I tried listening to Radio 3 on Monday morning as I drove to my winter pruning course, more of which in a later blog. Around the house and first thing in the morning when we’re in bed, we usually listen to Classic FM but the bloody adverts drive me mad. So we’ve been threatening to stop listening to Classic FM and listen to Radio 3 which is advert free. Strangely one of my new year’s resolutions / goals, about the only one I haven’t achieved, was to listen to Radio 4. But, as I say, we’ve failed here. Despite the fact that many of the programmes are excellent, it is not easy when you’re doing other things unless, like one of my retirement chums, you do a lot of woodworking and have the radio on while you craft. So listening to Radio 3 should be somewhat easier. It’s just there in the background. However, there’s a problem, we’ve tried Radio 3 before and we found the music they play somewhat out of our league, my memory of this station is that the music is rather ‘inaccessible’. So this and the fact that, out of pure bone-idleness (another one of my grandma’s sayings as in – that boy is bone idle), l can’t be bothered to retune the digital radio. It feels so much more complicated than just twiddling the dial but that’s probably just me.
Tuning the radio in the Land Rover feels easier so, as I had a bit of a drive to the course, I thought I would give it another go. Perhaps it’s mellowed out a bit since we last listened, I thought. It hadn’t or at least not on the evidence of the three pieces I heard on this journey. The first piece I heard couldn’t have been more at odds with the ‘perhaps they’ve mellowed out’ theory. It was Bartok and while I completely support the right of composers to be atonal, chromatic or downright tuneless (a bit like some jazz), this was not the breakthrough I was hoping for. The next tune was a piece of choral music which was nice and then something else which wasn’t. On the way home, after a somewhat damaging to my ego experience on pruning vines, I tried again. The first piece was a pleasant enough Mahler symphony but then it went AWOL again and I tried, God knows, a piece by an Australian composer, forgotten his name, meant to recreate the concept of a forest fire. Not a hint of a tune in it and I freely admit that much modern jazz can be the same but then despite my developing affection for jazz, I don’t much care for this either. So this last Radio 3 piece didn’t make it for my money, so off it went. Case for Radio 3 as yet unmade.
Back then to Classic FM, reluctantly with those blasted adverts. There are a number of adverts that supremely irritate me, those with ridiculously fast and long ‘legals’ particularly so, but the straw and camel’s back scenario, the one that led me to try Radio 3 this morning was an advert for incontinence pants. Yes, I admit it, it’s a sensitive subject with people my age. A miserable future beckons, in this respect at least, so I don’t want to be reminded of it right now thanks very much. This advert speaks clearly to the demographic that listens to Classic FM.
The straw and camel morning was made particularly unpleasant by the absence of the remote control for the radio. In the past I have coped with the adverts by turning them off. I keep, whenever possible, the remote nearby so I can do this. Trouble was this morning, the straw and camel morning, one of the pups – they both have the habit of having a little early morning nap on the bed (see photo as evidence). Generally, this suits me fine because my job, at this time, is to entertain the pups while Mrs Summerhouse does her daily yoga practice. If they choose to climb on the bed and hunker down while I write this blog well that’s hardly my fault. Anyway this particular morning Archie had plopped on the remote and I was reluctant to wake him up because then I would be failing in my duty of care and get it in the neck from Mrs SH when Archie climbs off the bed and begins to bother her. Complicated isn’t it?
What this meant was that, short of putting my fingers in my ears and humming maybe even saying loudly, can’t hear you, can’t hear you, not the behaviour of a sane person I think you will agree, I was forced to listen to the adverts and hence to the exciting promise of incontinence pants. I have to admit alongside the bad stuff I’ve already mentioned above, there were some little gems. Did you know you could get one on free trial? Now that’s handy. Imagine the excitement of the postman popping your free sample through the letter box. Also I was fascinated that ‘terms and conditions apply’. What could this possibly mean? You can have one providing you don’t use it as a dish cloth, or wear it on your head. Fortunately perhaps, my imagination fails me here. But the bit I really enjoyed was the slogan, is that the word? that goes with these pants, are you ready for this? Picture the scene in the advertising agency coming up with this – you don’t feel it, they don’t see it. Brilliant. I have added a little to this – you don’t feel it so you can piss away as much as you want, at least until it starts running down your leg and they don’t see it but they will smell it. Much better version I think you’ll agree.
So retirement, a time in life to reflect on life’s little idiosyncrasies and to look forward with keen anticipation to what the future might hold. A world full of Radio 3 and incontinence pants. I can hardly wait. Who could possibly have imagined that retirement would be so, glamourous.