long line, got to feel we’d had our moment with dear Michael Palin. He didn’t have to do that, he didn’t have to be that thorough about it. I was really impressed. Funny as hell and a mensch besides.

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