Friday, 26 August 2016

Radio Review: 25 August

Titter ye not, 'death night' on R4 fails to raise a laugh

Written by Louis Barfe
Louis-Barfe-colour-176Last Thursday evening, I found myself listening to Simon Evans Goes To Market (available on iPlayer), as the economic ramifications of death were discussed. Evans outlined the cost of cryogenic suspension, expressing disappointment that the preservation of the creator of Mickey Mouse is an urban myth. The main reason was that Evans animator was held in Vault Disney.

This was one of the better jokes in a half-hour that I found more interesting and illuminating than funny. To be honest, I’ve had more laughs from some editions of Gardeners’ Question Time. When a serious programme about horticulture manages a higher strike rate of being mildly amusing than an actual comedy, you have to wonder which department is making the show.

I couldn’t make my mind up about the funeral planner spoken to by Evans. Prompted by the alienating experience of a family funeral heaving with nearstrangers, she had gone into business to promote alternatives. This is the bit I like. You can have anything from an off-peak, no-mourners quickie at the crem to the full monty with plumed horses. I just don’t really approve of someone charging a fee for telling you this.

The programme finished just as I was arriving at my destination. As I left, Alan Dein was dropping in on a family firm of undertakers for Lives In A Landscape. As far as I can tell from a glance at the listings, it wasn’t death-theme night on Radio 4, but it felt a bit like it was.

Dein, normally pretty fearless, demurred when the corpse of a baby was being dealt with. One of the undertakers explained that while you should get used to such horrors, a good undertaker never becomes numbed to them.

Louis on Twitter: @LFBarfe or email: 

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