Sunday, 19 October 2014

What kind of sick pervert listens to "Moneybox" at 9pm on Sunday?

I always do the washing up. This is to compensate for the fact that I rarely prepare  the food. Over the years, I've developed a touch of OCD about the ritual. I can't concentrate on anything else until the last plate has been stacked in the dishwasher, the last pot has been scoured, and the last spatula has been hung up in its place above the hob. Only then can I settle down to watch TV or have a bath or read a book or whatever. When I wash up I have to have the radio on. I don't really care what I listen to - I'm usually not concentrating on it: it's just a comforting noise, really. But on Sundays, no sooner do I start washing up than the presenter announces that the next programme is Moneybox and I have to dry my hands hurriedly and switch to another station.

This is no hardship, obviously. But it always leaves me wondering what sort of deranged person would actually choose nine o'clock on a Sunday evening to listen to a programme about what is either the most boring or the most upsetting subject on God's earth - personal bloody finance. I don't know about you, but any talk of mortgages, annuities, pensions, stamp duty, trusts, wills, ISAs, investment bonds or ways of avoiding tax always leaves me pondering all the financial mistakes I've made since I got my first pay packet. Why did I take out that particular policy? Why did I choose that stupid mortgage rather than the more sensible one on offer at the time? Why didn't I cash in this or that ISA before the market went tits up? What the hell is a "wrapper", and why don't I have one? How can all the people dining out at local restaurants every night afford to do so - let alone the bastards who go on three family holidays a year? Why don't I understand how money works???

Even the mention of the title Moneybox makes me feel anxious and inadequate and ever so slightly sick.

Look, I know there are times during the year when I've got to pay attention to this horrible stuff. But who in their right mind would choose to think about their finances an hour or two before going to bed during what - for most people - is their last few hours of freedom before the start of another week of wage slavery? Does anyone out there actually think "Oh goody - Moneybox! I was actually thinking of watching Downton Abbey or Homeland right now, but I'd much rather spend half an hour fretting about ending up destitute, so I'll be really worried and upset when I eventually go to bed"?

Okay, I can think of two groups of people who might welcome this sort of distraction. First, there's rich people who've got their finances totally sorted. Maybe they go to bed feeling really smug about themselves. Then there are people worried about what they'll have to face at work in the morning, and who, for some odd reason, haven't resorted to drink or drugs to quell their fears, but have decided to worry about money as a sort of displacement activity. But I can't see the point of being rich if you then have to waste time thinking about money: and, if you're that worried about work, surely you'd be better off watching an escapist period drama on the box rather than adding to the sum of your anxieties?

No, I just don't buy it - nobody in Britain could possibly want to listen to Moneybox of a Sunday evening. I can only assume the reason the planners repeat it at this time is because radio listening figures fall off a cliff at 9pm on weekends, and there's no point in wasting good stuff on the desperate souls who are still tuned in. Luckily, there was a repeat of Sue Lawley interviewing the Nobel Prize-winning scientist Dr. Max Perutz on Desert Island Discs on Radio 4 Extra, and he chose lots of nice operatic arias.


  1. I suppose it depends on what the alternatives are.

    This household runs a few hours behind yours. I'm usually in the kitchen an hour or so later and last night found myself reeling under the onslaught of What The Papers Say, followed by synthetic outrage from The Film Programme at the CIA having funded the cartoon version of Animal Farm.

    One of these days a very expensive (and not very good) Roberts Internet radio is going to wind up in the bin.

    WTPS is ripe for fisking - from the way anything published by a tabloid is read in what the BBC luvvies fondly imagine to be the authentic voice of a prole, to the ritualistic sneering at anything much to the Right of your pal Russell Brand.

    And let's not even open the door of the Film Programme.

    I think I must adjust my schedule. I'd rather listen to The Money Programme that most of the rest of that station's dire outpouring.

    And what follows is even worse: Something Understood followed by 'professor' Laurie Taylor.

    Right on!

    1. Please tell me Laurie Taylor doesn't still appear on Radio 4! He was supposedly the inspiration for the odious Howrd Kirk in Malcolm Bradbury's "The History Man" in the '70s. I mean, how old is he???
      I caught three minutes of The News Quiz by mistake recently and actually felt physically sick. What a funny self-regarding little planet these weird people must inhabit, constantly bumping into each other and tittering at the same old right-on jokes. Do you think it ever occurs to them how odd it is that they never seem to meet anyone who disagrees with them about anything?

    2. ... they never seem to meet anyone who disagrees with them about anything ...
      Henry Hill's wife in Goodfellas complains that the two of them only ever meet the goodfellas and their wives/girlfriends, they associate with no-one else at all.

  2. There is a corporate smugness in so much of the BBC radio 4 output. All the above fall into that category plus that git Brigstocke; the ubiquitous Stephen Fry and Sandy Toksvig; the quite appalling Phil Jupitus although I must admit to enjoying most of the The Now Show with Punt and Dennis.
    However, little really comes close to the gems: I'm Sorry I'll Read that Again; The Navy Lark and The Goons.
    Perhaps we are all getting older than we fear.
    Pass the toffees....