BBC World Outlook When I can’t sleep, I listen to BBC World. It repeats the news every half-hour and the accents of the presenters are very soothing. I’m usually vaguely interested in the stories, and if I’m interested enough, I look them up the next day. But last night, the program ‘How Did This Diver Cheat Death?” had me wide awake, almost unable to breathe for the tension. A diver in the North Sea, fixing oil drilling equipment on the sea bed, becomes entangled in the equipment. If the claustrophobia and darkness of Thai Cave rescue made you want to curl up inside (as it did for me), then this program will have the same effect. So perhaps listen to it at 2.00 in the afternoon, instead of 2.00 in the morning.
Sunday Extra (ABC) I always enjoy Correspondents’ Report, which has now been folded into the Sunday Extra program. This half-hour program has about three reports by ABC journalists from around the world, reporting on small, not-newsworthy events that encapsulate the place where they are living. In ‘The Last Days of the Islamic State’ Adam Harvey reports from the refugee camp at Deir ez Zor, Syria, where the women and children attached to ISIS are gathered, asking/demanding to be sent back to their home countries. He talks about toilets, something that I had wondered about, seeing all those rows of white UNHCR tents, and wondering what the sanitation was like. Just make sure you’re not eating while you’re listening to it, though
Big Ideas (ABC) An interesting program called ‘A Tale of two buildings’ about two ‘iconic’ Australian buildings: the Sydney Opera House and Australian Parliament House. I can remember sailing into Sydney Harbour, all the way from Melbourne! in 1970. (I was with a neighbour’s family and the mother of the family had ear problems which made flying difficult). I can remember being fascinated by the Sydney Opera House, which was still a few years off opening, at a time when the biggest talking point was still the sheer expense of it all. Helen Pitt, the author of the book “The House” (about the Opera House) and Ric Thorp, the Australian face of the international design company Mitchell Giurgola Thorp, that designed Parliament House, speak about these two buildings. Thorp has some strong words about the mooted mega-expansion of the Australian War Memorial, which, as he points out, is a memorial, not a museum.
Conversations. I’ve just finished reading Jill Giese’s excellent Maddest Place on Earth. She talks with Sarah Konowski about the book in the program ‘Undercover at the Asylum’. It’s such a wide-ranging interview, that you barely need to read the book, but you’d be short-changing yourself because it’s a damned good read. But if you can’t, then listen to this.